PS301 Social Psychology

for SP 2007

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Mission Statement: The mission of Park University, an entrepreneurial institution of learning, is to provide access to academic excellence, which will prepare learners to think critically, communicate effectively and engage in lifelong learning while serving a global community.

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


PS 301 / SO 301 Social Psychology


SP 2007 HO


Kerkman, Dennis D.


Associate Professor of Psychology/Parkville Campus


B.A. Psychology, University of Kansas, Lawrence, KS
M.S. Psychology, University of Georgia at Athens, GA
Ph.D. Developmental & Child Psychology, Unviersity of Kansas, Lawrence, KS

Office Location


Office Hours

M, F 1:30 - 2:30 p.m.; 3:45 - 5:15 p.m. T, TH

Daytime Phone



Web Page

http:// under construction

Semester Dates

Jan 16 - May 11

Class Days

--M, F--

Class Time

11:00 - 12:15



Credit Hours


Taylor, S. E., Peplau, L. A, & Sears, D. O. (2006). Social Psychology (12th ed.). Pearson Education, Inc., (ISBN 0-13-193281-0.

Textbooks can be purchased through the MBS bookstore

Textbooks can be purchased through the Parkville Bookstore

Additional Resources:

APA Style Guide:


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Course Description:
Study of the effects of social variables on the individual, including areas of group dynamics, conformity, leadership, obedience, and interpersonal attraction.  3:0:3

Educational Philosophy:

FACULTY'S EDUCATIONAL PHILOSOPHY: “Philosophy” is the love of knowledge.  “Education” is the process of guiding people out of ignorance into the light of understanding. “The Liberal Arts” are a set of disciplines that enable students to think critically and communicate effectively so they can understand themselves and the world around them, and how they can act for the purpose of serving a global community.  Studying these arts therefore liberates, or frees students from the constraints of ignorance so they can understand and improve the world around them. To understand the Liberal Arts, one must cultivate certain literacies: analytical and critical thinking, community and civic responsibility, scientific inquiry, ethics and values, literary and artistic expression.  In this course, the primary methods used to cultivate the literacies are: (1) learning by inquiry, reflection, and interaction (the Socratic Method of guided questioning in group discussions), (2) learning by experience (readings, lectures, demonstrations, videos, internet and other presentation media), and (3) learning by doing (hands-on interaction with the environment (e.g., collecting of one's own research observations).  The Socratic Method will be used in the form of “Discussions” to cultivate the development of analytic and critical thinking, community and civic responsibility, and ethics and values by guided questioning in group discussions of perennial themes and controversies (e.g., nature vs. nurture), and current events (e.g., political campaigns, obedience to authority versus personal conscience, the validity of eyewitness testimony, etc.).  These discussions frequently focus on issues with direct implications for community and civic responsibility. They also highlight cultural diversity issues and ethical and value judgments.  Scientific Inquiry will be directly addressed through reading assignments, lectures, and hands-on assignments for learning how to collect and summarize the student's own observations of naturally occurring human behavior.
Please note: Social Psychology is about how people get along with or do not get along with other people.  This topic is inherently controversial (e.g., politics, religion, wars).  We all have very dearly held beliefs and attitudes.  No one likes to consider, much less admit, that they might be wrong, especially in the ways that that think and feel and act toward other people.  However, in order for us all to make progress toward being more educated, rational human beings, we must consider points of view other than our own, and we must be willing to dispassionately and objectively consider points of view other than our own, being sufficiently open-minded to acknowledge the fact that we might be wrong.  A university is first and foremost a place for the free and frank exchange of ideas.  The founding father of Western philosophy, Socrates, the Athenian, devised a method for getting people to examine their beliefs and points of view other than their own, which has come to be known as “The Socratic Method”.  Socrates said that he didn't know anything for certain, all he had were lots of questions.  He asked his students questions that made them seriously re-consider and even doubt the validity of their most dearly held beliefs about themselves and others.  This can be rather uncomfortable, because no one likes to consider the idea that they might be wrong.  In fact, Socrates' questions made the citizens of ancient Athens so uncomfortable that they voted to have Socrates stoned to death for allegedly “corrupting the youth of the city” by encouraging the young people of the city to question their parents' most dearly held beliefs.  Rather than be stoned to death, Socrates committed suicide.  I have no desire to be stoned to death or to commit suicide, but I do want all of us to become more balanced and rational and objective in our knowledge how people feel, think, and act, and do or do not get along with each other.  
So, I am going to tell you in advance that I will intentionally challenge some of your beliefs and you also are free to challenge mine, so long as we all understand that we are doing this for the purpose of helping each other gain a more balanced and rational understanding of ourselves and each other.  No one is perfect, and that from time to time all of us have been wrong.  In this class, we will all have to be open-minded enough to consider the possibility that some of our thoughts and feelings and attitudes toward other people might be wrong, and we have to be forgiving enough to accept the fact that when someone challenges our beliefs, he or she is doing so for the purpose of trying to understand our point of view and helping us to understand points of view other than our own.  This will be much easier said than done, but it is the oldest and still the best way of teaching that I know.  
Notice: If you do not feel comfortable with the idea of having your beliefs challenged, then you should drop this course immediately.

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:
1. To assess the students' achievement of Course Objective #1, performance on the objective, multiple-choice examinations will be evaluated.
2. To assess the students' achievement of Course Objective #2, students' resolutions to the Discussions on these topics will be evaluated.
3. To assess students' achievement of Course Objective #3, students' term papers will be evaluated.  The report should be written according the American Psychological Association's Publication Manual (5e) and submitted via email as a Microsoft Word document.  (See handout for the exact specifications and form for this assignment.) The research reports will be worth a maximum of 100 points and will be scored by the instructor as follows: written proposal = 19 points, written report = 81 points.
4. To assess student's achievement  of Course Objective #4, students' performance on specific discussions that directly address these issues will be evaluated. Note: These discussions will not be announced in advance.  They are like pop quizzes.  They cannot be “made-up”.  This is one more reason that you should attend class every day.


Discussions: 4 @ 10 points each – lowest = 30 points.
Exams: 4 @ 50 points = 200 points.
Term paper: 1 @ 100 points (19 proposal + 81 paper)=100 points.
Total Points = 330 points.
330-297        A
269-264        B
263-231        C
230 -198       D
197-0            F
Note: Grades will not be rounded. 264 points is a “B”, but 263 points is a “C”.  I have to draw the line somewhere, so I'm doing it now and telling you in advance.  This will not change.  Please don't ask :).

Late Submission of Course Materials:

All assignments are due at the beginning of class on the day when they are due (see schedule, below).  Late term paper proposals or reports will be penalized 10% for each weekday or portion thereof that the assignment is late.  In-class discussion summaries cannot be made up.  Those who are absent on days when we have a discussion will receive zero (0) points for that discussion.  However, everyone's lowest discussion score will be dropped.

Classroom Rules of Conduct:

1. Computers make writing and revising much easier and more productive.  Students must recognize though that technology can also cause problems.  Printers run out of ink and hard drive crash, emails bounce back, and servers go down.  Students must be responsible for planning ahead and meeting deadlines in spite of technology.  Be sure to save copies of your work to disk, hard drive, sent email folder, and print out paper copies for backup purposes.  
2. The instructor reserves the right to assign student seating as he deems necessary.  
3. Students who arrive late should sit only in the seats designated by the instructor for ‘late arrivals and early departures.”  Remember: those who arrive after their names have been called will be counted as absent.  No one may start to take an exam after the first person is finished and leaves the room.
4. Students who have a serious reason for needing to leave class early must obtain permission from the instructor and sit in one of the late arrival/early departure seats, so as to minimize disruption of the class's lectures, discussions, or presentations.
5. Make-ups for exams will be given only to those who have notified the instructor BEFORE the regularly scheduled time for that exam.
6. A university must be first and foremost, a place for the free and frank exchange of ideas.  The pursuit of academic excellence can only take place in an atmosphere of mutual respect.  We all have the right to use logic and evidence to disagree with each other's positions, but none of us has the right to make derogatory or harassing statements or actions against any other member of this class.  The only thing I will not tolerate in this class is intolerance or disrespect for others.
7. Student misconduct during classes will not be tolerated.  Students who, in the judgment of the Instructor, behave in a way that is disruptive or disrespectful to the instructor or other students will have their semester grade reduced by an amount to be determined by the instructor.  They may also face disciplinary action as provided under the terms specified in the Park University Catalog.

Course Topic/Dates/Assignments:

Jan 19 Chapter 1: History, theories, and methods.
Jan 22, 26 Chapter 2: Person Perception
Jan 29, Feb 2 Monday - LABOR DAY - NO CLASSES!
Friday - Chapter 3: Social Cognition.
Feb 5, 9 Chapter 4: The Self. Friday - Proposals Due.
Feb 12, 16 Monday Finish Chapter 4. Friday - Exam 1 (Chap 1-4, lectures, videos).
Feb 19, 23 Chapter 5: Attitudes & Attitude Change.
Feb 26, Mar 2 Chapter 6: Prejudice.
Mar 5, 9 Chapter 7: Social Influence. Friday - Exam 2 (Chap 5-7 Lectures, videos).
Mar 12, 16 Spring Break!! No classes.
Mar 19, 23 Chapter 8: Interpersonal Attraction.
Mar 26, 30 Chapter 9: Personal Relationships.
Apr 2, 6 Chapter 10: Groups.
Apr 9, 13 Chapter 11: Gender. Friday - Exam 3(Chap 8-11, Lectures,videos).
Apr 16, 20 Monday Chapter 12: Helping, Term papers Due.
Apr 23, 27 Chapter 13: Aggression.
Apr 30, May 4 Chapters 15, 18: Social Psychology & Law. Health Psychology
Dec 11 - 15 Final Exam Week. Exam 4. Chaps 12,13,15, 18 Lectures, videos. Check University Website for Schedule of Final Exams.

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 2006-2007 Undergraduate Catalog Page 87
Listing a reference in the References Section of your paper is NOT sufficient.  If you use more than 5 consecutive words that someone else wrote, you must put in quotes and list the author's name, year published, and page number, or else it is plagiarism (APA Style rule).

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 "W".
  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: .

Additional Information:

Scores on the term paper: The term paper is the "Core Assessment Assignment" fore this class.  In order to meet the university requirements that the Core Assessment Asignment must (a) count for at least 20% of the semester grade, and (b) must be scored according to the "Core Assessment Rubric" (see below), your score for each of the 9 "Competencies" will be multiplied by 3.  For example, a perfect score for "Synthesis" is 3 X 3 = 9.

Why? Because there are 9 competencies.  Each of which is worth a maximum of 3 points.  9 X 3 = 27. HOWEVER, 27 is less than 20% of the total points in this course.  If we multiply 27 time 3, we get 81, which is 24% of the total points availiable in this course.  To get the whole thing to add up to 100 points, I decided that the proposal would be worth 19 points and the paper itself would be worth the other 81.  So, if you get a perfect score on "Synthesis" you will get 3 X 3 = 9 points for that. If you get 2 on this part of the rubric, then you get 2 X 3 = 6 points for Synthesis, etc.

Don't worry.  If you follow the instructions, you'll be fine.

PS301 Term paper Assignment.doc

PS301 Term paper Proposal.doc

PS301 Sample Term paper.doc


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:1/18/2007 7:35:44 AM