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Purpose

This course is designed to provide an overview of social psychology and to discuss applications of the material to your everyday life. Research related to cognition, attitudes, persuasion, conformity, dissent, and the power of group situations will be discussed. We will also focus on interpersonal processes with special attention to both pro-social and anti-social behaviors.

 

Reflection

I thoroughly enjoy teaching this course because I learn so much more about the self. This course is certainly one of my top three favorite psychology courses to teach. Firstly, my students educate me about the connections between the self and the social world in the formation of popular beliefs, judgments, behaviors and attitudes. Secondly, we have what is called 'difficult conversations' about stereotypes, prejudice, aggression and discrimination. When we address these topics, students become silent or appear uncomfortable. As their instructor and guide, I inform them that we often do not take the time to talk about these topics. The astonishing revelation students have however is the close connection between those topics, and that every person is a perpetrator and a victim - among groups, in families and intimate relationships. Thirdly, students design a self-project for the class. The project must be based on a goal that was a missed opportunity or a wish. As a result, students are often hesitant to start because they never attained this goal before, or did not believe they could. The best part for me at the end of the semester is to hear students state that (1) they achieved the goal and (2) they did not achieve the goal but recognized that the goal was fake - it represented a false need. As a result, in this class, students do not only learn about the theories of social psychology. They also personally witness the theories 'acting out', as they live to see the results of their own actions on themselves, and society. For example, many of my students choose to exercise to improve their physical health. They recognize starting slowly is essential to building self-efficacy. But they also observe that loved ones who support them in their endeavor helps to get them started. Yet, as they continue to exercise, they see that the results have to belong to them and no-one else - they need to own and praise their success for themselves. The beauty is that when they do know what they need to do, it is a learning accomplishment that is irreplaceable and uplifting.

Syllabus

This is my syllabus. If you need a copy, please contact me.

Evaluations

Here are the evaluations for this class for Spring 2014 and Spring 2015.