PS410 Social Influence and Persuasion

for SP 2013

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Mission Statement: Park University provides access to a quality higher education experience that prepares a diverse community of learners to think critically, communicate effectively, demonstrate a global perspective and engage in lifelong learning and service to others.

Vision Statement: Park University, a pioneering institution of higher learning since 1875, will provide leadership in quality, innovative education for a diversity of learners who will excel in their professional and personal service to the global community.


PS 410 Social Influence and Persuasion


SP 2013 HO


Dr. Patricia A. Marsh


Associate Professor of Psychology


Ph.D. Social/Personality Psychology
M.S. Psychology; Graduate Certificate in Occupational Health Psychology
B.S. Psychology

Office Location

Mabee Underground (MA) 208B; across from the Copy Center

Office Hours

MW 10 – 11 AM, M 1 – 3 PM, W 12 – 1 PM, T 4 – 5 PM, or by appointment

Daytime Phone

(816) 584-6880


Web Page

Semester Dates

January 14 – May 10, 2013

Class Days


Class Time

10:10 - 11:25 AM in Mabee Underground—MA 604


PS 101: Introduction to Psychology, and junior or senior standing or permission of the instructor.

Credit Hours



Cialdini, R. B. (2009). Influence: Science and practice (5th ed.). New York, NY: Pearson Allyn and Bacon.

ISBN-13: 978-0-205-60999-4

Textbooks can be purchased through the MBS bookstore

Textbooks can be purchased through the Parkville Bookstore

Additional Resources:

Additional articles will be discussed and accessed through Park University library databases or placed within Doc Sharing within eCompanion.

Social Psychology Network, Persuasion (Social Influence) section:

Park University’s eCompanion will be used with the submission of assignments, announcements, etc. in this course; therefore, students MUST access it on a weekly basis.

APA style (free) tutorial:

The professor will provide additional resources for APA style (6th edition). However, if your intended major (e.g., Communications, Sociology, Psychology, etc.) requires you to learn APA style, then you should purchase the APA Manual (6th edition).

American Psychological Association. (2010). Publication manual of the American Psychological Association (6th ed.). Washington, DC: Author. ISBN-13: 978-1-4338-0561-5 (soft cover)

On reserve in the library:

Myers, D. G. (2010). Social psychology (10th ed.). New York, NY: McGraw Hill.

ISBN-13: 9780073370668

  • A copy of this resource is on reserve in the Park University library (Parkville campus). It can be checked out for a 2-hour period of time but it CANNOT leave the library. To check out this resource, go to the front desk and ask for this book under your professor’s name (e.g., “I would like to check out the Social Psychology book on reserve for Dr. Marsh’s PS410 course”).

Helpful links:

Help with APA style:
Park Online Writing Help:

APA:  (American Psychological Association)
APS: (Association for Psychological Science)

University of Toronto’s How Not to Plagiarize:

LEO—Literacy Education Online:

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:

PS 101, and junior or senior standing or permission of the instructor. This course will examine empirical evidence regarding the impact of social influence on individual behavior. Specifically, addressing the role of compliance, conformity, and obedience in shaping ideas, attitudes, and behavior. 3:0:3

Educational Philosophy:

As a professional in the field of Psychology, I am dedicated to the mission of enhancing students’ learning. I set high expectations for myself and my students in our performance, professional behavior inside and outside of the classroom, and in the ethical and respectful manner in which we interact with each other. Research has shown that learning can be enhanced with activities that generate what Bjork (1994) had called desirable difficulties, because these tasks “trigger encoding and retrieval processes that support learning, comprehension, and remembering” (as cited in Bjork & Bjork, 2011, p. 58). Although learning should be challenging it can also be an enjoyable process. Structure, organization, and details are key elements of my teaching approach along with techniques such as conveying life stories, hands-on activities, “props” (e.g., the self-report surveys), having some flexibility (when there is a need or experience that meets an educational objective), and assignments/tests that require students to demonstrate their comprehension of material covered in the course. 

Because learning is an ongoing process, students receive multiple forms of feedback and opportunities to engage in the learning process throughout the course. People learn at different paces, through different styles, and from different cultural/societal/family experiences. However, because the course is confined by preset start and end dates, students’ strategies for learning the course material will differ and this is to be expected.  

Some students, who seek out additional assistance and/or advising with me, tend to extend the learning process beyond the scope of the course and into their professional development. Learning, mentoring, conducting and applying research, and providing my service to the profession are keys aspects of who I am as a social/personality psychologist. I am also very dedicated and passionate about my career and hope to inspire others to feel that way about their chosen profession. 

Expectations I have for students associated with this course:

Assumed Knowledge & Skills
(i.e., what students have walking into this course)

·        Basic understanding of psychological concepts and theories of behavior. An understanding of social psychological concepts is highly recommended.

·        Some comprehension of research designs, statistical analyses, and findings conveyed in peer-review sources.

·        Intellectual inquiry and skepticism.

·        How to critically read a college level textbook; use of eCompanion; database searchers for academic sources (e.g., use of Park’s library services), and knowledge of university policies.

·        Self-regulation of one’s learning (e.g., taking notes based on your methods of learning, identifying strengths and areas of improvement in your learning endeavors, receiving and incorporating constructive feedback into your learning process); ability to read/access and follow a course syllabus.

Junior/Senior level (assumed because the course is at the 400-level)

·        How to properly cite and reference the source(s) of ideas, concepts, theories, findings, and terminology using APA style 6th edition (e.g., title pages, header and page numbering, main and sub-headings, references page, etc.).

·        Avoid stealing, copying, or taking credit for information that you did not create (i.e., acts of plagiarism).

·        Writing in a professional (non-conversational) manner. Professional writing includes, but is not limited to, the use of complete sentences, clear topic statements and supporting sentences, research or evidenced based rationales instead of unsupported opinions, transition sentences across paragraphs, integrating information from multiple sources, demonstrating multiple applications of critical thinking, and a concluding paragraph.

·        Ability to work collaboratively in teams.

·        Professionalism in one’s behavior and quality of work.

Devoting Time

Students desiring to earn an "A" letter grade in this course will devote on average 6 - 9 hours per week, which includes attending class lectures/discussions. Depending on the number of Assumed Knowledge & Skills have when entering into this course, students may need to devote fewer or significantly more hours to achieve their desired grade in this course. 

  Instructor Learning Outcomes

  1. Students will increase their knowledge of persuasion strategies on human and animal behavior.
  2. Students will demonstrate their ability to make connections among the course content, their personal lives, and applications to societal issues.
  3. Students will enhance their critical thinking and ethical writing skills at an advanced (junior-senior) level.
  4. Students will demonstrate a working knowledge of APA style (6th edition).
  5. Students will enhance their technological skills with Microsoft Word (e.g., Track Changes and Comments) and eCompanion—the course management system (e.g., accessing and submitting assignments, quizzes, accessing grades and other documents, etc.).
Class Assessment:

Unless otherwise stated, assignments are to be completed/submitted/uploaded/turned-in by the start of class (i.e., 10:10 a.m.) as indicated in the schedule portion of the syllabus.


(Grade percentage)


Brief description

Content Mastery Questions

(105 points, 22%)

7 * 15 points

Answer Study Questions—Content Mastery for each chapter. Work must incorporate APA style for short and full citations, and not be plagiarized work. See class schedule later in the syllabus (i.e., Course Topic/Dates/ Assignments) for due dates.


(225 points, 47%)

50 points

75 points

100 points

The exams are incrementally cumulative (Lawrence, 2013) such that course material from Exam 1 will appear on Exams 2 & 3, and Exam 3 will contain questions from Exams 1 & 2 (Roediger & Karpicke, 2006a, b; Roediger, McDermott, & McDaniel, 2011). 

There are only 3 exams. Exam questions may consist of multiple-choice, true/false, matching (i.e., formats that fit onto the bubble sheet provided by the professor). I reserve the right to keep the exams.

Presentation & Discussion

Summary Paper


(100 points, 21%)

30 points

70 points

Presentation & Discussion: Select 1-2 peer-reviewed academic sources discussed in the chapter, similar research conducted by researchers mentioned in the chapters, and/or identified by the professor. One of the articles must be an empirical study (i.e., experimental and control groups, independent and dependent variables, and contain “Method” and “Results” sections. Give a 10 to 12-minute PowerPoint presentation to the class over the article(s), apply content to real-life circumstances, and make explicit links to content within the targeted chapter.

Summary Paper: Write an APA paper (at least 4 full pages) summarizing and evaluating the merits of the empirical study (article) you selected. The paper also needs to explicitly integrate material from the targeted chapter. The title, abstract (if included), and references pages do NOT count toward the page requirement.

Class Activities (article Q & A; Discussion thread assignments, etc.)


50 points (maximum)

Extra Credit

(up to 7% of the 480 possible points)

20 points

(maximum; lack of absences policy)


15 points

(maximum for other opportunities)


In addition to the lack of absences extra credit policy, other opportunities may be possible.






Grades in the course are based on the number of points earned by the last day of class and points earned on the final exam. Adjustments on individual assignments/tests are rare and at my discretion. Adjustments to students’ total points at the end of the semester will NOT occur. For example, if students are 1 point away from the next letter grade, I will not simply move them up one point. I do not know what each student’s total points for the course are until I compile grades at the end of final’s week; therefore it is each students responsibility to keep track of his/her own total points and to increase performance during the semester if additional points are needed for the grade he/she wishes to earn in the course.

Final course grades will be determined as follows:

432 - 480+       A
384 - 431         B
336 - 383         C
288 - 335         D

    < 288           F

Late Submission of Course Materials:

Assignments Eligible for Late Submission & Associated Point Reductions

  • Papers are to be uploaded in the Dropbox within eCompanion as a .doc, .docx, or .rtf file form by the start of class time (i.e., 10:10 a.m.) on the day they are due. Late papers will be subject to a 10-point deduction for each 24-hour period including weekends, holidays, etc.  The 24-hour period starts 2 minutes after the start of the scheduled class time.
  • Point-based class activities can be made up if arrangements have been made with the instructor prior to or on the day of the absence. After 1 week these activity cannot be made up.
  • Exams 1 and 2 can be made up within 1 week of the absence; otherwise they can be made up on the day of the final exam.
  • The PowerPoint presentation (Article Discussion), under extreme circumstances may be able to made-up. Instructor must approve the absence and students MUST provide professional documentation (e.g., funeral pamphlet, doctor’s note, military orders, jury summons, etc.). The opportunity to make up the presentation is NOT guaranteed; therefore a case-by-case judgment will be made.

Assignments NOT Eligible for Late/Make up Policy

  • Content Mastery Question assignments
  • Extra Credit, unless otherwise stated
  • Final Exam; however, exceptions, such as in extreme circumstances, will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.


Classroom Rules of Conduct:

Phone/Pagers: These items are to be placed in the silent, vibrate, or off mode during class. Use of these devices in class (e.g., text messaging) is both rude and disrespectful. At the professors discretion (i.e., decision), students may be subjected to a 25-point deduction in their final course points for each incident.

Drop Policy: In compliance with Park University’s policy. Students will be dropped from the course after two consecutive weeks of unexcused absences. Although faculty/instructors submit attendance on a weekly basis, being dropped is an administrative function of the attendance system and faculty members are not involved in that part of the policy.

Attendance Policy: Students are expected to attend all classes and this reflects expectations once they graduate (e.g., expectations of employers and graduate programs). To encourage the active engage and participation of students, extra credit points will be allotted to students at the end of the course based on their level of attendance throughout the semester. Regardless of the type of absence (i.e., excused vs. unexcused), students with 0 – 2 absences will earn an addition 20 points toward their total course points. Those with 3 – 5 absences will earn 10 points. Those with 6 or more absences will not earn any additional points.

Absences due to representing Park University (e.g., conference presentation, debate, fieldtrip for another class), taking a university test (e.g., exit exam for your major), will count as officially attending. For this policy to be validated, the instructor must be informed at least 24-hours before the start of class and/or have proper documentation (e.g., letter from another professor associated with the university-related event).

Obtaining lecture notes for missed classes is the students’ responsibility, which means contacting a classmate for the notes/materials. If you know in advance that you will miss class on a major due date or for long periods of time, please notify me immediately! Ideally any missed work is completed in advance of the due date. Attendance does NOT mean that you show up to class and read a newspaper or text message your friends. Individuals who exhibit behaviors that the professor considers disrespectful or a hindrance to the learning process will be asked to leave the classroom.

Email policy: Unless I am sick or out of town, I will usually respond to emails within a 48-hour period when regular classes are in session, Monday - Friday. Such policies do not apply during breaks (e.g., spring, summer, fall, or winter breaks), official Park holidays, or during school closings. 

    • Please do not be surprised or upset if you do not receive an immediate response to your emails. 
    • When sending an email to me (or any of your professors), you need to include your first and last name, course name, and the class time. Your professors/instructors teach multiple classes and, in some cases, multiple sections of the same course. Therefore if you wish a professional response then you must provide sufficient information regarding your inquiry and identity.
    • Students MUST use email to ensure I receive your communication; otherwise, I am not responsible for emails lost to the Park’s email spam filter.

Be Respectful (both inside and outside of the actual classroom): As a student in this class, you should know upfront that you will encounter new ideas, topics, images and discussions, which may challenge your worldview. Some students may find this information personally offensive, uncomfortable, distasteful, or upsetting. Because the field of psychology addresses positive, neutral and negative aspects of human and animal behavior, we will discuss a broad range of topics that may not be pleasant for everyone. Please be respectful to your classmates and your instructor(s). Debates on relevant issues are encouraged, however no one should engage in personal attacks inside or outside of the classroom.  

Student BehaviorAt the instructor’s discretion, student behavior deemed disruptive to the educational environment will result in disciplinary action consistent with the university’s academic policy. Consequences of disruptive behavior include, but are not limited to, removal from the classroom and administrative withdrawal of the student from the course.

Students will receive a public warning to cease the activity.  On the second occurrence the student will be instructed to leave the class room. If the student fails to leave the class room, Public Safety Officers (police) will be contacted and the student escorted from the class room.

Office Hours
: Specific times for office hours are listed on the front page. Individual appointments are available upon request. Please take advantage of appointments. These times are set aside so that questions or concerns can be addressed, assistance and resources discussed, or for meetings about your professional development (e.g., academic and career). 

Inclement weather/emergency closings: If we miss a class because of a snow/ice day, the exam schedule will remain as planned in the syllabus. The only exception is if a snow day occurs on an exam day. In that case, the exam will take place on the next day we return to class. 


Course Topic/Dates/Assignments:

I reserve the right to keep this schedule flexible, which means small modifications might occur depending on circumstances throughout the semester. Such announcements are mentioned in class and may be conveyed in Course Announcements within eCompanion.

Unless otherwise stated, assignments are to be completed/submitted/uploaded/turned-in by the start of class (i.e., 10:10 a.m.) as indicated in the schedule portion of the syllabus. Papers and Content Mastery questions MUST be uploaded in the Dropbox within eCompanion as a .doc, .docx, or .rtf file. 

Remember that only one “Article Summary & Discussion” assignment needs to be completed, even though the due dates will be appear multiple times in the syllabus; a separate due date for each discussed chapter.




Activities/Due Dates



Introduction (pp. xi-xii)

Ch. 1: Weapons of Influence




Ch. 1

Due: Content Mastery for Ch. 1



Ch. 1



Ch. 2: Reciprocation: The Old Give and Take … and Take

Due: Ch. 1 Article Summary & Discussion



Ch. 2



Ch. 2



Ch. 2

Due: Content Mastery for Ch. 2



Ch. 2

Ch. 3: Commitment and Consistency: Hobgoblins of the Mind

Due: Ch. 2 Article Summary & Discussion



Ch. 3



Ch. 3

Due: Content Mastery for Ch. 3

Class activity



Ch. 3

Due: Ch. 3 Article Summary & Discussion



Exam 1 (Chapters 1-3)



Ch. 4: Social Proof—Truths Are Us



Ch. 4

Due: Online discussion thread activity [Part 1] for the Nosanchuk & Lightstone (1974) article



Ch. 4

Due: Content Mastery for Ch. 4



Article Q & A in class activity

Due: Online discussion thread activity [Part 2] for the Nosanchuk & Lightstone (1974) article



Spring break/recess

No classes



Spring break/recess

No classes




For Your Information: Friday/Saturday—Great Plains Psychology Convention (Omaha, NE)

At the end of spring break



Ch. 4

Ch. 5: Liking—The Friendly Thief

Due: Ch. 4 Article Summary & Discussion



Ch. 5

Due: Online discussion thread activity; Razran (1938, 1940)



Ch. 5

Due: Content Mastery for Ch. 5



Ch. 5

Due: Ch. 5 Article Summary & Discussion



Ch. 6

Video(s) on authority



Ch. 6

Class activity


4/8 –


For Your Information:

Park’s Student Research and Creative Arts Symposium (Monday – Thursday)




Ch. 6

Due: Content Mastery for Ch. 6



Ch. 6

Due: Ch. 6 Article Summary & Discussion



Exam 2 (Chapters 4-6, 25% added from chapters 1-3)




Ch. 7: Scarcity—The Rule of the Few



Ch. 7

Class activity



Ch. 7

Ch. 8: Instant Influence—Primitive Consent for an Automatic Age

Due: Content Mastery for Ch. 7

Due: Ch. 7 Article Summary & Discussion



Ch. 8

Reminder: Complete the online Student Opinion of Teaching Survey

Paper-based in class course evaluations



Ch. 8

Due: Critical Thinking Questions for Ch. 8

Due: Ch. 8 Article Summary & Discussion

 Remember that only one “Article Summary & Discussion” assignment needs to be completed, even though the due dates will be appear multiple times in the syllabus; a separate due date for each discussed chapter.

 5/7 (T), 10:15–12:15 PM    

  • Final Exam (Chapters 7 & 8, 50% added from chapters 1-6)
  • Make-up exams, if applicable

Full final exam schedule can be found in:

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 students and faculty members are encouraged to take advantage of the University resources available for learning about academic honesty ( or Park University 2011-2012 Undergraduate Catalog Page 95-96

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. from Park University 2011-2012 Undergraduate Catalog Page 95
(Additional) Policy on Cheating/Plagiarism:

Cheating on examinations and/or plagiarism of written material, REGARDLESS OF WHETHER THE ACTS WERE INTENTIONAL OR UNINTENTIONAL, will be handled in a manner consistent with the university's academic honesty and plagiarism policies. Students who are caught cheating, plagiarizing, or (un)knowingly providing false information may be reprimanded with a (a) failure grade on assignments or exams, (b) failure of the course, or (c) potentially other disciplinary actions. Again, these consequences can occur for unintentional, intentional, or other reasons for such acts.

Park University's Resources on Plagiarism: (Learning More about Plagiarism;

University of Toronto's How Not to Plagiarize:

LEO—Literacy Education Online:

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 "F".
  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 2011-2012 Undergraduate Catalog Page 98
(Additional) Attendance Policy:

ATTENDANCE WILL BE COLLECTED DURING THE FIRST 10 MINUTES OF CLASS.  If you are late to class you will be marked late, which will be counted as an Excused Absence and it will count as an absence toward the extra credit points associated with lack of absences; see Course Policies.

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:

References cited in this syllabus

Lawrence, N. K. (2013). Cumulative exams in the introductory psychology course. Teaching of Psychology, 40, 15-19. doi: 10.1177/0098628312465858

Bjork, E. L., & Bjork, R. (2011). Making things hard on yourself, but in a good way: Creating desirable difficulties to enhance learning. In M. A. Gernsbacher, R. W. Pew, L. M. Hough, & J. R. Pomerantz (Eds.), Psychology and the real world: Essays illustrating fundamental contributions to society (pp. 56-64). New York, NY: Worth Publishers.

Roediger, H. L., III, & Karpicke, J. D. (2006a). Test-enhanced learning: Taking memory tests improves long-term retention. Psychological Science, 17, 249-255.

Roediger, H. L., III, & Karpicke, J. D. (2006b). The power of testing memory: Basic research and implications for educational practice. Perspectives on Psychological Science, 1, 181-210.

Roediger, H. L., III, McDermott, K. B., & McDaniel, M. A. (2011). Using testing to improve learning and memory. In M. A. Gernsbacher, R. W. Pew, L. M. Hough, & J. R. Pomerantz (Eds.), Psychology and the real world: Essays illustrating fundamental contributions to society (pp. 65-74). New York, NY: Worth Publishers.



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Last Updated:1/10/2013 11:29:55 PM