PS301 Social Psychology

for F1L 2006

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Vision Statement: Park University will be a renowned international leader in providing innovative educational opportunities for learners within the global society.


PS 301 Social Psychology


F1L 2006 WT


Negron, Lydia


BS Psychology
MA Human Resources
MA Management

Daytime Phone

660 530-5627


Semester Dates

21 Aug-15 Oct 2006

Class Days


Class Time

4:55 - 7:35 PM

Credit Hours


Aronson, Elliott, The Social Animal, 9th Ed, W. H. Freeman and Co. New York, 2004.

Textbooks can be purchased though the MBS bookstore

Additional Resources:
Supplemental Resource Material List: Psychology Today, Newspaper and magazine articles related to weekly assignments.

McAfee Memorial Library - Online information, links, electronic databases and the Online catalog. Contact the library for further assistance via email or at 800-270-4347.
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Course Description:
( SO 301) A study of the impact of the real or imagined social environment on individuals; particular emphasis is placed on the role of social and cultural influences on individual's thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. 3:0:3

Educational Philosophy:
The facilitator's educational philosophy is one of interactiveness based on lectures, readings, quizzes, dialogues, examinations, internet, videos, web sites and writings. The facilitator will engage each learner in what is referred to as disputatious learning to encourage the lively exploration of ideas, issues and contradictions

Learning Outcomes:
  Core Learning Outcomes

  1. Define key theories and principles relevant to social psychology.
  2. Critically apply social psychological concepts to enhance one's understanding of their own behavior in a societal context.
  3. Identify and critique research methods in social psychology.
  4. Define and contrast key factors relevant in theories of group dynamics, conformity, leadership, obedience, and interpersonal attraction.

Core Assessment:

Literature Review

The purpose of the literature review is for students to research a topic relevant to social psychology, formulate a research question, and conduct a literature review to address their target question. A literature review is not simply a report or an annotated bibliography; a literature review is a summary of the available information on a specific topic organized by common themes, trends or findings.


  • Utilizes a minimum of 6 empirical, peer-reviewed, research articles as the basis of the literature review.
  • Information must be organized, presented and referenced using APA style.
  • Literature review should be approximately 10-12 pages (plus title and reference pages).
  • Includes an explicit section examining multicultural implications, findings, relevance and/or significance.

Link to Class Rubric

Class Assessment:
Two exams, CLO exercise, weekly projects, paper and article presentation.


 Grading Policy

Exams 2@50 pts------100 pts
Projects 8@10 pts------ 80 pts
Attendance 1@40 pts------ 40 pts
Paper 1@40 pts------ -------40 pts

CLO Exercise------------------65pts

Total Possible Points------325 pts

Grade Breakdown:

300-325                A
275-299                B
225-274                C
200-224                D
199 & Below          F

Late Submission of Course Materials:
Classes missed for legitimate reasons (illness, death in family, work assignments, temporary duty) are excusable; however, students must inform the instructor or college office prior to the absence and must make up missed course work. Missed classes due to the taking of ordinary leave or vacation are not considered excused absences.

Classroom Rules of Conduct:
Class participation is expected and will form a part of the final grade. Students are expected to come to all classes and to be on time. Roll will be checked each class meeting. Three unexcused absences are excessive, may be grounds for award of a failing grade for the course and will be reported to the Campus Center Director.

Students are responsible for the content of classroom presentations. If absent, students must obtain class notes from another student.

Course Topic/Dates/Assignments:
Class Meetings/Examination Schedule

Week One:
Read chapter 1 and be ready to discuss the information. Project: Examine several copies of newspapers and magazines, looking for examples of behavior and events that would interest a social psychologist. Does the report contain any explicit and implicit explanations of the behavior being described? If so, do these explanations reflect a "situational" or dispositional" view of the world? What kind of evidence, if any , is presented to support these interpretations? Bring 5 examples to class and be prepared to describe your findings.

Week Two:
Read chapter 2 and be prepared to discuss in class. Project: For one week, carry a pocketsize notebook with you and record examples of conformity as it occurs in everyday life. In keeping this diary, draw upon your own experiences of conformity, as well as your observations of other's responses to social influences. Choose 5 examples from your diary and analyze them from a social-psychological perspective.

Week Three:
Read chapter 3. Project: Collect advertisements of public service messages from various magazines or newspapers, paying special attention to those that seem very persuasive or very unpersuasive. Draw on your knowledge of persuasion tactics, identify the features of these ads that you believe would either maximize or detract from their persuasive impact. (For Example, look at such factors as source credibility and attractiveness, the use of vivid information, one or two sided arguments, the use of fear, and other variables discussed in chapter 3). What kinds of people are the different ads directed toward?  Can you find examples of ads that might succeed with one kind of audience, but could totally backfire with another kind of audience? Why do you think advertisers might risk alienating some audiences rather than presenting a message with universal (or near universal) appeal? Bring 5 examples to class to share with the class.

Week Four:
Read chapters 4 and 5. Project: (chapter 4) Search through newspapers and magazines for "advice" columns in which people ask for help with personal problems or discuss insights about life. Collect 5 examples and conduct an analysis of the kinds of attributions people make when discussing their own behavior and the behavior of others. Also, examine the attributions contained in the columnist's responses. In performing your analysis, draw upon your knowledge of attributional biases discussed in chapter 4. For example, be on the lookout for illustrations of the fundamental attribution error, attributions based on stereotypes, the actor-observer bias, the self-serving bias, etc. Bring  5 examples to class and give a report of your investigation. Project: (chapter 5) For a week, keep a journal of instances in which you find yourself experiencing dissonance and engaging in efforts to reduce it. Refer to chapter 5 to gain some insight into the types of situations that are likely to arouse dissonance and elicit self-justifying thoughts and behaviors. Make a special note of times when you felt dissonance under circumstances that were not covered in the chapter. For each entry in your journal, describe what provoked the dissonance, how it made your feel, and how you reduced it. Finally, if you did not reduce the dissonance in a given situation, do your best to explain why you failed to do so.

Week Five:
Midterm on Monday (chapters 1-5). Read chapter 6. Project: Collect newspaper or magazine articles describing a violent crime or other incident involving aggression. What kinds of attributions concerning the incident are made by the writer, the witness, authorities, or other people quated in the article? What factors are described as having provoked the incident? Does the article contain any explicit or implicit theories regarding the causes of aggression or the solution? Bring 5 articles to class and describe your findings.

Week Six:
Read chapter 7. Project: For one day, make a self-conscious effort to create "self-fulfilling -prophesies" in your encounters with others by treating them as if you believed they were friendly, compassionate, competent, and so forth. Keep a record of how people responded to your behavior. How often did they confirm your expectations, and how did you feel when they did? If and when they didn't, how did that make you feel? In general, what was it like to conduct this "experiment"?

Week Seven:
Read chapter 8. Project: Research on physical attractiveness indicates that people tend to be attracted to and form long-term relationships with others whose level of attractiveness "matches" theirs. Search through copies of your local and regional newspaper for wedding or engagement announcements, which are usually accompanied by pictures of the newlyweds or engaged courples. Look at the pictures of the couples carefully. Is there a tendency for both people to be equally attractive? Bring 5 newspaper clippings to class and relate your findings.

Week Eight:
Read chpter 9. Final on Wednesday (Chapters 6-9). Project: Put together a write-up on your views on this material and prepare to discuss in class.

Academic Honesty:
Academic integrity is the foundation of the academic community. Because each student has the primary responsibility for being academically honest, students are advised to read and understand all sections of this policy relating to standards of conduct and academic life.   Park University 2006-2007 Undergraduate Catalog Page 87-89

Plagiarism involves the use of quotations without quotation marks, the use of quotations without indication of the source, the use of another's idea without acknowledging the source, the submission of a paper, laboratory report, project, or class assignment (any portion of such) prepared by another person, or incorrect paraphrasing. Park University 2005-2006 Undergraduate Catalog Page 87

Attendance Policy:
Instructors are required to maintain attendance records and to report absences via the online attendance reporting system.

  1. The instructor may excuse absences for valid reasons, but missed work must be made up within the semester/term of enrollment.
  2. Work missed through unexcused absences must also be made up within the semester/term of enrollment, but unexcused absences may carry further penalties.
  3. In the event of two consecutive weeks of unexcused absences in a semester/term of enrollment, the student will be administratively withdrawn, resulting in a grade of "WH".
  4. A "Contract for Incomplete" will not be issued to a student who has unexcused or excessive absences recorded for a course.
  5. Students receiving Military Tuition Assistance or Veterans Administration educational benefits must not exceed three unexcused absences in the semester/term of enrollment. Excessive absences will be reported to the appropriate agency and may result in a monetary penalty to the student.
  6. Report of a "F" grade (attendance or academic) resulting from excessive absence for those students who are receiving financial assistance from agencies not mentioned in item 5 above will be reported to the appropriate agency.

Park University 2006-2007 Undergraduate Catalog Page 89-90

Disability Guidelines:
Park University is committed to meeting the needs of all students that meet the criteria for special assistance. These guidelines are designed to supply directions to students concerning the information necessary to accomplish this goal. It is Park University's policy to comply fully with federal and state law, including Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, regarding students with disabilities. In the case of any inconsistency between these guidelines and federal and/or state law, the provisions of the law will apply. Additional information concerning Park University's policies and procedures related to disability can be found on the Park University web page: .


CompetencyExceeds Expectation (3)Meets Expectation (2)Does Not Meet Expectation (1)No Evidence (0)
1, 3, 4                                            
Identifies and incorporates 7 or more empirical, peer-reviewed research articles that directly address the target research question.

Identifies and incorporates 6 empirical, peer-reviewed research articles that are appropriate and relevant for addressing the target research question.

Utilizes 5 or fewer research articles OR fails to utilize empirical, peer-reviewed research articles OR research articles are inappropriate for addressing the target research question.

No references or empirical basis for paper.

1, 3, 4                                            
Literature review provides a cohesive, accurate analysis of the target question by organizing current information into logical themes, trends and findings; literature review provides a clear portrait of the current research status on the target topic.

Literature review is organized according to common themes, trends and findings that address the target question.

Literature review is presented as a series of unrelated findings/summaries OR literature review does not address the target question OR information fails to show any cohesiveness to topic.

Fails to provide a review of literature; paper is editorial, opinion, or personal reference.

1, 3, 4                                            
Student accurately interprets and presents empirical findings while going beyond the presented information to highlight original gaps, errors, inadequacies or unanswered issues in the research base.

Student accurately interprets and presents empirical findings that correctly address the research question while summarizing reported gaps or inadequacies in the research base.  

Student inaccurately interprets or presents the empirical findings OR findings do not address the research question OR fails to note any gaps/inadeqacies in the research base.

No relationship between literature review and research question.

1, 4                                               
Student accurately and consistenly utilizes appropriate social psychological concepts that demonstrate a clear understanding of terminology.

Student accurately utilizes social psychological concepts to discuss the research literature.

Student utilizes social psychological terminology inaccurately OR fails to consistently use social psychological terminology.

Utilizes no social psychological terminology.

1, 3, 4                                            
Student proposes an insightful, original research question that utilizes current social psychological information to extend our understanding of humans as social creatures.

Student provides an appropriate researchable question that can be addressed within the scope of social psychology.

Student provides a philosophical or unanswerable question OR utilizes a research question that cannot be addressed from a social psychological perspective.

Fails to provide a research question.

1, 3, 4                                            
Student shows a sophisticated knowledge of research methodology in their ability to critically evaluate the research question; addresses flaws or concerns with the research literature.

Student correctly applies their knowledge of research methodology to interpret and integrate empirical information in relation to their target question.

Student is inaccurate in their application of research methodology OR fails to apply their knowledge to accurately address the target question.

Student unable to understand or interpret research methodology OR fails to apply research knowledge to the review of literature.

Whole Artifact                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             
1, 3, 4                                            
Student utilizes APA style throughout paper with fewer than 3 errors.

Student utilizes APA style for title page, citations, references and overall organization of information; student has 4-6 errors in technical use of APA style.

Student utilizes APA style but has 7 or more errors.

Student fails to use APA style.

1, 3, 4                                            
Body of literature review is 13 or more double-spaced pages, 1-inch margins, 12-point font (title and reference pages are additional)

Body of literature review is 10-12 double-spaced pages, 1-inch margins, 12-point font (title and reference pages are additional)

Body of literature review is 7-9 double-spaced pages, 1-inch margins, 12-point font (title and reference pages are additional) OR missing title/reference page

Body of literature review is less than 6 double-spaced pages, 1-inch margins, 12-point font (title and reference pages are additional)

M/LL Courses                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               
1, 3, 4                                            
Student provides insight beyond what is presented in the literature in examining the multicultural implications, findings and/or significance; highlights awareness of the research question in relation to contemporary issues.

Student accurately addresses the multicultural implications, findings and/or significance of their research question.

Student mentions multicultural implications but fails to elaborate on the implications, findings and/or significance OR student fails to show an accurate understanding of multicultural issues.

No mention of multicultural issues, implications or findings.



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Last Updated:7/23/2006 11:53:32 AM