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COURSE NAME: "Social Psychology"
SEMESTER & YEAR: Fall 2023

INSTRUCTOR: Merel Keijsers
EMAIL: [email protected]
HOURS: MW 4:30 PM-5:45 PM
PREREQUISITES: Prerequisite: PS 210

The course focuses on the relationship between the individual and society, by examining how people form and sustain their attitudes, beliefs, and values. Students are introduced to current research findings in areas such as leadership and group dynamics, cults, prejudice and racism, aggression, altruism, and love and attraction. A group research project is required.
The course will cover the following topics: methodology of social psychology; social cognition; emotion regulation; self-perception; the formation and alteration of attitudes, norms, stereotypes and biases; group processes, including groups’ influence on conformity and identity; attraction; and the influence of all the aforementioned processes on behaviour. Assessment will happen through two exams (60%), paper reviews (10%), and a group project (30%).
By the end of this course, students should be able to:
- Explain how stereotypes, attitudes, and norms are formed;
- Understand how attitudes, goals, habits, and social norms relate to our concept of the self, others, and the world around us;
- Understand how attitudes, goals, habits, and social norms influence behaviour;
- Explain how the presence and behaviour of others can influence our own cognition and behaviour;
- Identify factors in the environment that promote pro- and antisocial behaviour
Book TitleAuthorPublisherISBN numberLibrary Call NumberCommentsFormatLocal BookstoreOnline Purchase
Social psychology (10th edition) Aronson, E., Wilson, T.D., SommersPearson978-1-292-34151-4 Students can choose to have a hardcopy or ebook   

MidtermA closed-book, in-person midterm exam consisting of open questions.20%
FinalA closed-book, in-person final exam consisting of open questions.20%
Paper review 1 For paper review 1, students have to write a 600-800 words review where they summarise a paper discussed in class, and reflect upon, criticise, or extrapolate from the papers ideas. The assignment consists of three steps: 1) students write the first version of their paper; 2) during an in-class peer review, students review each others papers (up to 5% of the grade can be earned by writing thorough and constructive feedback); 3) students may use this peer feedback to revise their first version; only the second version will be graded (10%)15%
Group projectIn groups of 3-4, students will have to study one of the concepts introduced during the course (e.g. social identity theory, cognitive dissonance, group pressure) and apply it to the case study of Jonestown (discussed in class). The main part of the project is a paper (2000 words; 25% of the course grade); but in preparation of this paper there are a group presentation (10 minutes, 5% of the course grade) and an paper outline, timeline, and task distribution (5% of the course grade). - PRESENTATION: One or more members of the group has to give a 10 minute presentation (8 minutes for presenting, 2 minutes for questions) where they explain how their concept can be applied to the Jonestown case study. In this presentation, students may assume that their peers are familiar with the case study; but they should provide an explanation of their topic as well as a clear analysis on to what extent and how it can be observed in the case study. Feedback from the presentations should be taken into account for the final paper. - OUTLINE: The outline should provide a skeleton outline of the paper, a task distribution, and a timeline; it is due three weeks before the group paper. A template will be posted on Moodle. It will be graded based on completeness and level of detail. - GROUP PAPER: The paper should be around 2000 words, excluding a minimum of 5 scientific references. In this paper, have to introduce the case study, introduce and explain the concept that they will apply to the case study, and re-interpret the case study from the paradigm of that concept. 35%
Paper review 2For paper review 2, students have to write a 600-800 words review where they summarise a paper discussed in class, and reflect upon, criticise, or extrapolate from the papers ideas. Unlike review 1, there is no official peer feedback session included in this assignment, though students are encouraged to ask each other for feedback. 10%

A(90-100%) Work of this quality directly addresses the question or problem raised and provides a coherent argument displaying an extensive knowledge of relevant information or content. This type of work demonstrates the ability to critically evaluate concepts and theory and has an element of novelty and originality. There is clear evidence of a significant amount of reading beyond that required for the course.
B(80-89%) This is highly competent level of performance and directly addresses the question or problem raised.There is a demonstration of some ability to critically evaluatetheory and concepts and relate them to practice. Discussions reflect the student’s own arguments and are not simply a repetition of standard lecture andreference material. The work does not suffer from any major errors or omissions and provides evidence of reading beyond the required assignments.
C(70-79%) This is an acceptable level of performance and provides answers that are clear but limited, reflecting the information offered in the lectures and reference readings.
D(60-69%) This level of performances demonstrates that the student lacks a coherent grasp of the material.Important information is omitted and irrelevant points included.In effect, the student has barely done enough to persuade the instructor that s/he should not fail.
F(below 60%) This work fails to show any knowledge or understanding of the issues raised in the question. Most of the material in the answer is irrelevant.

You cannot make-up a major exam (midterm or final) without the permission of the Dean’s Office. The Dean’s Office will grant such permission only when the absence was caused by a serious impediment, such as a documented illness, hospitalization or death in the immediate family (in which you must attend the funeral) or other situations of similar gravity. Absences due to other meaningful conflicts, such as job interviews, family celebrations, travel difficulties, student misunderstandings or personal convenience, will not be excused. Students who will be absent from a major exam must notify the Dean’s Office prior to that exam. Absences from class due to the observance of a religious holiday will normally be excused. Individual students who will have to miss class to observe a religious holiday should notify the instructor by the end of the Add/Drop period to make prior arrangements for making up any work that will be missed. The final exam period runs until ____________
As stated in the university catalog, any student who commits an act of academic dishonesty will receive a failing grade on the work in which the dishonesty occurred. In addition, acts of academic dishonesty, irrespective of the weight of the assignment, may result in the student receiving a failing grade in the course. Instances of academic dishonesty will be reported to the Dean of Academic Affairs. A student who is reported twice for academic dishonesty is subject to summary dismissal from the University. In such a case, the Academic Council will then make a recommendation to the President, who will make the final decision.
John Cabot University does not discriminate on the basis of disability or handicap. Students with approved accommodations must inform their professors at the beginning of the term. Please see the website for the complete policy.


Week 1  Introductions Chapter 1
Week 2  Methodology Chapter 2; BBC documentary on the Stanford Prison Experiment (30 mins)
 Week 3 Social cognition and perception Chapters 3 and 4
Week 4  The self   Baumeister et al. (2018) paper on ego depletion; Chapter 5
 Week 5 The self and cognitive dissonance Sinclair et al. (1994) on the misattribution of arousal; Chapter 6
Week 6 Cognitive dissonance and peer feedback session
Week 7  Self esteem; exam review; (make up day, 20 Oct) midterm For midterm: Chapters 3-6 
 Week 8  Attitude formation and change Chapter 7
Week 9  Conformity; holiday (Wednesday 1 Nov) Chapter 8
 Week 10  Group processes Eisenberger et al. (2006) on social rejection; Chapter 9
 Week 11  Case study: Jonestown  
 Week 12  Attraction and trust Chapter 10; Aron et al. (1997) 
 Week 13 Trust and prosocial behaviour Chapter 11
 Week 14  Prejudice; review Chapter 13
Week 15 Finals week

For final: Chpt 3-11, 13