Social Cognition: Research and Applications MSc
This MSc focuses on how individuals construe the social world and the processes that underlie social judgment and behaviour. The programme draws on the research of outstanding academic staff working in the areas of social psychology, neuroscience, and cognitive psychology to provide unique, cutting-edge perspectives on humans as social beings.
What will I learn?
The programme provides an understanding of how the human cognitive and neural systems have evolved to sustain social coordination and adaptation to the environment. Key topics include: social perception, motivation, attitudes, embodiment, social judgment and decision making, and social neuroscience.
Why should I study this degree at UCL?
The Division of Psychology & Language Sciences undertakes world-leading research and teaching in mind, behaviour, and language.
Our work attracts staff and students from around the world. Together they create an outstanding and vibrant environment, taking advantage of cutting-edge resources such as a behavioural neuroscience laboratory, a centre for brain imaging, and extensive laboratories for research in speech and language, perception, and cognition.
Opportunities for graduate students to work with world-renowned researchers exist in all areas of investigation, from basic processes to applied research. The division offers a supportive environment including numerous specialist seminars, workshops, and guest lectures.
The MSc in Social Cognition focuses on how individuals construe the social world and the processes that underlie social judgment and behaviour. It provides an understanding of how the human cognitive and neural systems have evolved to sustain social coordination and adaptation to the environment. Key topics include: social perception, motivation, attitudes, embodiment, social judgment and decision making, and social neuroscience. The programme draws on the research of outstanding academic staff working in the areas of social psychology, neuroscience, and cognitive psychology to provide unique, cutting-edge perspectives on humans as social beings.
Social cognition is a rapidly developing domain with implications for most areas of psychology (e.g., clinical psychology, cross-cultural psychology, health psychology, consumer psychology, educational psychology, organizational psychology, political psychology etc.). This degree programme integrates cutting-edge knowledge from social psychology, cognitive psychology, and social neuroscience to develop an understanding of social judgment and behaviour.
The division of psychology has advanced technology for the study of socio-cognitive processes, including fMRI, eye-, speech- and motion-tracking equipment for dyadic and group settings, as well as a 360o video camera.
The course is made up of eight taught modules and a research project. There are 1800 learning hours in total, with 450 contact hours. There are six core modules. In addition, you will complete two specialist optional modules selected by students from a wide list of options. The options and research project will allow students tailor the programme with an emphasis in basic and applied social cognition, social judgment and decision making or social neuroscience. In addition, they will be able to profit from UCL’s and London’s vibrant research environment in decision-making, cognition and neuroscience, with regular scientific meetings that attract leading international experts.
The programme has the following obligatory components:
||Understanding Individuals and Groups||15||2 pieces of coursework|
||Social Cognition, Affect, and Motivation||15||2 pieces of coursework|
||Current Issues in Attitude Research||15||
2 pieces of coursework
||Social Neuroscience||15||2 pieces of coursework|
||Judgment and Decision Making||15||1 seen essay|
3 unseen tests
In addition, students register for two optional modules (each worth 15 credits) in consultation with the programme director chosen from the following:
Programme Director and and module convenor (Social Cognition; Affect and Motivation) Ana Guinote
Module Convenor (Understanding Individuals and Groups, and Current Issues in Attitudes and Research) Ruud Custers
Module Convenor (Understanding Individuals and Groups) Eva Krumhuber
Module Convenor (Social Neuroscience) Antonia Hamilton
Module convenor (Statistics) Maarten Speekenbrink
Course Administrator Pia Horbacki.
Mode of study
- Full-time 1 year
- Part-time 2 years
Start of Programme
- September intake only
Application Deadline for 2014/15
Normally a minimum of an upper second-class Bachelor's degree from a UK university or an overseas qualification of an equivalent standard.
Select your country for equivalent alternative requirements
English language proficiency level: Good
How to apply
Students are advised to apply as early as possible due to competition for places. Those applying for scholarship funding (particularly overseas applicants) should take note of application deadlines.
The deadline for applications is 14 July 2014.
Who can apply?
Social cognition is a rapidly developing domain with implications for most areas of psychology (e.g. clinical psychology, cross-cultural psychology, health psychology, consumer psychology, educational psychology, organisational psychology, political psychology) and the programme will appeal to students with a background in these areas who are interested in social judgement and behaviour.
What are we looking for?
When we assess your application we would like to learn:
- why you want to study Social Cognition at graduate level
- why you want to study Social Cognition at UCL
- what particularly attracts you to this programme
- how your academic and professional background meets the demands of this rigorous programme
- where you would like to go professionally with your degree
Information on English Language tests that UCL accepts for Graduate students.
English Language tests information
When looking at applications we also look to see if students have some understanding of quantitative research methods. We may also consider students from other disciplines where additional relevant experience or qualifications will also be taken into account when considering applications.
Students on this programme will acquire skills and knowledge relevant to careers in marketing, consumer behaviour, political behaviour, leadership, and intergroup conflict. It should also appeal to students who have an interest in pursuing research in social cognition, social neuroscience, or social psychology.
Social cognition is the field in social psychology that has the biggest impact on other areas of psychology, such as clinical psychology, cross-cultural psychology, health psychology, consumer psychology, educational psychology, organizational psychology, political psychology. Social cognition has developed measures and expertise now widely used to estimate people’s attitudes, self-esteem, prejudice level, or to reduce discrimination. Social neuroscience is one of the fastest growing areas in psychology.
Students on this programme will acquire skills and knowledge relevant to careers in marketing, consumer behaviour, political behaviour, leadership, and intergroup conflict. It should also appeal to students who have an interest in pursuing research in social cognition, social neuroscience, or social psychology. Social cognition is the field in social psychology that has the biggest impact on other areas of psychology, such as clinical psychology, cross-cultural psychology, health psychology, consumer psychology, educational psychology, organizational psychology, political psychology. Social cognition has developed measures and expertise now widely used to estimate people’s attitudes, self-esteem, prejudice level, or to reduce discrimination. Social neuroscience is one of the fastest growing areas in psychology.
If you would like any further information on the programme content, you can contact any of the following people:
Programme Director: email: Ana Guinote phone: (+44 20) 7679 5378
Programme Lecturer: email: Ruud Custers phone: (+44 20) 7679 5353
|What are the fees this year for full-time and part-time studying?|
For information on fees, please visit: All Course fees
|What are the term time dates?|
For further information on term dates please visit: Term Dates Main teaching is the the 1st and 2nd term. During the 3rd term there is no teaching as this period is for development on the research project as well as other coursework submissions.
Information on Scholarships/funding:
Unfortunately there is very little on offer in terms of funding for this course. For information, please visit: Scholarships/Funding
|Are there any prerequisites to enable entry to this course?|
No. There are no prerequisites. We do however, make aware that the Statistics module is set at an advanced level and advise that those without any statistical experience may find this difficult. Pre-course reading is encouraged: Charles M. Judd, Gary H. McClelland, and Carey S. Ryan, "Data Analysis: A Model Comparison Approach" (2 edition), Routledge, 2008. (for further information, please visit: Data Analysis This book covers almost all the module content for 2011-12 and is the recommended book. Alternatively you can also refer to 'Discovering Statistics with SPSS' by Andy Field
|Is there any recommended reading?|
For further Information, please visit: Recommended Reading
|Part-Time studying - How would this work?|
For further information, please visit: Part-Time Studying
|What do our students say?|
Amanda "The teaching methods of the staff go beyond exam and assessment preparation. Their enthusiasm as they deliver lecture content instills the value of learning as an end in itself. I admire the multidimensional structure of the course as I continue to develop a dearth of skills which can be applied within the field of psychology and across a number of career paths. The departmental staff are extremely supportive and they have created a highly engaging learning environment.”
Zahra “For me the Social Cognition master was the first window into understanding the social brain in an appropriate way. It helped me to develop my ideas as a prospective social neuroscientist. It made my dreams to come true. This master provided me with the basic knowledge of social psychology as well as the neuroscience.”
|What other Master's programmes, Research programmes or Professional Doctorates are available within the Division of Psychology and Language Sciences?|
|Can you offer any advice on student accommodation?|
Accommodation is dealt with by UCL Residencies. For further information and contacts, please visit: Accommodation
|Back to FAQs|
MSc in Social Cognition: Research and Applications - Key readings
Forgas, J.P. (Ed.) (2006). Affect, cognition and social behaviour. New York: Psychology Press
Harmon-Jones, E. & Winkielman, P. (2007). Social Neuroscience. Integrating biological and psychological explanations of social behavior. Guilford Press. New York
Maio, G. R., & Haddock, G. G. (2010). The Psychology of Attitudes and Attitude Change. London, UK: Sage.
Moskowitz, G.B. Social Cognition: Understanding Self and Others. NY, NY: The Guilford Press, 2005.
Vohs, Kathleen D. & Roy F. Baumeister (2010), Handbook of Self-Regulation: Research, Theory, and Applications (2nd edition). New York, NY: Guilford. [if this book is not out, check first edition by Baumeister & Vohs]
Alicke, M., & Sedikides, C. (2009). Self-enhancement and self-protection: What they are and what they do. European Review of Social Psychology, 20, 1–48.
Balcetis, E., & Dunning, D. (2006). See what you want to see: Motivational influences on visual perception. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 91, 612-625
Baumeister, R.F., & Leary, M.R. (1995). The need to belong: Desire for interpersonal attachments as a fundamental human motivation. Psychological Bulletin, 117, 497-529.
Baumeister, R.F., Bratslavsky, E., Muraven, M., & Tice, D.M. (1998). Ego depletion: Is the active self a limited resource? Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 74, 1252-1265.
Brass, M., Ruby, P. & Spengler, S. (2009). Inhibition of imitative behaviour and social cognition. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society, B, 364, 2359-2367.
Carver, C. S. (2006). Approach, avoidance, and the self-regulation of affect and action. Motivation and Emotion, 30, 105-110.
Cialdini, R. B. (1995). Principles and techniques of social influence. In A. Tesser (Ed.), Advanced social psychology (pp. 257-281). Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum
Devine, P. G. (1989). Stereotypes and prejudice: Their automatic and control components. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 56, 5-18.
Devine, P. G., & Sharp, L. B. (2009). Automatic and controlled processes in stereotyping and prejudice. In T. Nelson (Ed.), Handbook of prejudice,stereotyping, and iscrimination (pp.61-82). New York: Psychology Press.
DeWall, C. N., Maner, J. K., & Rouby, D. A. (2009). Social exclusion and early-stage interpersonal perception: Selective attention to signs of acceptance. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 96, 729-741.
Dovidio, J. F., Kawakami, K., & Gaertner, S. L. (2002). Implicit and explicit prejudice and interracial interaction. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 82, 62-68.
Gable, P. A., & Harmon-Jones, E. (2008). Approach-motivated positive affect reduces breadth of attention. Psychological Science, 19, 476-482.
Gawronski, B., & Bodenhausen, G. V. (2006). Associative and propositional processes in evaluation: An integrative review of implicit and explicit attitude change. Psychological Bulletin, 132, 692-731.
Greenwald, A. G., McGhee, D. E., & Schwartz, J. K. L. (1998). Measuring individual differences in implicit cognition: The Implicit Association Test. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 74, 1464-1480.
Guinote,A., Judd,C.M., Brauer,M. (2002). Effects of power on perceived and objective group variability: Evidence that more powerful groups are more variable. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 82, 708-721
Maio, G. R., & Haddock, G. (2007). Attitude change. In A. W. Kruglanski & E. T. Higgins (Eds.), Social psychology: Handbook of basic principles (2nd Edition, pp. 565-586). New York: Guilford.
Markus, H.R., & Kunda, Z. (1986). Stability and malleability of the self-concept. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 51, 858-866.
Mussweiler, T. (2003). Comparison processes in social judgment: Mechanisms and consequences. Psychological Review, 110, 472–489.
Rizzolatti, Giacomo; Craighero, Laila (2004). The mirror-neuron system. Annual Review of Neuroscience, 27, 169–192.
Rydell, R. J., & McConnell, A. R. (2006). Understanding implicit and explicit attitude change: A systems of reasoning analysis. Journal ofPersonality and Social Psychology, 91, 995-1008.
Schwarz, N. (1999). Self-reports: How the questions shape the answers.American Psychologist, 54, 93- 105.
Schwarz, N., & Bohner, G. (2001). The construction of attitudes. In A. Tesser & N. Schwarz (Eds.), Blackwell handbook of social psychology: Intrapersonal processes (pp. 436-457). Oxford, UK: Blackwell.
Schwarz, N., & Clore, G.L. (2003). Mood as information: 20 years later. Psychological Inquiry,14, 296-303.
Smith, E. R., & DeCoster, J. (2000). Dual process models in social and cognitive psychology: Conceptual integration and links to underlying memory systems. Personality and Social Psychology Review, 4 108-131.
Winkielman, P., & Cacioppo, J.T. (2001). Mind at ease puts a smile on the face: Psychophysiological evidence that processing facilitation leads to positive affect. Journal of Personality and SocialPsychology, 81, 989–1000.
Zajonc, R.B. (2001). Mere exposure: A gateway to the subliminal. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 10, 224–228.
Charles M. Judd, Gary H. McClelland, and Carey S. Ryan, "Data Analysis: A Model Comparison Approach" (2 edition), Routledge, 2008. (seehttp://www.dataanalysisbook.com/)
Reis, H., & Judd, C.M. (Eds.). (2000). Handbook of research methods in social and personality psychology. New York, NY: Cambridge University Press.
On-line overviews of methods (for non-psychology students)
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Part Time Studying
|Back to FAQ's|
Part-time students will take two years to complete this degree by attending one day a week. You will be expected to devote extra time for private study and you will also have to attend lectures for your optional module which may fall on a different day than your assigned day of study. The project work should be spread out over the two years and students are strongly encouraged to make substantial inroads in to it in their first year. Please ensure that you have (a minimum of) one whole day per week off work for the whole year and not just during term time.
Part-time students can sometimes find the start of the course overwhelming, and feel that they are missing out by not attending the other modules, or because they do not have as much time as other students for reading or attending optional departmental seminars. Try not to let this worry you too much. You will soon find that there are some advantages to doing the course in two years (e.g. project is more spread out), and you will go in to your second year with the confidence of knowing that you have far more background knowledge than your newly-arrived full time peers.
|What part-time students will complete over the two years:|
* Term 1: ONE core module: Stats (all day Monday).
* Term 2: TWO core modules: Judgement and Decision Making and Social Neuroscience (all day Wednesday) and ONE optional module. You can choose a module that starts in Term 1 in which case you don’t have to do any in Term 2.
* Term 3: Main Research Project (to be completed by end of second year).
By the end of Year 1 you will have completed: 3 core modules and 1 optional module.
* Term 1: TWO core modules: Understanding Individuals and Groups and Social Cognition; Affect and Motivation (all day on Wednesday).
* Term 2: ONE core module: Current Issues in Attitudes and Research (all day Monday), and ONE optional module. You can choose a module that starts in Term 1 in which case you don’t have to do any in Term 2.
* Term 3: Work on main project due in August.
By the end of Year 2 you will have completed an additional 3 core modules and 1 optional module.
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- UK/EU Full-time: £8,500
- UK/EU Part-time: £4,250
- Overseas Full-time: £21,700
- Overseas Part-time: £10,800
Scholarships available for this department
For current students in their final year of a research programme in the Division of Psychology and Language Sciences. This award is based on academic merit. Students must contact the Division of Psychology & Language Sciences for application information.
Awarded for academic merit
To reward academic merit.
Selection based solely on financial need.
For a prospective UK Master's student from under-represented background enrolling on a participating programme . Selection based solely on financial need.
Further information about funding and scholarships can be found on the Scholarships and funding website.
Many students go onto pursue PhD’s: - Northumbria University investigating the dysfunctional self-perception in people with sleep disturbances using methods such as face morphing, and eye-tracking, UCL decision-making, UCL the Centre for the Study of Decision-Making Uncertainty, UCL Financial Decision Making, UCL Non-Verbal Communication and Deception Detection, Radboud University Nijmegen in the Netherlands on Social Cognition.
- PhD at Queen Mary University of London “Online Social Networking and Adolescent Mental Health". Also working as a research assistant on the Olympic Regeneration in East London (ORiEL) study. Data for the PhD comes from the ORiEL study 3,105 adolescents in East London. The ORiEL project aims to evaluate the impact of urban regeneration on young people and their families and is a multidisciplinary project being carried out between Queen Mary University, The London School of Hygeine and Tropical Medicine and University of East London.
- Research Assistant at Kozminski University in Warsaw the perception of small probability events and cognitive effort as a factor influencing framing effects.
- Doctorate at University of Manchester in counselling psychology.
- Psychodynamic counselling and psychotherapy diploma at the Manor House Centre for Psychotherapy and Counselling.
- Revising thesis (from the course) for publication.
- Senior research administrator at the Institute of Psychiatry, King's College London.
- Financial Services.
- Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA) tutor at a school for autistic children
- Teaching Assistant at UCL's department of Management Science and Innovation as dissertation supervisor and personal tutor for undergraduates.
- Contractor as a Research Analyst for a Consultancy company.
- Latin America project department of a children's global development NGO
- Research in Social Neuroscience.
- Freelance consultant for an artificial intelligence company developing experimental/psychological paradigms and data analyses (e.g. statistical analysis of behavioural data).
- Researcher in recruitment consultancy.
- Management Consultancy graduate scheme.
- Consulting company specialising in Social and Behaviour Change Strategy for the governmental, NGO and development sectors, and clients include the British Department for International Development, USAID, The World Health Organisation and Ogilvy Public Relations.
- Technology consulting firm within the Management Consultancy department.
- (Graduate) Business Consultant in a leading IT company.
- Project Associate for Development and Behavioural Economics research projects in India. The projects are headed by Harvard University in collaboration with the Institute of Financial Management Research in Chennai (IFMR). They are randomized controlled trails- one is on nutrition, productivity and decision making and the other is on the impact of alcohol consumption on economic outcomes.
- Police department working on Major Enquiries based in the Major Incident Room. Registering and indexing information on crimes, raise and result actions and extracting information.
- A branding agency as a research analyst and project management looking largely at consumer behaviour.
- Market research associate.
- Market research company.