PS301 Social Psychology

for S1J 2008

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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 Social Psychology


S1J 2008 IN


Wiggins, Cleon


Senior Adjunct Faculty


A.A. Administration Management
B.S. Criminal Justice Administration
M.A. Sociology

Office Location

Independence Campus, 291 Highway & 23rd Street, Indep., MO

Office Hours

5:30 - 9:50 on the nights I teach

Daytime Phone


Other Phone



Semester Dates

January 14th 2008 - March 9th 2008

Class Days


Class Time

5:30 - 9:50 PM

Credit Hours



Social Psychology, 11th edition, Robert A. Baron, Donn Byrne, and Nyla R. Branscombe, published: Allyn and Bacon 2006 

Textbooks can be purchased through the MBS bookstore

Textbooks can be purchased through the Parkville Bookstore

Additional Resources:

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:
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 inter-activeness 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:


The assessment plan for this course will consist of the following:

A Mid-term exam to cover chapters 1-6 (plus related videos, handouts, lecture materials, power point presentations, etc.)

A final exam to cover chapters 7 through 11 and Modules A and B (plus related videos, handouts, lecture materials power point presentations, etc.)

A literature review.  The literature review is due on the 7th week of class.  Students must clear their topic question with the instructor before starting work on this assignment.

Weekly in-class presentations.  Students are responsible for bringing in a news story related to the week's subjects and sharing the story with the class.  This is an informal presentation made by the student on a story of their choosing.  These presentations, for weeks 2 through 7, will take place at the beginning of each class.  Students must also submit support material to the instructor, i.e., newspaper article, magazine article, web address, etc.  Students not in class be for the last presentation is given may not give their presentation for that week (unless ok'd by the instructor), and will lose the points for that week.  Students arriving late may not turn in their support material for credit.

A group presentation.  The class will be divided into groups.  On the 7th week of class, each group will make a presentation on a relevant social psychological topic.  Each student in the group is expected to participate equally in the presentation and students will be graded by the instructor on their own work within the group.

Attendance and participation.  Students will be awarded points for attending classes and for participating in class.  Attendance points will be awarded when students arrive to class no later than 15 minutes after class begins and leaves no sooner than 15 minutes before class ends.  Students will receive participation points for each class when the student asks and/or answers relevant questions in class, or make contributions to the discussions taking place in class.



Literature review:                       250 points

Mid-term exam                          200 points

Final exam                                  200 points

Weekly in-class presentations      120 points

Group in-class presentation           50 points

Attendance and participation         80 points

Total points possible for the course   900 points

90% of 900 points (810 points) = A

80% of 900 points (720 points) = B

70% of 900 points (630 points) = C

60% of 900 points (540 points) = D

59% or less of the 900 points possible = F

This grading scale will be used on all assignments.

Late Submission of Course Materials:

Any material turned in late will receive an automatic 15 point per day reduction before it is graded unless prior arrangements have been made with the instructor. The 15 point per day point reduction will occur prior to the assignment being graded.  Students should not e-mail assignments to the instructor with the understanding that the assignment will not receive the 15 point per day reduction unless the instructor has given permission for the assignment to be e-mailed.  Otherwise, the student may only assume that the assignment was not turned-in when it was due and will be assessed the 15 point per day reduction, even if it was e-mailed to the instructor.  Any student who gives their assignment to another student to turn in for them is still responsible for their assignment reaching the instructor when it is due.  If the assignment does not reach the instructor when it is due, it will be assessed a 15 point per day reduction.   

Classroom Rules of Conduct:

All material must be type written.  The instructor will not accept diskettes in lieu of the hard copy.  It is acceptable to disagree with ideas, opinions, comments, and points of view expressed by others.  However, it is never acceptable to attack anyone verbally for their opinion, comment, ideas, beliefs, etc.  Under no circumstance will any electronic recording device, audio or video, be permitted to be on in the classroom during class session or during break without the instructors permission.  This includes telephones with audio and/or visual recording capabilities.

Course Topic/Dates/Assignments:

Week #1 - January 16th - Instructor's welcome; student introductions; review of syllabus and course outline. Week one's lecture will cover chapters 1 and 2. The focus in chapter one will be understanding what social psychology is, who some early social psychologists were and their contributions to the discipline, the role of social psychology in our society today, and research methods. In chapter 2, the lecture will focus on understanding schemas, and social cognition. Handouts are scheduled for this class session.
Week #2 - January 23rd - Student's presentation. The lecture in week 2 will cover chapters 3 and 4. In chapter 3, the focus will be on attribution - understanding the causes of others' behavior. The lecture will also focus on attitude formation and cognitive dissonance from chapter 4. A discussion of the previous week's handouts, a video and another handout are scheduled for this session. Time allotted to work on group presentation.

Week #3 - January 30th - Student's presentation. The lecture for week 3 will focus on chapters 5 and 6. In chapter 5 the lecture will concentrate on self-esteem and attitudes towards the self. The lecture will take a look at the relationship between self-esteem and biases. The lecture on chapter 6 will look at the subject of prejudice, the cause, effects and cures from a historical perspective, and will examine a variety of prejudices in society today. A discussion of the previous week's handout, a video and handout are scheduled. Time allotted to work on group presentation. Review for mid-term exam next week.

Week #4 - February 6th - Mid-term exam The mid-term exam is a timed exam. Students arriving late will not have any additional time to complete the exam unless approved by the instructor. Student's presentation. Lecture to cover chapter 7. The focus of this lecture will be internal and external determinants of attraction. Handout is scheduled.

Week #5 - February 13th - Student's presentation. The lecture for week 5 will cover chapters 8 and 9 and will concentrate on why it is important from a social standpoint for individuals to have close relationships, and what happens to the social fabric when those relationships are strained and even cease to be. There will be a close review of romantic relationships. The lecture for chapter 9 will examine how social influence can and does change people's behavior. The good and the bad of social influence will be reviewed with an emphasis on compliance. A discussion of the previous week's handout, a video and handout are scheduled.

Week #6 -February 20th - Student's presentation. The lecture for week 6 will cover chapters 10, 11, and 12. Chapter 10 will concentrate on why people are and aren't likely to help someone in need. Chapter 11 will explore human aggression involving a variety of scenarios and variables, to include issues such as gender, age, alcohol and drugs, and education. Chapter 12 will examine the impact of groups on individuals and on society, and vice versa. A discussion of the previous week's handout and time allotted for group presentation.

Week #7 - February 27th - Student's presentation. Literature reviews are due. Group presentations are due. The lecture this week will cover modules A and B.

 Week #8 - March 5th - FINAL EXAM


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 2007-2008 Undergraduate Catalog Page 85-86

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 2007-2008 Undergraduate Catalog Page 85

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.
  3. Work missed through unexcused absences must also be made up within the semester/term of enrollment, but unexcused absences may carry further penalties.
  4. 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 "F".
  5. A "Contract for Incomplete" will not be issued to a student who has unexcused or excessive absences recorded for a course.
  6. 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.
  7. 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 2007-2008 Undergraduate Catalog Page 87-88

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:12/10/2007 1:38:40 PM