Southern Nazarene University 

Sociology/Psychology 3113: Social Psychology, Spring, 1997 

Instructor: Dorothy Stasser, Ed. D.; Office: Science 425; Phone: 491-6374 

Class Meeting: 12:00-12:50, Monday, Wednesday, Friday; Science 408

  Course Objectives | RequirementsAssignment ScheduleReport GuidelinesGradingReading List 

Course Description: A study of the nature of the social structures which have been developed and the influences of these structures on the functioning of human individuals and groups. 

Prerequisites: Psychology 1113 or Sociology 1113 

Textbook: Myers, D. G. (1996). Social psychology (5th ed.). New York: McGraw-Hill. 

Definition of social psychology: "The scientific study of how people think about, influence, and relate to one another," (Myers, 1996). 

Class format: The class sessions will be in activity-lecture-discussion format. From time to time, portions of the class period will be devoted to project participation and informal presentations. 

If you need assistance with a disability that may affect youracademic progress, I encourage you to contact the Academic Support Center (491-6694). 


1. To understand individual behavior in the context of group influences 

2. To realize that the interaction of the individual and the group can be studied using objective and quantifiable methods 

3. To understand the principles and concepts used to describe the relationship between the individual and the group 

4. To see applications of the knowledge derived from this area of inquiry in the solving of today's problems 


Chapter 1: Introducing social psychology 

5. Define social psychology and give examples of the discipline's central concerns. 

6. Identify similarities and differences between social psychology and the other disciplines that study human nature. 

7. Indicate how the personal values of social psychologists penetrate their work. 

8. Discuss the nature and implications of the "hindsight bias" for social psychology. 

9. Describe two major research methods used in social psychology and state the advantages and disadvantages of each. 

10. Identify ethical standards that govern social psychological research. 

11. Explain the general nature and purpose of a theory. 

Chapter 2: The self in a social world 

12. Describe the nature of our self-concept and discuss how our beliefs about ourselves influence our thoughts and actions. 

13. Discuss research findings regarding the accuracy of our self-knowledge. 

14. Describe how culture can influence our self-conceptions. 

15. Define self-efficacy and explain its relationship to behavior. 

16. Give several examples of the self-serving bias and discuss why people perceive themselves in self-enhancing ways. 

17. Describe how the self-serving bias can be adaptive but also maladaptive. 

18. Show how tactics of impression management may lead to false modesty or self-defeating behavior 

Chapter 3: Social beliefs and judgments 

19. Identify the assumptions, questions, and general findings of attribution theory. 

20. Define the fundamental attribution error and explain why it occurs. 

21. Show how our preconceptions control our interpretations and memories. 

22. Illustrate and explain the overconfidence phenomenon. 

23. Show how we often ignore useful base-rate information. 

24. Illustrate the illusion of correlation and personal control. 

25. Describe how our moods affect our judgments. 

26. Describe how our erroneous beliefs may generate their own reality. 

Chapter 4: Behavior and attitudes 

27. Identify the components of an attitude. 

28. Describe research findings on the relationship between attitudes and behavior. 

29. Identify the conditions under which attitudes predict behavior. 

30. Provide evidence that behavior determines attitudes. 

31. Give three explanations of why our actions affect our attitudes. 

32. Describe how rewards influence attitudes. 

Chapter 5: Social cognition and human well-being 

33. Briefly describe the relevance of research on social cognition for clinical psychology. 

34. Describe how thinking errors may contaminate the personality interpretations made by mental health professionals. 

35. Discuss implications of illusory thinking principles for psychology as a scientific discipline. 

36. Describe the thought patterns of depressed persons and discuss whether their attributions are a cause or consequence of their depressed mood. 

37. Describe the thought patterns associated with loneliness and social anxiety. 

38. Discuss the concerns and findings of health psychology. 

39. Identify three social-psychological principles that can be usefully applied in treating psychological disorders. 

Chapter 6: Gender, genes, and culture 

40. Identify two important perspectives on human similarities and differences. 

41. Discuss important gender similarities and differences. 

42. Describe the major themes of evolutionary psychology. 

43. Discuss the nature and function of a norm and briefly describe one universal norm. 

44. Explain how the evolutionary psychologist accounts for gender differences and describe how hormonal differences predispose psychological differences. 

45. Identify some differing cultural norms and discuss the value differences of individualism-collectivism. 

46. Describe the nature of roles and the various effects of role playing. 

47. Discuss how gender roles vary with culture and over time. 

48. Describe the relationship between biology and culture and discuss the "great lesson" of social psychology. 

Chapter 7: Conformity 

49. Define conformity and explain the difference between "compliance" and "acceptance". 

50. Describe the findings of three classic studies on conformity. 

51. Identify circumstances that are conducive to conformity. 

52. Explain why people conform. 

53. Indicate how gender, personality, and cultural background are related to conformity. 

54. Explain why people sometimes resist social pressure. 

Chapter 8: Persuasion 

55. Identify the two routes to persuasion. 

56. Describe communicator characteristics that contribute to effective communication. 

57. Explain how the content of the message influences its effectiveness. 

58. Describe the effects of different channels of communication. 

59. Identify characteristics of the audience which influence susceptibility to persuasion. 

60. List the principles utilized in cult indoctrination and psychotherapy. 

61. Explain how people may resist persuasion. 

Chapter 9: Group influence 

62. Define a group. 

63. Discuss how we are affected by the presence of others. 

64. Identify the conditions under which social loafing is likely to occur. 

65. Describe the psychological state of "deindividuation." 

66. Define and explain group polarization. 

67. Discuss the causes, symptoms, and prevention of "groupthink." 

68. Identify the factors that strengthen minority influence and describe effective leadership. 

Chapter 10: Social psychology in court 

69. Identify issues pertinent to both social psychology and the law. 

70. Discuss findings on eyewitness testimony and describe ways of reducing error. 

71. Identify defendant characteristics that may influence jurors' judgments and describe the effects of the judge's instructions. 

72. Show how jurors' individual dispositions may influence their verdicts. 

73. Discuss how a jury functions as a group. 

74. Explain the value of simulated juries. 

Chapter 11: Prejudice: Disliking others 

75. Distinguish between prejudice and discrimination. 

76. Trace recent trends in racial and gender prejudices in the United States. 

77. Explain how unequal status, self-fulfilling prophecy, and the mere formation of groups foster prejudice. 

78. Demonstrate how prejudice is maintained through conformity and institutional supports. 

79. Explain the scapegoat theory of prejudice and the personality dynamics of authoritarianism. 

80. Show how stereotypes can be a by-product of our normal thinking processes. 

81. Describe the just-world phenomenon. 

82. Identify cognitive consequences of stereotypes. 

Chapter 12: Aggression: Hurting others 

83. Define aggression and explain the difference between hostile and instrumental aggression. 

84. Discuss the instinct view of aggression. 

85. Describe biological influences on aggression. 

86. Identify the causes and consequences of frustration. 

87. Discuss the social learning view of aggression. 

88. Identify conditions that tend to provoke aggression. 

89. Describe the effects of viewing pornography. 

90. Describe television's effects on thinking and behavior. 

a) Discuss ways of reducing aggression. 

Chapter 13: Attraction: Liking and loving others 

91. Discuss the links between close relationships and well-being. 

92. List four powerful influences upon liking and friendship. 

93. Discuss the role of proximity and physical attractiveness in initial attraction. 

94. Discuss research findings on the role of similarity in friendship and describe how liking is usually mutual. 

95. Describe the nature of passionate love and identify cultural, personality, and gender variations in love. 

96. Discuss the nature of companionate love. 

97. Identify different attachment styles and explain the reward theory of attraction. 

98. Discuss the importance of equity and self-disclosure in close relationships. 

99. Identify several predictors of a stable marriage and describe the detachment process. 

Chapter 14: Altruism: Helping others 

100. Define altruism. 

101. Describe how social-exchange theory explain altruism. 

102. Identify two social norms that may motivate altruism. 

103. Describe how evolutionary psychology accounts for altruism. 

104. Identify situational influences that enhance helpfulness. 

105. Discuss personal influences that affect helping. 

106. Identify who is likely to receive help. 

107. Discuss how altruism can be increased. 

Chapter 15: Application: Conflict and peace-making 

108. Define conflict. 

109. Explain how the pursuit of self-interest can produce a social dilemma. 

110. Suggest specific ways of resolving social dilemmas. 

111. Describe how competition produces conflict. 

112. Describe the criterion most people use to define justice. 

113. Identify specific misperceptions that fuel conflict. 

114. List the conditions under which close contact reduces hostility between opposing parties. 

115. Describe how superordinate goals reduce conflict. 

116. Explain how bargaining, mediation, and arbitration can be used to resolve differences between opposing parties. 

117. Describe the GRIT model for reducing conflict. 

Course requirements

Five unit tests will be distributed across the semester according to the tentative schedule given below. We will be covering approximately a chapter each week. Make-up tests should be avoided if at all possible. Make-up tests are any tests not taken at the scheduled time with the rest of the class. If necessary to take a make-up test, you are responsible to get instructor approval on the forms for that purpose. 

The final examination will cover the highlighted material from throughout the semester. 

You will be expected to attend each class session. Many assigned activities are completed during the class period and often require the participation of other class members; therefore, making up activities later is impossible. You will be held responsible for any information given during that class meeting, however. 

A short mini-project will accompany each chapter. This mini-project may be an in- or out-of-class project. 

You should keep a journal of social psychology occurrences you observe during each week. You should record at least one of these events each week for the minimal amount of credit. The description of each event should include the day of the week, the time of day, and the place, along with a general description of the participants, a brief description of the behavior and interactions that occurred, and the name(s) of the social-psychological concept(s) the event illustrates. These are due each Friday at the beginning of class. No late work will be accepted. 

Find a general research area for your semester project. Select from areas of social psychology that interest you the most. Scan the table of contents of your textbook for suggestions. Report the area to your instructor. DUE ON FEBRUARY 12. 

You should select one of the short projects used as daily, in-class assignment in the general research area that you selected. This should be a topic that you can expand in content and/or in the amount of data collected. Report your selection of a specific topic for your semester project to your instructor for approval. DUE FEBRUARY 19. 

Find and copy three professional journal articles that relate to the topic of your semester report. These must be from professional journals rather than from the popular press or electronic sources other than professional journals. DUE ON MARCH 3. 

Present any materials (for example, questionnaires) to be used to gather data for your semester project. DUE MARCH 5. 

Write a specific hypothesis of the results you expect from the data you collect. DUE MARCH 12. 

Write your semester report in APA manuscript style for empirical research. Include a review of the literature. The guidelines for presenting your report in APA style are given below. The rough draft of your report is DUE ON APRIL 16. The final report is DUE ON APRIL 30. 

Guidelines For Project Report 


Gain insight into the way knowledge is gained in social psychology by actually participating in the process of research 

Be able to present an organized, unambiguous, concise report, as would be found in professional empirical literature. This includes highlighting past research, stating the hypothesis, describing the method of data collection, summarizing the results, and discussing the implications of the results 


You can derive meaning from professional literature 

You can summarize and interpret data in a way that it could be accurately communicated to professionals in social psychology 

You are able to move from summarized data to the implications of those results in terms of the hypothesis and research question 

Final Report Outline 

You are to present your report as if you are a researcher in social psychology reporting to other social psychologists who are not familiar with your particular study. The outline you are to follow is given below. In order to cover information requested, your paper will probably be 4-5 pages not including the title page and appendix. It should be typed with double spacing. 

Þ Title Page 

Title: Should indicate the method used, who was studied, and in what setting 

Your name 

Your institutional affiliation (SNU) 

Þ Introduction 

Use no heading on this section of the paper. Begin with the first sentence of the first paragraph at the top of the page. 

Use one sentence to introduce the general topic of your study. 

Summarize previous studies relevant to the problem being studied. Move from general, broader studies to specific studies focused more exactly on your problem. Provide the sources of these studies by giving the author(s) last name and the year of publication both in the same parenthesis 

State the purpose of and the hypothesis (or hypotheses) for your study. 

Þ Methods 

The key to writing the Methods section is to keep in mind that any researcher in social psychology should be able to do exactly what you did by following only your description given in this section. 

Subjects. Describe as exactly as possible the people involved in your study. 

Setting and apparatus. Describe the conditions under which you conducted the study. Give time of day(s) and date(s) of your data collection. Describe weather conditions if outside. Describe conditions in building if indoors. Describe your survey, recording apparatus, etc. Include any other conditions that were important in understanding the setting. 

Procedure. Give a step-by-step description of the way you did the study, from the selection of subjects through the end of your data collection. 

Þ Results 

Give the results that you feel summarize the outcomes of your study and any other information that is important to understanding the outcomes of your research. Give any of the following that you have used to analyze your results: means, standard deviations, totals, percentages, statistical tests. Graphs may be helpful in communicating your results. The actual data should not be reported in the Results section; include raw data in the Appendix (see instructions below). 

Þ Discussion 

Give the conclusions that your feel are warranted on the basis of the results given above. In addition give suggestions that you have for improving the study if it were to be repeated. The Discussion section is an appropriate place for you to report on suppositions you have that could be tested in later research. 

Þ References 

Arrange references alphabetically by the last name of the first author. Use the following format: Author's last name, initials. (Year). Title of article. Journal Name, Volume, page numbers. 

A purpose for the reference list that you should keep in mind is that a reader must be given, in a systematic way, information that s/he would need to locate the original source of any material given in your paper. 

You should have at least 5 different references. Each of the sources listed in the Reference section should be cited in the body of your paper. A reference list is different than a bibliography. All entries in a reference list should be discussed in your paper. In contrast, a bibliography may be more extensive in that it may contain sources not actually cited in your paper. Your report should have a reference list not a bibliography. 

Þ Appendix 

Attach your actual data gathered during the study. You may attach response sheets or surveys used by your subjects, and/or a list of individual scores without subject names if possible. 

Evaluation of project 

The rough draft of your report is due APRIL 16. I will return your rough draft with feedback by APRIL 23. The feedback will be for you to use in preparing your final draft, but your rough draft will not be given a grade. 

Your final draft is due APRIL 30 and will be evaluated on the basis on the following factors: 

1. Completeness of study 

2. Accurate statement of hypothesis 

3. Clarity of descriptions 

4. Ability to present results in a meaningful way 

5. Ability to interpret results in light of the hypothesis 

6. Number of references 

7. Quality of references 

8. Conformity to format 

9. Coverage of content requested in outline of report 

10. Writing style appropriate to journals in psychology 

>>REMEMBER<< You may have an otherwise acceptable project but if you have not followed the guidelines given above, you may receive a grade that is lower than you expect. Check your report using the ten factors listed above. Omitting even one will result in a lower grade than the remainder of the report may deserve. 

Grading: You will receive an A if you accumulate 90% of the total possible points for the semester; likewise, a B for 80%; a C, 70%; and a D, 60%. The points will be distributed approximately as follows: 

Unit tests
300 points (approx.)
Final test
80 points (approx.)
150 points (approx.)
Weekly journal
150 points (approx.)
Research area
10 points
Specific topic
10 points
Journal articles
15 points
Project materials
10 points
10 points
Research project 
50 points

Tentative Schedule and Topic Outline 

Jan 20, 22
Ch 1 Introducing Social Psychology
Jan 24, 27, 29
Ch 2 The Self in a Social World
Jan 31, Feb 3, 5
Ch 3 Social Beliefs & Judgments
Feb 7
Chs 1-3
Feb 10, 12(1)
Ch 4 Behavior and Attitudes
Feb 14, 17
Ch 5 Social Cognition
Feb 19, 21
Ch 6 Gender, Genes, and Cultures
Feb 24
Chs 4-6
Fb 26, 28, Mr 3
Ch 7 Conformity
Mar 5, 7, 10
Ch 8 Persuasion
Mar 12, 14, 24
Ch 9 Group Influence
Mar 26
Chs 7-9
Mar 31, Ap 2
Ch 10 Social Psychology in Court
Apr 4, 7, 9
Ch 11 Prejudice
Apr 11, 14, 16
Ch 12 Aggression
Apr 18
Chs 10-12
Apr 21, 23, 25
Ch 13 Attraction
Ap 28, 30, Ma 2
Ch 14 Altruism
May 5, 7
Ch 15 Conflict and Peacemaking
May 9
Ch 13-15
May 15
Thursday, 10-11:50


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Check Course Requirements for assignment due on dates in bold that are not test dates. 

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