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Social Psychology


Admission requirements

None, but Introduction to Psychology is recommended.


Social psychology addresses how the real or imagined presence of others influences the way we feel, think, and behave. Social psychology is related to sociology in this regard, but instead of focusing on processes at the group level, it focuses on the individual. Furthermore, it relies on empirical scientific research to generate theories of social behavior. This course covers social psychological theories and research regarding social cognition, social perception, attitude change, conformity and obedience, group dynamics, interpersonal attraction, prosocial and antisocial behavior, prejudice and stereotyping, and everyday social judgment. It also covers applications of social psychology to work, law, politics, community development and health, and examines how social psychology relates to the major Global Challenges at the center of LUC’s program: Peace & Justice, Sustainability, Prosperity, and Diversity.

Course Objectives

The student understands the key concepts of social psychology and can identify their applicability to a range of real-world phenomena.

More specifically, the student:

  • can recognize, define and explain the key concepts, approaches, theories and methods that form contemporary social psychology, as introduced in the readings and lectures.

  • can communicate these logically, clearly and accurately to others, both in speaking and writing.

  • can analyze specific real-world phenomena by applying the learned social-psychological concepts to them.

  • can explain how his/her understanding of key social-psychological concepts, theories and findings has led to greater self-understanding and a greater understanding of others and events.


Timetables for courses offered at Leiden University College in 2022-2023 will be published on this page of the e-Prospectus.

Mode of instruction

The course consists of 14 meetings (including an introductory meeting of 105 minutes during Week 1), which each week (2 meetings) covering a different theme central to social psychology. Every first meeting of each theme, the teacher will introduce all relevant concepts and theory during a plenary lecture (depending on guidelines, some of these may be converted to web lectures(. Every second meeting of each theme involves interactive presentations by the students and classroom discussion of the relevant theory in relation to real-life situations. These examples of real-life situations can be drawn from news reports, commercials, works of art, or any other observation, as long as the student explains well how the example demonstrates the theory, how the theory helps to understand the example, or how the example contradicts or extends the relevant theory. Students should also relate the example and the theory to at least one of the four Global Challenges at the center of LUC’s program (Peace & Justice, Sustainability, Prosperity, and Diversity). Students who are not themselves presenting hand in a short analysis on the same topic. These analyses may be addressed during the discussion portion of each presentation, so that there will be a platform for interaction between the presenter and the audience. In addition, the presenting students come-up with (an) interactive assignment(s) to engage the rest of the class.

Assessment Method

  • Midterm and final exam (2 × 15%), Weeks 4 and 8

  • Analysis essays (3 × 10%), Ongoing weeks 2-7

  • Presentation + Workshop (2 × 15%), Ongoing weeks 2-7

  • Participation (10%), Ongoing

Reading list

Compulsory literature:

  • Baron, R. A., Branscombe, N. R. (2014). Social Psychology (14th edition). Essex, UK: Pearson.

  • Saguy, T. (2018). Downside of Intergroup Harmony? When Reconciliation Might Backfire and What to Do. Policy Insights from the Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 5(1), 75-81.

  • Knowles, E. D., Lowery, B. S., Chow, R. M., & Unzueta, M. M. (2014). Deny, distance, or dismantle? How white Americans manage a privileged identity. Perspectives on Psychological Science, 9(6), 594-609.

Recommended readings:
Throughout the course, the lecturer will share relevant links and materials via Brightspace (i.e. expert talks, real-life illustrations of the theory, and additional readings). She will also provide material that aids with the fulfilment of the weekly assignments (i.e. tips and suggestions on making a presentation, writing an analysis, examples of good and bad practice, etc.).


Courses offered at Leiden University College (LUC) are usually only open to LUC students and LUC exchange students. Leiden University students who participate in one of the university’s Honours tracks or programmes may register for one LUC course, if availability permits. Registration is coordinated by the Education Coordinator,




Ahead of the first meeting, please read Chapter 1 (Social Psychology - The Science of the Social Side of Life) of the class textbook.