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Social Psychology



[BSc] HI, PSc, Psyc

Admission Requirements

A similarly tagged 100-level course is preferred.


Humans are social animals. Social psychology addresses how the way we feel, think and behave is influenced by the real or imagined presence of others. Social psychology is related to sociology in this regard, but instead of focusing on group factors such as race and socioeconomic class, it focuses on the individual. Also, it relies on the empirical scientific research to generate theories of social behavior. This course covers social psychological theories and research regarding social cognition, social perception, identity, self-regulation, attitude change, conformity and obedience, interpersonal attraction, prosocial and antisocial behavior, prejudice and stereotyping and everyday social judgment. The theory will be illustrated by everyday examples from domains such as the workplace, consumer behavior, law, the environment, and health.

Course Objectives

The student understands the key concepts of social and organizational psychology and is able to identify their applicability in a range of contexts.

The student:

  • knows the key concepts, approaches, theories and methods that comprise contemporary social psychology.

  • is able to communicate these in valid ways to others, both in speaking and writing.

  • is able to analyze social interactions in terms of social-psychological concepts.

  • is able to explain how his/her knowledge of key concepts, theories and findings of contemporary social psychology has led to greater self understanding and a greater understanding of others and events.

Mode of Instruction

The course consists of 14 meetings which each cover a different topic central to social and organizational psychology. Each meeting begins with a 60 minutes lecture, during which the teacher will discuss the relevant theory. The second half of the meeting, which lasts for 50 minutes, consists of presentations by the students and classroom discussion of the relevant theory in relation to a real-life example. This can be a news-item, commercial, work of art, personal experience, etc.


To be confirmed in course syllabus:

Participation and weekly assignments
As of week 2, each week, students hand in an essay of a real life example of the theory discussed. This can be a news item, a commercial, or a personal experience, etc. The student describes the example and explains how it relates to the theory, or how the theory can explain the phenomenon. Number of words 300 – 500. In addition, students are expected to participate in classroom discussion about the presentations and student assignments.

Percentage of grade: 20%
Learning aim: Interactive engagement with course material
Individual engagement with course readings
Deadline: Ongoing weeks 1-7

As of week 2, each meeting, one or two of the students will give an in-depth presentation of their real life example of the relevant theory. Presentations last for 15 minutes, with an additional 10 minutes for discussion.

Percentage of grade: 20%
Learning aim: Interactive engagement with course material
Individual engagement with course readings
Deadline: Ongoing weeks 1-7

The final exam will consist of a multiple choice test of the assigned literature as well as the theory discussed in the lectures.

Percentage of grade: 60%
Learning aim: Understanding of the course content
Deadline: TBA


Baumeister, R. F. & Bushman, B. (2011). Social Psychology and Human Nature. 2nd edition. San Francisco, CA: Wadsworth.

Contact Information

Weekly Overview

  1. Introduction (week 1)
    Chapter 1: The mission and the method
    Chapter 2: Culture and Nature

  2. Social Cognition (week 2)
    Chapter 5: Social Cognition
    Chapter 6: Emotion and Affect

  3. The Self (week 3)
    Chapter 3: The Self
    Chapter 4: Choices and Action

  4. Attitudes & Social Influence (week 4)
    Chapter 7: Attitudes, Beliefs, and Consistency
    Chapter 8: Social Influence and Persuasion

  5. Prosocial and Antisocial Behavior (week 5)
    Chapter 9: Prosocial Behavior
    Chapter 10: Aggression and Antisocial Behavior

  6. Interpersonal Attraction and Social Rejection (week 6)
    Chapter 11: Attraction and Exclusion
    Chapter 12: Close relationships

  7. Prejudice and Group Dynamics (week 7)
    Chapter 13: Prejudice and intergroup Relations
    Chapter 14: Groups

Preparation for first session

Chapter 1: The Mission and the Method
Chapter 2: Culture and Nature