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Social Psychology

Syllabus for pre-PhD Distance learning course on Psychology

SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY

Fenya Bazoyan, Ph.D, Associate Professor
Yerevan State University, Distance Learning Laboratory

1. Course module description
This course module includes the core topics of social psychology such as attitudes and prejudice, social perception, classic studies in conformity, obedience and compliance, social relations and behavior, group processes, and problems of applied social psychology. Social psychology attempts to understand, explain, predict people's thoughts, feelings and behaviors in society. It is devoted to the development of understanding of different social-psychological phenomena, focusing on both theoretic and applied social psychology.

2. Objectives of the course module

2.1 To introduce students with the core concepts of social psychology.
2.2 To define the relationship between attitudes and behavior.
2.3 To consider the role of social perceptions in interpersonal relations.
2.4 To discuss classic studies in conformity, obedience and compliance.
2.5 To consider characteristics of prosocial behavior and aggression.
2.6 To show the students how social psychology can be used in different fields of social practice.

3. Assessment
Since this is a distance-learning course, assessment will be based only on students’ written work.

  • Weekly written essays – 60%
  • Final essay-40%

4. Course module program

Class 1 An Introduction to Social Psychology
- Social psychology as a science.
- The sub disciplines of social psychology and connections to related fields.
- Methods of research in social psychology.

Readings:
- Advanced social psychology: the state of the science / edited by Roy F. Baumeister, Eli J.Finkel/. Oxford University Press, 2010.
- Social Psychology: Understanding Human Interaction. By Robert A. Baron, Donn Byrne, Donn Erwin Byrn. Boston, 1996.
- The Scope of Social Psychology: Theory and applications. Edited by Miles Hewstone, Henk A.W. Schut, John B.F. de Wit, Kees van den Bos, and Margaret S. Stroebe. Psychology Press, 2007.
- Worchel S. Understanding Social Psychology, 4th Ed., New York, 1988.
- Hollander E.P. Principles and methods of social psychology. New York: Oxford University Press, 1971.
- Berkowitz L., Advances in Experimental Social Psychology, Vol. 12, New York, Academic Press, 1979.

Assignment 1:
Please, answer the following questions (up to 5 pages):

- How does social psychology relate to other disciplines that study social behavior?
- How does social psychology differ from sociol­ogy and personality psychology?
- What is the difference between experimental research and correlation research?

Class 2 Attitudes, prejudice and stereotypes
- Attitude structure, function and change. Allport’s definition of attitudes.
- The theory of cognitive dissonance (Festinger L.).
- Theoretical explanations of prejudice. Prejudice and stereotyping.

Readings:
- Myers D.G. Social psychology. New York: The McGraw-Hill Companies, Ink., 1996.
- Cohen A. B., Attitide change and social influence, New York, London, 1978.
- Festinger L., A Theory of Cognitive Dissonance. Evanston, IL: Row, Peterson, 1957.
- Allport G.W., The nature of prejudice. New York: Addison-Wesley, 1954.
- McGuire W. J., Attitudes and Attitude Change. In: G. Lindzey and E.Aronson (Eds.), The Handbook of Social Psychology. 3rd Ed., Vol.2. New York. Random House, 1985.

Assignment 2:
Please, answer the following questions (up to 5 pages):

- What is the relationship among attitude, stereotypes, and prejudice?
- What is cognitive dissonance theory, and what are the main ideas?
- How does cognitive dissonance lead to attitude change?
- Are stereotypes ever accurate, and can they be overcome?

Class 3 Social perception
- The nature of social perception.
- Interpersonal attraction and close relationships.
- The theory of attribution. Causal attribution.
- Nonverbal communication, and impression formation.

Readings:
- Taylor S.E., Peplau L.A., Sears D.O. Social psychology. Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice Hall, 1994.
- Social Psychology. Edited by Shelley E.Taylor, Letitia Anne Peplau, David O. Sears.,Upper Saddle River; New Jersey 1994.
- Shaver K.G., An introduction to attribution processes. Cambridge, Mass.: Winthrop, 1975.
- Weitz S. Nonverbal communication: Reading with commentary (2nd ed.). New York: Oxford University Press, 1979.
- Schneider D. J., Hastorf A.H., Ellsworth P.C. Person perception (2nd ed.). Reading, Mass.: Addison-Wesley, 1979.

Assignment 3:
Please, answer the following questions (up to 5 pages):

- What is the attribution process?
- What is the fundamental attribution error? Why we do make the fundamental attribution error?
- What are the differences between situational and person attribution?
- What is the importance of first impressions? How do we “read” people?
- How does interpersonal attraction develop?

Class 4 Social influence
- Informational and normative social influence.
- Classic studies in conformity.
- Defining obedience. Milgram’s experiments on obedience.
- Compliance techniques.
- Minority influence.

Readings:
- Kenrick D.T., Neuberg S.L., Cialdini R.B. Social psychology: unraveling the mystery. Boston: Allyan and Bacon, 2002.
- Zimbardo P. G, Leippe M.R. The psychology of attitude change and social influence. Boston: Massachusetts: McGraw-Hill, 1991.
- Milgram S., Obedience to authority: An Experimental View. New York: Harper and Row, 1974.
- Social Psychology: Understanding Human Interaction. By Robert A. Baron, Donn Byrne, Donn Erwin Byrn. Boston 1996.
- Cialdini, R. B., & Trost, M. R., Social influence: Social norms, conformity, and compliance. In D. T. Gilbert & S. T. Fiske (Eds.), The handbook of social psychology: Vol. 2. Boston: McGraw-Hill, 1998.
- Solomon E.Asch., Social Psychology. New York: Prentice-Hall, 1952.

Assignment 4:
Please, answer the following questions (up to 5 pages):

- What factors influence conformity? Do women conform more than men?
- Can the minority ever influence the majority?
- What do social psychologists mean by the term “obedience”?
- Do Milgram’s results apply to other cultures?
- What are compliance techniques, and why do they work?

Class 5 Social behavior and relations
- The psychology of interpersonal relations.
- Prosocial Behavior.
- Aggression: Its nature and causes.

Readings:
- Advanced social psychology: the state of the science / edited by Roy F. Baumeister, Eli J.Finkel/. Oxford University Press, 2010.
- Argyle M. The psychology of interpersonal behavior. Harmondsworth: Penguin Books Ltd., 1972.
- Baron R. A. Human aggression. New York: Plenum, 1977.
- Miles Hewstone, Marilyn Brewer “Blackwell Handbook of Social Psychology (4-Volume Set)", 2003.
- Contemporary psychology and effective behavior. Edited by James C. Coleman, Charles G. Morris, Alan G. Glaros., London, 1987.

Assignment 5:
Please, answer the following questions (up to 5 pages):

- How do social psychologists define aggression?

- What are the ethological sociobiological, and genetic explanations for aggression?
- How can you characterize the one who helps and the one who needs help?
- What is altruism and how is it different from helping behavior? Why is the difference important?

Class 6 Groups: Behavior, structure, processes
- Type and characteristics of groups.
- Group formation, cohesion and identity.
- Social facilitation (Zajonc).
- Phenomenon of deindividuation.
- The dynamics of group decision making.
- Leaders and followers: Patterns of influence within group.

Readings:
- Group Dynamics: Research and theory (3rd Ed.,). Edited by Dorwin Cartwright, Alvin Zander. New York 1968.
- Miles Hewstone, Marilyn Brewer “Blackwell Handbook of Social Psychology (4-Volume Set)", 2003.
- Gibson J.L., Ivancevich J.M., Donnelly J. Organizations: Behavior, structure, processes. Burr Ride, Ill.: Irwin, 1994.
- Zajonc R.B., Social facilitation// Science, 1965. Vol.149. P 269-274.
- Collins B. E., Guetzkow H. A social psychology of group processes for decision-making. New York: Wiley, 1964.

Assignment 6:
Please, answer the following questions (up to 5 pages):

- What is a group and why do people join groups?

- What is the nature of group cohesiveness?
- What effect does an audience have on performance?
- What is the effect of different leadership styles on group decision making?
- What factors affect the decision-making ability and effectiveness of a group?

Class 7 Applying social psychology
- The application of social psychology to practical problems.
- Social psychology, Law and Health.

Readings:
- Andy McKinlay, Chris McVittie. Social Psychology and Discourse. Wiley-Blackwell, 2008.
- Bickman L. Applied social psychology annual. Beverly Hills, Calif.: Sage, 1980.
- Social Psychology: Understanding Human Interaction. By Robert A. Baron, Donn Byrne, Donn Erwin Byrn. Boston, 1996.

Assignment 7:
Please, answer the following questions (up to 5 pages):

- How would you define "applied social psychology"?

- What practical importance does Social Psychology have for Health care and Law?

Class 8 Closing exam
Based on your interest, choose any topic discussed whithin this course module and write an analytic essay (13-15 pages).

Դուք այստեղ եք: Ուսումնական ծրագրեր Հոգեբանություն Social Psychology