PS/NS 363 - Abnormal Psychology: Social Cognition and Clinical Disorders

Human beings are possibly the most social of animals. We work together in organized way, we gather for meals, we work towards common goals as well as compete with one another. At the same time, we differ in the ways in which we infer emotions, thoughts and actions of others, in how we connect emotionally to others, empathize, establish and maintain social networks or follow social norms. This heterogeneity in sociability is natural but can pose a challenge when it becomes abnormal. In this course students will have the opportunity to study the novel and emerging area of research in social cognition in intact functioning as well as in different disorders where social cognition is impaired such as schizophrenia, autism, bi-polar disorder, paranoia, substance abuse etc. We will deepen our understanding of specific psychological processes involved in core facets of social behavior in these disorders such as social and emotional information processing, theory of mind, attributional style, and social perception. Healthy social functioning relies on effective processing of social information. We will, therefore, also look at how social cognitive interventions target these core facets of social behavior to improve social functioning and well-being of individuals. Much of this course is hands-on. We will learn to apply different tools that measure social cognition using different clinical cases. We will also learn about interactive social neuroscience by observing research with cutting-edge neuroimaging equipment. The topics and course related activities of this class are in line with the Proyecto Salamanca Sensible and Goal 3 of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in that they aim at studying the promotion of well-being and healthy lives.

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One semester of coursework in Psychology, related discipline or instructor approval.

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