Checking date: 18/05/2022

Course: 2022/2023

Behavioral Theories in the Social Sciences
Master in Computational Social Science (Plan: 472 - Estudio: 375)

Coordinating teacher: TORRE FERNANDEZ, MARGARITA

Department assigned to the subject: Social Sciences Department

Type: Compulsory
ECTS Credits: 3.0 ECTS


Core Competences: - Having and understanding the knowledge that provides a basis or opportunity to be original in the development and/or application of ideas, often in a research context - Students know how to apply their acquired knowledge and problem-solving skills in new or unfamiliar settings within broader (or multidisciplinary) contexts related to their field of study. - Students are able to integrate knowledge and to face the complexity of making judgments based on information that, being incomplete or limited, includes reflections on the social and ethical responsibilities linked to the application of their knowledge and judgments. - Students know how to communicate their conclusions and the knowledge and ultimate reasons behind them to specialised and - Students have the learning skills that will enable them to continue studying in a way that will be largely self-directed or autonomous. General Competences: - Ability to understand and analyze the main global social theories and how they are changing with the application of computational tools. - Ability to apply theoretical and methodological knowledge of computational social sciences to the analysis and resolution of specific cases and empirical problems. - Ability to communicate and present, in a clear, precise and rigorous manner, concepts and results related to computational social science activities to both specialized and non-specialized audiences. Specific Competences: - Ability to understand and analyze the main theoretical-methodological approaches of computational social sciences, their potentials and limitations, and to apply them to the analysis of specific social problems. Learning Outcomes: - Knowledge of the main theories of social behavior. - Ability to formulate explanations of behavior based on the underlying cognitive mechanisms - Ability to evaluate compatibilities and incompatibilities between various mechanistic explanations of behavior - Ability to hypothesize about social behaviors under various social conditions. - Ability to construct theoretical models that relate micro-level behaviors to macro-level outcomes. - Ability to generalize specific behaviors to explain social action.
Skills and learning outcomes
Description of contents: programme
1. Sociological explanation and social mechanisms. - Intentional explanation and its problems. - Interpretation vs explanation. - Classical models: behaviorism, culturalism, role theory, structuralism, interactionism, habitus theory. 1. Rational choice theory and rationality of behaviour. - Strategic interaction and game theory. - Collective action and social cooperation. - Social dilemmas and their solutions. 3. DBO theory. - Composition effects and unintended social outcomes. - The "Coleman's boat": methodological individualism and the micro-macro problem. - The debate on "analytical sociology". 4. Behavioural social science. - The "behavioural enrichment" of rational choice. - Limited rationality, cognitive biases, and social heuristics. - Pro-social motivations, reciprocity, and altruism. 1. Social influence, contagion, imitation, and diffusion. - Social trust. - Signalling theory and apparently irrational behaviour. 6. Social norms and conventions. - Suboptimal norms and pluralistic ignorance. - Falsification of preferences. - Power, status and status hierarchies. - Inequality. 7. Biology vs. socialization and culture as explanatory factors. - Evolutionary social science and cultural theory. - Biological basis of social behaviour.
Learning activities and methodology
Training Activities: - Theoretical classes - Group work - Individual student work Teaching Methods: - Presentations in the professor's lecture room with computer and audiovisual support, in which the main concepts of the subject are developed and a bibliography is provided to complement the students' learning. - Critical reading of texts recommended by the subject professor: Press articles, reports, manuals and/or academic articles, either for later discussion in class, or to expand and consolidate knowledge of the subject. - Presentation and discussion in class, under the moderation of the professor, of topics related to the content of the subject, as well as practical
Assessment System
  • % end-of-term-examination 0
  • % of continuous assessment (assigments, laboratory, practicals...) 100
Basic Bibliography
  • Bearman, P. & Hedström, P. (eds.) . The Oxford Handbook of Analytical Sociology. Oxford University Press.. 2009
  • Coleman, J. . Foundations of Social Theory. Cambridge (Mass.), Belknap Press. 1990
  • Elster, J. . Explaining Social Behavior. New York, Cambridge University Press. 2007
  • Hedström, P. . Dissecting the Social. Oxford University Press. 2005
  • Noguera, J.A. (ed.) . Analytical Sociological Theory.. Revista de Sociologia, 80. 2006

The course syllabus may change due academic events or other reasons.