PY3SCN-Social Cognition of Nonverbal Behaviour

Module Provider: Psychology
Number of credits: 10 [5 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Autumn term module
Non-modular pre-requisites:
Modules excluded:
Module version for: 2016/7

Module Convenor: Dr Juliane Honisch


Summary module description:
Social cognition of nonverbal behaviour

This module will enable students to explore how individuals form impressions of others and project their own mental state onto others through nonverbal communicative movements. This option aims to give students the experience of critical evaluations of recent research approaches and theoretical perspectives on social-cognition of nonverbal behaviours.

Assessable learning outcomes:
By the end of the module, the student will be able to:
1.Critically analyse research about the role nonverbal behaviour plays in the impression formation of others and of ourselves.
2. Apply their knowledge of experimental designs used in social cognition research by designing an empirical study to answer an appropriate research question.
3. Appraise key research approaches and theoretical perspectives of impression formation.

Additional outcomes:
Collaboration with others in formulating research questions and designing research projects within this topic area; Analysis and synthesis of complex literature relating to social cognition of nonverbal communication; Ability to critically evaluate research and theory independently and as part of a small discussion group.

Outline content:
The module comprises seven 2-hour seminars.
A substantial amount of our everyday communication is nonverbal, may it be intentional or unintentional. These forms of communication include postures, facial expressions, eye gaze, gestures and full bodily movements. In this module we study how nonverbal behaviours reveal who we are, how we want to be perceived and how we perceive others. We will examine topics such as mind perception, person perception, theory of mind and perspective taking. In particular we will explore the underlying processes that shape how we form impressions of others. We will consider the importance of nonverbal behaviours and what they communicate – an emotional response or a personality trait? We will additionally look at the interpersonal and intrapersonal outcomes of mimicry, synchrony and joint-action, and critically discuss clinical applications of interpersonal synchrony (e.g. in psychotherapy). In order to evaluate these topics, we will focus on the relevant and recent literature from social and cognitive psychology.

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:
Seminars involve lectures, interactive discussions, practical activities and student presentations. During the course of the module, students will prepare a research grant proposal on a relevant topic.

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Lectures 15
Guided independent study 85
Total hours by term 100.00
Total hours for module 100.00

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Written exam 75
Written assignment including essay 25

Other information on summative assessment:
This module is assessed through coursework (20%) and a final exam (80%).
The 1.5-hour Summer Exam will require students to answer 1 essay question on topics covered in the module.
Coursework will comprise a 2000-word essay.

Formative assessment methods:
Students will be provided with feedback on their collaborative grant proposal activities. This feedback will help students prepare for the final exam.

Penalties for late submission:

The Module Convenor will apply the following penalties for work submitted late, in accordance with the University policy.
  • where the piece of work is submitted up to one calendar week after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): 10% of the total marks available for the piece of work will be deducted from the mark for each working day (or part thereof) following the deadline up to a total of five working days;
  • where the piece of work is submitted more than five working days after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): a mark of zero will be recorded.

  • The University policy statement on penalties for late submission can be found at:
    You are strongly advised to ensure that coursework is submitted by the relevant deadline. You should note that it is advisable to submit work in an unfinished state rather than to fail to submit any work.

    Length of examination:
    1.5 hours

    Requirements for a pass:
    Overall mark of 40%

    Reassessment arrangements:
    Re-assessment is by re-examination in August / September

    Additional Costs (specified where applicable):
    1) Required text books: Kostic, A. &Chadee, D. (2014). The Social Psychology of Nonverbal Communication. Palgrave Macmillan. ISBN: 9781137345851, cost: £ 63.00 (electronic and hard copies available in the library). Epley, N., &Caruso, E. M. (2009). Perspective taking: Misstepping into others’ shoes. In K. D. Markman, W. M. P. Klein, &J. A. Suhr (Eds.), Handbook of imagination and mental simulation (pp. 295–309). New York: Psychology Press. ISBN: 1841698873, cost: £ 34.99 (electronic version available in the library).

    2) Specialist equipment or materials:
    3) Specialist clothing, footwear or headgear:
    4) Printing and binding:
    5) Computers and devices with a particular specification:
    6) Travel, accommodation and subsistence:

    Last updated: 21 December 2016

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