Psychology 131: Social Psychology
Instructor: Dr. Tandra Ghose, PhD (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Office Hours: 12:00-2:00; Wednesday and by appointment
Office: COB 360
Course Time: Tuesday Thursday, 10:00 am - 11:20 am
Location: Classroom 113
Course website: XXX
Textbook: Social psychology, 6th Edition by Aronson, Wilson, & Akert
Text website: http://wps.prenhall.com/hss_aronson_socpsych_6
Readings: Other readings may be assigned in lecture
Course Introduction: Social psychology is the scientific study of how our thoughts,
feelings, and behaviors are influenced by the actual, imagined, or implied presence of
others. This course will look into how the social environment impacts and is impacted by
individual’s thoughts, feelings and behaviors. This course is expected to be very
appealing because what you will learn is readily applicable to your everyday like as a
social being. The topics that will be discussed include stereotypes, prejudice, conformity,
attitudes, persuasion, social perception, aggression, prosocial behavior, and interpersonal
relationships. The main objective of this course is to impart the skills to critically
evaluate information about our social behavior and its impact on our daily lives. In this
course, we discuss the current methodologies used to study social psychological
principles, theories and constructs.
The things that you learn in this course will allow you to start to address interesting and
important questions like:
- How do we efficiently use our cognitive facilities for social interactions?
- How accurately can we understand other people?
- Does culture influence our understanding of the “self”?
- Can attitudes predict behavior?
- Are there any social influences on our “body images”?
- Does the presence of others energize us ?
- What are the traits of a good leader?
- Can we define love?
- Why do we help/hurt people?
- What causes prejudice?
- Can the principles of social psychology improve our quality of life?
All of these questions have practical implications for our daily lives and often our
professional lives. The main goal of this course is to give you a foundation of knowledge
in social psychology and the skills to evaluate new information as it emerges. Should you
believe in folk wisdom such as “Absence makes the heart grow fonder"? How do you
know whether such wisdom is scientifically valid? What are the implications of the such
statements for you? You will begin to learn how to evaluate such results in this course.
Course Plan – Psychology 131
Date Day Topic Due
Week-1 Introduction & History
Tue Text: Chapter-1 [Intro & Index Card]
Week-2 Research Methods in Social Psychology
9/4 Formation of groups for class activities
Tue Text: Chapter-2
Week-3 Social Cognition Assignment-1
Tue Text: Chapter-3 Social Psych in popular press
Week-4 Social Perception [Debate: Are we rational perceivers of the
Tue Text: Chapter-4 world] due: debate hand ins
9/25 Review [Q&A]
9/27 Thu EXAM-1
10/2 Week-6 Social Perception
10/4 Thu Text: Chapter-4
Week-7 The Self [Debate: Interracial relationships]
Tue Text: Chapter-5 due: debate hand ins
Week-8 Attitudes & Persuation Paper Abstract
Tue Text: Chapter-7, 6 (Cog diss) due in class
Tue Interpersonal Attraction & Relationships
10/25 Th Text: Chapte
Week-10 Interpersonal Attraction & Relationships [Discussion:
Tue Text: Chapter-10 Attraction strategies used in personal ads? ]
11/1 Th due: hand ins
Paper draft due (optional)
11/6 Review The draft is expected to be very close to the
11/8 Thu Exam2
Week-12 Need to Justify Actions
11/13 Paper Due in class
Tue Text: Chapter-6
11/15 Thu Group activity (review) Questions due in class
Tue Happy Thanksgiving!!!
Tue Text: Chapter-8
12/4 REVIEW [Q&A]
12/6 Thu FINALS
Class Attendance: Attendance will not be taken in lecture or sections. However,
attendance is expected and highly encouraged. Quizzes and exams will be conducted
during class and cannot be made up. Some material that is covered in class is not in the
book. This material WILL BE covered on exams. If you miss a lecture, please consult
with classmates and/or visit office hours to catch up.
Midterm Exam 30% (15+15)
Final Exam 20%
Paper Abstract 5%
Quizzes 10% (several quizzes)
Assignments 15% (short paper/debate hand-ins)
Class Participation 5% (attendance, Q&A )
Grade Range Grade Range
A+ 97% & above C+ 77% to 79.9%
A 92% to 96.9% C 72% to 76.9%
A- 90% to 91.9% C- 65% to 71.9%
B+ 87% to 89.9% D+ 60% to 64.9%
B 82% to 86.9% D 50% to 59.9%
B- 80% to 81.9% F below 50%
Expectations/What you need to learn: This course is about learning how to evaluate
evidence about human behavior and mental processes AND learning sufficient
background material to do that task well. Thus, exams and assignments will assess both
your ability to evaluate evidence and to remember scientific facts that have been covered.
Thus, you must remember particular experiments and their results and implications.
Exams: Exams will consist of a mixture of multiple choice, and fill-in-the-blank/short
answer questions. Multiple quizzes during the semester will help to prepare you for the
format and style of exam questions.
Paper: The paper assignment is a chance for you to study in depth a topic of interest in
cognitive neuroscience. It must be 5 pages in length, double-spaced, with 12 point Times
New Roman font, with standard margin sizes. The paper assignment will be completed in
Stage 1: The Abstract – The purpose of this stage is for you to propose a topic
for your paper and provide some references on which you will base the paper. It
consists of (1) one paragraph (about 300 words) describing the thesis of your
paper. (2) A list of references that will be used in the paper. No credit will be
given for late submissions, but this step must be completed. If you have any
questions about whether an article meets these standards, you should ask the
instructor ahead of time. Due at the beginning of class, Thursday, Oct 18.
Stage 2: Draft (optional) – This is a draft version of the paper. Your paper will
be read by the instructor and feedback will be given. You may submit a draft on
the due date as an attempt to maximize your score on the final paper. Late drafts
will not be accepted. Due at the beginning of class, Thursday, Nov 1.
Stage 3: Final Paper – The final, edited (based on feedback from instructor)
paper. This paper will be graded in full by the instructor. There will be a 25%
penalty for papers turned in one day late. No papers will be accepted more than 1
day late. Due at the beginning of class, Tuesday, Nov 12.
More information about the paper will be presented later during the semester.
Quizzes: There will be multiple quizzes either during lecture or during the discussion
section. The main purpose of each quiz is to be a self-diagnostic tool and hopefully it will
give you incentive to keep up with the reading. The lowest quiz score (s) will be dropped.
No make up quizzes will be given.
Class participation: You cannot pass the course if you miss more than 2 group
activities. 5% of your grade will be based on your attendance and active participation in
the sections. You are expected to ask questions in the sections and participate in
Course Objectives: By the end of the course you should :
• Be conversant (preferably fluent) with the main concepts, theories and issues in
the field of social psychology,
• Be able to describe the research methods used to collect information about our
social behavior, the strength and weaknesses of each method and how to interpret
the data collected using these methods.
• Be able to use apply knowledge of social psychology to everyday life.
• Be able to critically evaluate the claims concerning social behavior in news
reports, commercials and daily conversation.
• Be able to write summary of the research on a particular psychological aspect
such as, peer pressure and drug addiction, using schemas in a new study aid, and
draw conclusions as to the most valid interpretation of the data available.
Cheating/Plagiarism: Academic dishonesty will not be tolerated. UC Merced’s outlines
your rights and responsibilities regarding academic honesty policy, the details can be
All scored exams will be photocopied before being returned to you to prevent attempts to
Please put Psy 131 in the subject line of