Psychology 131 Social Psychology

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					                  Psychology 131: Social Psychology
                            Fall 2007

Instructor:           Dr. Tandra Ghose, PhD (
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:
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]
8/30      Th
         Week-2    Research Methods in Social Psychology
 9/4                                                            Formation of groups for class activities
          Tue                Text: Chapter-2
 9/6      Th
         Week-3                Social Cognition                              Assignment-1
          Tue                   Text: Chapter-3                      Social Psych in popular press
9/13      Th
         Week-4               Social Perception               [Debate: Are we rational perceivers of the
          Tue                  Text: Chapter-4                world] due: debate hand ins
9/20      Th
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
10/11     Th
         Week-8            Attitudes & Persuation                           Paper Abstract
          Tue            Text: Chapter-7, 6 (Cog diss)                       due in class
10/18     Th
          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
                                                                               final paper
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!!!
11/22     Thu
         Week-14                Conformity
          Tue                  Text: Chapter-8

                              Group Processes
11/29      Thu
                              Text: Chapter-9

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.

Grading Scheme:
            Midterm Exam         30% (15+15)
            Final Exam           20%
            Paper Abstract       5%
            Paper                15%
            Quizzes              10% (several quizzes)
            Assignments          15% (short paper/debate hand-ins)
            Class Participation 5% (attendance, Q&A )
Grading Scale:
                  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
2-3 stages.
        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
change answers.
Please put   Psy 131 in the subject line of
               EVERY email

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