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The University of Southampton

PSYC3068 Social and Affective Neuroscience

Module Overview

Humans are adapted to be highly social. We interact with a number of other people everyday, and successful social interactions depend on the ability to infer other's mental and emotional state from limited cues. Social and affective neuroscience applies the methods traditionally used in neuroscience (e.g., neuroimaging, brain-stimulation methods such as fMRI, EEG, TMS) to better understand neural and psychological mechanisms underlying human social behaviours. This module will address from a cognitive neuroscience perspective a range of research questions relating to human social and emotional behaviour including social reward and punishment processing, prejudice & stereotype, and the abilities to experience empathy and to understand other people's intentions.

Aims and Objectives

Learning Outcomes

Learning Outcomes

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Give an account of the methods and questions motivating the emergent discipline of social and affective neuroscience
  • Evaluate how cognitive neuroscience methods contributed to our understanding of neural as well as mental processes involved in social situations
  • Give accounts of key experiments and findings in each topic area
  • Describe typical challenges researchers in the field face and ways to address them


The module will cover the following topics; - An introduction to social and affective neuroscience (history, methods, & neuroanatomy) - Critical thinking in social and affective neuroscience - Theory of mind - Empathy - Social pain - Social reward and neuroeconomics - Social influence and neuromarketing - Prejudice and stereotype - Basic and social emotions - Self

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

Weekly lectures will introduce each topic, which is followed by student-led seminars in which students will present assigned readings and lead class discussion in groups of about 2-3.

Independent Study126
Total study time150



MethodPercentage contribution
Exam 80%
Presentation 19%
Research Participation 1%
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