PSY4301B – Decisions, judgments, and social cognition

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Course content

Judgment and decision making (JDM) is a branch of cognitive psychology. Much of cognitive psychology gives a purely descriptive account on how people think. In contrast, JDM research focuses on readily observable judgments and decisions and also address whether these behaviors are consistent with how people should think. For example, memory psychologists investigate how information is categorized in memory. JDM researchers interested in memory focus on how memory influences judgments and decisions. Judgments and decisions are an essential part of most professions. JDM research is therefore highly relevant to applied disciplines in various fields, including health care, organizational behavior, computer science, economics, law etc.

The course may also contains topics in Social Cognition (SC) and the social context of thinking. SC lies in the intersection between social and cognitive psychology and deals with how we perceive, interpret, describe, and explain events and actions related to self and others in daily life. SC is the study of such questions as: How do we make judgments about the characteristics of ourselves and other people? How do we figure out what other people are thinking and feeling? What role do our self-concepts and our various goals and motives play in guiding our behavior?

This course examines research literature on selected topics within JDM, SC and the social context of thinking. The students are expected to participate in the general discussion following each topic presentation.

Learning outcome


The purpose of this course is to provide the students with a foundation for doing research on master’s degree level. The course gives the students an up-to-day overview of selected JDM-, SC- and social context of thinking research. They will get training in analyzing and presenting research literature.


After completing this course, students know how to do one or more of the following:

  • Critically compare different theories and methods and find commonalities and differences.
  • Lead theoretical and methodological discussions
  • Evaluate new theories and methods
  • Write on current topics in JDM, SC or the social context of thinking for the public

General competence

In terms of general competence, students can:

  • Deal with larger bodies of scientific texts about the same topic
  • Evaluate theory and research
  • Present theories and methods in JDM, SC or the social context of thinking


Students who are admitted to study programmes at UiO must each semester register which courses and exams they wish to sign up for in Studentweb.

If you are not already enrolled as a student at UiO, please see our information about admission requirements and procedures.

This course is not available for single course students.


Teaching is delivered in the form of lectures and seminars. Attendance is compulsory in both lectures and seminars. In order to pass this course, you are also required to give an oral presentation of a research article.

Access to teaching

A student who has completed compulsory instruction and coursework and has had these approved, is not entitled to repeat that instruction and coursework. A student who has been admitted to a course, but who has not completed compulsory instruction and coursework or had these approved, is entitled to repeat that instruction and coursework, depending on available capacity.


Participation in seminars and lecturs are mandatory (80% attendance). Beyond attendance, students have to present one research article.

Examination will be a written school exam.

Previous exams

Written examination

The written examination is conducted in the digital examination system Inspera. You will need to familiarize yourself with the digital examination arrangements in Inspera.

Read more about written examinations using Inspera.

Submit assignments in Inspera

You submit your assignment in the digital examination system Inspera. Read more about how to submit assignments in Inspera.

Use of sources and citation

You should familiarize yourself with the rules that apply to the use of sources and citations. If you violate the rules, you may be suspected of cheating/attempted cheating.

Examination support material

No examination support material is allowed.

Language of examination

The examination text is given in English, and you submit your response in English.

Grading scale

Grades are awarded on a scale from A to F, where A is the best grade and F is a fail. Read more about the grading system.

Explanations and appeals

Ask for explanation of your grade in this course

Resit an examination

If you are sick or have another valid reason for not attending the regular exam, we offer a postponed exam later in the same semester.

See also our information about resitting an exam.

Withdrawal from an examination

It is possible to take the exam up to 3 times. If you withdraw from the exam after the deadline or during the exam, this will be counted as an examination attempt.

Special examination arrangements

Application form, deadline and requirements for special examination arrangements.


The course is subject to continuous evaluation. At regular intervals we also ask students to participate in a more comprehensive evaluation.

Facts about this course






Every spring


Every spring

Teaching language