PSK 534 Social Perception and Cognition

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Who in the world am I? Ah that’s the great puzzle.

- Alice in the Wonderland

PSK 534 Social Perception and Cognition

Course Overview
Social perception and cognition provide a systematic review of both classical and current research and points of view in regard to major problems in the fields of cognitive psychology, social psychology and their intersection called social cognition. The course will cover major theories in the field and the empirical evidence in support of them. Students will be challenged to understand the theories, to recognize their theoretical and practical significance, to infer their implications and applications, and to think critically about them. This course will give greater emphasis both on (a) neurological foundation of social cognition and (b) the importance of culture in understanding social perception and cognition.

Topics in social perception and cognition are primarily about the lady in red in the photograph. Researchers in social perception and cognition are interested in (a) how she is perceived by others around her, (b) how she does observe others, (c) what she thinks about being perceived, and (d) how she reacts being observed. In addition, researchers in the area are also interested in the activity of neurons especially in the central nervous system and how culture shapes the dynamics of social perception and cognition. Our aim is to get better understanding the processes that underlie many of the forces that shape, and are shaped by, social interaction.

Course Format
Students are expected to have read each week’s reading(s) prior to class and to contribute to class discussion. Each week, you must turn in your written work during class (you may not email it, or turn it in at any other time). Each student is expected to come to class prepared to summarize the key points of the readings and to participate in the discussion regarding it. To summarize, each week, students will lead discussions about, write and submit reaction papers to, and critique readings from scientific research journals, chapters, books, and movies. Because this is a small class, contributing to group discussion is essential.

Grading
I. Reaction Papers (10% of your total grade): Each week, students will submit a brief reaction paper (2-3 double-spaced pages) describing their reactions to the week’s readings. They must be typed, but they need not conform to APA style. This assignment is very open-ended and subject to great freedom in interpretation. The primary purpose of the reaction papers is to make sure that students come to class not only with the readings read, but come to sessions having thought into the implications of, and interconnections among, the readings. Students must submit their reaction papers by e-mail attachment to the instructor before 11 p.m. of the day before class (i.e., by Wednesday at 11 p.m. to psk534@kokdemir.info). Late reaction papers, regardless of the circumstances, will not be accepted. (Please bring hard copies of your paper to distribute to the class.)

II. Film Analysis (10% of your total grade): Each week, students will submit a brief reaction paper (1-2 double-spaced pages) describing their reactions to the week’s movie. They must be typed, but they need not conform to APA style. This assignment is very open-ended and subject to great freedom in interpretation. The primary purpose of the reaction papers is to make sure that students come to class not only with the movie watched, but come to sessions having thought into the implications of, and interconnections among, the readings and the movie. Students must submit their film analysis papers by e-mail attachment to the instructor before 11 p.m. of the day before class (i.e., by Wednesday at 11 p.m. to psk534@kokdemir.info). Late film analysis papers, regardless of the circumstances, will not be accepted. (Please bring hard copies of your paper to distribute to the class.)

III. Book Analysis (10% of your total grade): Students will be asked to analyze three novels (see reading list) by appliying the concepts in and theories of social psychology (max. 5 pages for each novel). Due date: Last week.

IV. Research Proposals (50% of your total grade): Students will submit three major paper by choosing a topic in social perception and cognition based on their own interests and developing a research proposal (not just a literature review). The main area of these three research proposals are predetermined: (1) understanding individual selves and others, (2) making sense of society, and (3) affect and behavior. You can check out subtopics from your main textbook. Papers must be written in accordance with the APA Publication Manual (6th ed.).

V. Final Exam (20% of your total grade): A classic, comprehensive, open-book final exam includes all topics discussed in class sessions.

Main Reading Materials
Students will be asked to read and comment on some articles about each week’s topic. For related articles, please check out the course’s website. Other main reading materials are listed below.
‣ Fiske, S. T., & Taylor, S. E. (2017). Social cognition: From brains to culture (3rd Ed.). Los Angeles: Sage.
‣ Eldoğan, D., Korkmaz, L., Yeniçeri, Z. & Kökdemir, D. (2017). Akademik yazım kuralları kitapçığı. Ankara: Başkent Üniversitesi.
‣ Kosinski, J. (1970). Bir yerde (A. Balta, Trans.). İstanbul: E Yayınları.
‣ Dostoyevski, F. M. (1846/2017). Öteki (T. Akgün, Trans). İstanbul: Türkiye İş Bankası Kültür Yayınları.
‣ Ali, S. (1940/2013). İçimizdeki şeytan. İstanbul: YKY.

Suggested Journals
Journal of Personality and Social Psychology
Journal of Experimental Social Psychology
Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin
Psychological Bulletin
Psychological Review
Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes
Social Cognition
Behavioral Neuroscience
Decision
European Psychologist
Journal of Neuroscience, Psychology, and Economics)

See you on Thursdays (18:00 - 20:50) at G-406.

Weekly Course Schedule

Week 01 (Sep., 27th): Introduction to PSK 534
(Chapter 01: Introduction)
Forming Impressions of Personality (Asch's Original Study)
Forming Impressions of Personality (A Critique)
Forming Impressions of Personality (A Replication)

Week 02 (Oct., 4th): Consciousness
(Chapter 02: Dual Modes in Social Cognition)

Week 03 (Oct., 11th)
: ABC of Social Cognition
(Chapter 02: Dual Modes in Social Cognition)

Week 04 (Oct., 18th): Social Cognition II
(Chapter 03: Attention and Encoding)
(Chapter 04: Representation in Memory)