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Social and Organisational Psychology



Psyc, HI

Admission Requirements

Similarly tagged 100-level and 200-level courses. Students that do not meet this prerequisite should contact the instructor regarding the required competencies before course allocation.


Social psychology addresses how the way we feel, think and behave is influenced by the real or imagined presence of others. Social (and organizational) 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 and organizational psychological theories ands research regarding social cogniton, social perception, self-regulation, attitude change, conformity and obedience, group dynamics, interpersonal attraction, prosocial and antisocial behavior, prejudice and stereotyping and everyday social judgment. It covers also applications of social psychology to work, law, politics, community development 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 13 meetings (including an introductory meeting), 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, or personal experience.


Participation and weekly assignments
For each meeting, 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 500 – 600. In addition, students are expected to participate in classroom discussion about the presentations and students’ assignments.

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

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: 30%
Learning aim: Interactive engagement with course material / Individual engagement with course readings
Deadline: Ongoing weeks 1-7

The midterm and 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: 2 × 25%
Learning aim: Understanding of the course content
Deadline: May 7th 11.00 and TBA


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

Contact Information

+31 (0)71 527 1362 / dillenlfvan@fsw.leidenuniv.nl

Weekly Overview

Please identify the topic or theme for each week of the course. N.B. Teaching weeks run from Week 1 to Week 7, followed by a reading week – Week 8, when there are usually no classroom hours

  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 2)
    Chapter 3: The Self
    Chapter 4: Choices and Action

  4. Attitudes (week 3)
    Chapter 7: Attitudes, Beliefs, and Consistency

  5. Social Influence (week 3)
    Chapter 8: Social Influence and Persuasion

  6. Prosocial Behavior (week 4)
    Chapter 9: Prosocial Behavior

  7. Antisocial Behavior (week 4)
    Chapter 10: Aggression and Antisocial Behavior

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

  9. Prejudice and Intergroup Relations (week 6)
    Chapter 13: Prejudice and intergroup Relations

  10. Groups (week 7)
    Chapter 14: Groups

  11. Social Psychology and the Workplace (week 7)
    Application Module C

  12. Social Psychology and the Law (week 8)
    Application Module D

  13. Social Psychology and the Environment (week 8)
    Application Module E

Preparation for first session

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