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Social Cognitive Development - PSY00059M

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  • Department: Psychology
  • Module co-ordinator: Prof. Harriet Over
  • Credit value: 20 credits
  • Credit level: M
  • Academic year of delivery: 2022-23

Module will run

Occurrence Teaching period
A Spring Term 2022-23

Module aims

Humans are deeply social creatures. In this module, we will discuss the origins of sociality in young children. We will cover key topics in social cognitive development such as imitation, prosocial behaviour and group membership.

Module learning outcomes

  • Critically evaluate the major findings in each of the topics covered, including the development of prosocial behaviour, imitation and intergroup bias.
  • Evaluate and reflect upon the relative merits of different methods for studying social cognitive development
  • Demonstrate a deep understanding of the role of learning in bringing about mature social cognitive abilities
  • Compare and contrast the social behaviour of children from different cultural backgrounds
  • Critically evaluate the implications of major findings for psychology and society

Module content

  • Social understanding
  • Imitation
  • Prosocial behaviour
  • Social evaluation
  • Group membership
  • Social motivation and autism
  • Cultural differences in social behaviour


Task Length % of module mark
3000 word essay
N/A 40
Online Exam -less than 24hrs (Centrally scheduled)
Social Cognitive Development
5 hours 60

Special assessment rules



Task Length % of module mark
3000 word essay
N/A 40
Online Exam -less than 24hrs (Centrally scheduled)
Social Cognitive Development
5 hours 60

Module feedback

The marks on all assessed work will be provided on e-vision

These marks will be accompanied by module feedback forms which will be circulated by e-mail.

Students will meet supervisors in wk 6 in AuT, SpT and wk 9 in SuT to discuss their marks.

Indicative reading

Sample Reading:

  • Chevallier, C., Kohls, G., Troiani, V., Brodkin, E.S., Schultz, R.T. (2012). The Social Motivation Theory of Autism. Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 16(4) 231-239.
  • Dunham, Y., Baron, A.S., & Carey, S. (2011). Consequences of ‘minimal’ group affiliations in children. Child Development, 82(3), 793-811.
  • Martin, A., & Olson, K. R. (2015). Beyond good and evil: What motivations underlie children's prosocial behavior. Perspectives on Psychological Science, 10, 159-175
  • Over, H., & Carpenter, M. (2013). The social side of imitation. Child Development Perspectives, 7, 6-11.

The information on this page is indicative of the module that is currently on offer. The University is constantly exploring ways to enhance and improve its degree programmes and therefore reserves the right to make variations to the content and method of delivery of modules, and to discontinue modules, if such action is reasonably considered to be necessary by the University. Where appropriate, the University will notify and consult with affected students in advance about any changes that are required in line with the University's policy on the Approval of Modifications to Existing Taught Programmes of Study.