The course is divided into four modules.
In the first module, the constructs and epistemological distinctions underlying the discipline and their historical development will be introduced. The main theoretical orientations and the most widespread methodological paradigms will be presented. Finally, the most relevant thematic areas will be discussed, such as social cognition, impression formation and interpersonal perception, relational and communicative processes, pro and anti social behavior, social regulation of emotions and fundamental intra and intergroup phenomena.
The second module will be focused on the processes of social influence, on the cognitive and affective processes through which it acts and on the main manner in which the social influence operates. The differentiations between the social influence of a majority source and a minority source will be deepened.
The third module will focus on the phenomenon of stereotypes and prejudice. Starting from the social categorization processes and their functionality, the basic processes of origins, automation, activation, maintenance and change of stereotypes will be illustrated. The main theoretical models about the origins and the reduction of prejudice will be discussed.
The fourth module analyzes how mental shortcuts, grafted into legal estimates, especially when carried out under conditions of uncertainty or incompleteness of information or of scarce time and resources available, can be the basis of widespread and documented cognitive and decision-making biases. The cognitive processes and emotional reactions involved in the judgment, from the initial phases to the verdict, as well as the systematic distortions to which the operators of justice are exposed, will be illustrated with many practical examples.