Social Psychology - Psyc 310-004

Fall 2005



Instructor:  Dr. Rhonda Swickert

  Office:  55 Coming, room 101          Phone:  953-5046

  E-mail:            Office Hours:  M 9:30 – 11:30 and T 1:00 – 3:00 


Text:  Social Psychology (5th Edition) by Aronson, Wilson, & Akert


Course Description:  The study of social psychology involves applying a scientific approach to understand how our thoughts, feelings, and behaviors are influenced by the presence of actual, imagined, or implied others.  Examples of topics reviewed in the course include:  social influence, social learning, person perception, and group behavior.   


Prerequisites:  Introduction to Psychological Science (Psyc 103)


Course Outline

* These dates are tentative and may be subject to change by the instructor.


DATE                          TOPIC                                                                         CHAPTER                 



23/25               Introduction to Social Psychology                                              1, 2

30                    Social Cognition                                                                   3



1/6                   Social Cognition (continued)

8                      Exam 1                                                                       

13/15/20          Social Perception                                                                         4

22/27/29          Conformity/Obedience                                                                 8                



4/6                   Group Processes                                                                        9

11                    Exam 2

13                    Prejudice                                                                                    13

18                    Fall Break

20/25               Prejudice (continued) 

27                    Prosocial Behavior                                                                     11                                                    


1/3                   Prosocial Behavior (continued)                                                                                     

8                      Exam 3

10/15               Attraction                                                                                     10

17                    Social Psychology and Health                                          p. 474-503

22                    Thanksgiving Break – no class

29                    Jeopardy Tournament

1                      Make-up Exam Day
13                Final Exam (8:00 – 11:00 a.m.)



Attendance Policy 


Students are expected to come to all classes. However, if a student is absent from class they are still responsible for all content presented during the missed class period. 





There will be four examinations for this course.  Each exam may be comprised of multiple choice, matching, and essay items.  Exams 1-3 will be worth 40 points each.  The Final Exam will be comprehensive and will be worth 60 points.  The student is strongly encouraged to take each exam when it is given.  If you miss an exam you will be responsible for making up the exam on the Make-Up Exam Day which is December 1st.  Make-up exams will be made up exclusively of essay items.  Only one exam can be made up.



Group Discussions


Throughout the semester I will assign questions for group discussion.  These questions will require you to apply your knowledge and understanding of social psychology.  You will be split up into groups comprised of approximately 3 to 4 people.  You will typically have 20 - 30 minutes to address the questions that you have been given.  The group as a whole will receive a grade for the report and this grade will then be applied to each individual’s grade.  The assignments will vary in the points that they are worth.  The total number of points available for group discussions is 30 points.


These discussions serve two purposes.  First, they allow you to get hands-on experience with concepts in social psychology.  Second, they reinforce attendance to this class.  These assignments often revolved around a film or study that is presented just prior to the assignment.  Therefore, YOU HAVE TO BE IN CLASS TO DO THE ASSIGNMENT. 



Homework Assignments


Throughout the semester homework assignments will periodically be made.  The homework will usually involve short answer and essay type questions.  You will be eligible to do the homework only if you are in class the day that it is handed out (unless you have a  documented excuse).  You will be given one week to complete the homework.  Homework may be turned in during class although it will be accepted until 4:00 p.m. on the due date.  If this option is selected the homework should be turned in to Dr. Swickert’s mailbox in the Psychology Office.  Each homework assignment will be worth 10 points. 


Reading Quizzes


You will be quizzed over the reading material on a regular basis.  Quizzes will be made up of multiple choice and matching items.  You must be present at the beginning of class (10:50 a.m.) to be eligible to take the quiz.  While quizzes cannot be made up, you may do an outline of the chapter(s) that the quiz covers to make-up the points.  You will be graded on the comprehensiveness of your outline and the outline must be typed.  Quizzes will vary as to the amount of points that they are worth.  The total number of quiz points possible is 30.



 Extra-Credit:  Current Event Summaries


The principles that you will learn in this class have direct applications in understanding events in the world around you.  You have the option to apply your knowledge of social psychology to obtain extra-credit points by writing current event summaries.  These summaries will involve using social psychological principles to explain current events found in the larger social arena (the media). 


In your summary of the current event you will need to provide descriptive information about the event, define the psychological concept(s) or principle(s) you are using to explain the event, and then use the concept(s) to explain the event.  It is important that you explore all potential social theories in explaining the event you report on and your grade will reflect the thoroughness of your coverage.  Each event that you discuss should be independent, therefore, you should not discuss the same event more than once. 


Each summary should be typed and should be approximately two pages in length.  Include in the summary your source for the current event.  If the event comes from a newspaper or magazine, include the article with your summary.  If the event comes from a television program, cite the program and the date and time it was telecast.  You may complete 3 summaries and each summary is worth 3 points, for a total of 9 points of extra-credit.  The summaries must be turned in according to the following schedule:


Social Psychology Current Event Summary Schedule


September 15 Summary 1 Due

October 13                  Summary 2 Due

November 17              Summary 3 Due


Summaries may be turned in during class although they will be accepted until 4:00 p.m. on the due date.  If this option is selected the summary should be turned in to Dr. Swickert’s mailbox in the Psychology Office.  No summary will be accepted after the due date - No Exceptions.


Review Assignment:  Jeopardy


At the end of the semester I will host a Jeopardy contest.  All members of the class are expected to contribute to this effort and you will be rewarded for your participation with 5 points credit toward your grade.  You may choose to participate in one of two ways: 1) You may volunteer to be a Jeopardy contestant, or 2) You may write answers/questions for use in the tournament.  If you choose to write questions you must submit at least 20 questions over any of the material covered in this class.  To illustrate, this is what a question might look like:


In Milgram’s original obedience experiment this percentage of participants obeyed the experimenter completely and administered a 450-volt shock to the “learner.”


What is 65%?


These questions should be typed and are due by November 17th.  November 10th is the deadline for individuals to volunteer for the contestant positions. 



Grade Distribution


                                                                                                            239 - 265                     A

Exam 1-3                                        120                                              234 - 238                     B+

Final Exam                                          60                                            212 - 233                     B

Group Discussion                               30                                            207 - 211                     C+

Reading Quizzes                                30                                            186 - 206                     C

Homework                               20                                            159 - 185                     D

Jeopardy Tournament               5                                            158 and below F


            Total Points                       265