Social Psychology

Psychology 355

Spring 2009, GFS 118

Professor: Stephen J. Read


Phone: 213-740-2291

Office: SGM 821

Office hours: MW 10:00-11:30AM

Class: T/Th 2:00-3:50

Teaching Asst.: William Mullane

Email: (primary means of contact)

Phone: (213) 740-2280

Office: SGM 718

Office Hours: By appointment only (Mondays 12:00 – 2:00 pm)

Text: Social Psychology: Unraveling the Mystery (Fourth Edition). Kenrick, Neuberg, & Cialdini (KNC)

Additional Readings: Readings in Social Psychology: General, Classic, and Contemporary Selections (7th Edition) Wayne Lesko (Lesko)

Useful Links: This is a very useful site that provides a large number of links on a variety of different topics in Social Psychology. It also provides information about most of the prominent social psychologists active today, as well as information about graduate school.

Interactive Web Companion. The publisher provides an interactive web companion for this book. It looks quite interesting and should provide a useful way to further your knowledge of Social Psychology.

Course Description

Social Psychology studies how the presence of others, both actual and imagined, affects the thoughts, feelings and behavior of the individual. It is the scientific study of how people interact with one another and the world. This course provides you with a broad and general introduction to a range of theories of social behavior. A sample of the topics that we will be covering include (1) the perception of the self and others, (2) intergroup relations (stereotyping, prejudice, and discrimination), (3) attitudes, persuasion and social influence (conformity, compliance, and obedience), (4) interpersonal attraction and close relationships, (5) antisocial behavior (aggression and violence, (6) prosocial behavior (altruism and helping), and (7) group behavior (cooperation and conflict, leadership).

Course Objectives

·  To gain a broad understanding of major theories and concepts of Social Psychology.

·  To gain knowledge of basic research methodology, concepts and terminology.

·  To gain a broad understanding of how social psychological theory and concepts can be applied in a wide range of everyday settings such as business, law, politics, intergroup relations, and health.

Course Overview



Topics and Readings

January 13,15: / KNC Chapter 1: Introduction to Social Psychology
Lesko Chapter 1: The Field of Social Psychology
1. Epstein, R. (Nov/Dec, 1997). Folk wisdom: Was your grandmother right? Psychology Today, 30, 46-50, 76.
2. Kelman, H. C. (1967). Human use of human subjects: The problem of deception in social psychological research. Psychological Bulletin, 67, 1-11.
3. How to be a wise consumer of psychological research. (2007). American Psychological Association, Office of Public Communications.
January 20,22: / KNC Chapter 2: The Person and the Situation
Lesko Chapter 3: Social cognition
2. Schachter, S.; & Singer, S. (1962). Cognitive, social, and physiological determinants of emotional states. Psychological Review, 69, 379-399.
3. Lambert, T.A.; Kahn, A.S.; & Apple, K.J. (2003). Pluralistic ignorance and hooking up. Journal of Sex Research, 40, 129-
January 27,29: / KNC Chapter 3: Social Cognition: Understanding Ourselves and Others
Lesko Chapter 3: Social cognition
1. Gilovich, T. (March 13, 1997). Some systematic biases in everyday judgment. The Skeptical Inquirer, 21 (2), 31.
Chapter 2: Social perception
1. Flora, C. (May/June, 2004). The once-over: Can you trust first impressions? Psychology Today, 37, 60-66.
2. Kelley, H. (1950). The warm-cold variable in first impressions of persons. Journal of Personality, 18, 431-439.
3. Edelstein, R.S.; Luten, T.L.; Ekman, P.; & Goodman, G.S. (2006). Detecting lies in children and adults. Law and Human Behavior, 30, 1-10.
February 3,5:
Short paper due Feb. 3 /

KNC Chapter 4: Presenting the Self

Lesko Chapter 5: Social identity
1. Snyder, M. (1980). The many me’s of the self-monitor. Psychology Today, 13, 33-40.
2. Bem, S.L. (1974). The measurement of psychological androgyny. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 42, 155-162.
3. Locke, B.D.; & Mahalik, J.R. (2005). Examining masculinity norms, problem drinking, and athletic involvement as predictors of sexual aggression in college men. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 52, 279-283.

February 10:

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Exam 1

February 12,17: / KNC Chapter 5: Attitudes and Persuasion
Lesko Chapter 4: Attitudes
1. Ventura, M. (January/February, 1998). Don’t even think about it! Psychology Today, 31, 32-38, 66, 68.
2. Festinger, L., & Carlsmith, J.M. (1959). Cognitive consequences of forced compliance. Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology, 58, 203-210.
3. Martinie, M.; & Fointiat, V. (2006). Self-esteem, trivialization, and attitude change. Swiss Journal of Psychology, 65, 221- 225.
February 19,24: / KNC Chapter 6: Social Influence: Conformity, Compliance, and Obedience
Lesko Chapter 9: Social influence
1. Zimbardo, P.G. (March 30, 2007). Revisiting the Stanford Prison Experiment: A lesson in the power of the situation. The Chronicle of Higher Education, B6-B7.
2. Milgram, S. (1963). Behavioral study of obedience. Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology, 67, 371-378.
3. Vrij, A.; Pannell, H.; & Ost, J. (2005). The influence of social pressure and black clothing on crime judgments. Psychology, Crime, and Law, 11(3), 265-274.
February 26, March 3:
Short paper due March 3 / KNC Chapter 7: Affiliation and Friendship
Lesko Chapter 7: Interpersonal attraction
1. Levine, M.; & Marano, H.E. (July/August, 2001). Why I hate beauty. Psychology Today, 34 (4), 38-44.
2. Dion, K.; Berscheid, E.; & Walster, E. (1972). What is beautiful is good. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 24, 285- 290.
3. Mishra, S.; Clark, A.; & Daly, M. (2007). One woman’s behavior affects the attractiveness of others. Evolution and Human Behavior, 28, 145-149.
Chapter 14: Forensic psychology
2. Sigall, H., & Ostrove, N. (1975). Beautiful but dangerous: Effects of offender attractiveness and nature of the crime on juridic judgment. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 31, 410-414.
March 5,10: / KNC Chapter 8: Love and Romantic Relationships
Lesko Chapter 8: Close relationships
1. Shulman, P. (March/April, 2004). Great expectations. Psychology Today, 37, 32-42.
2. Hatfield, E.; Walster, G.W.; Piliavin, J.; & Schmidt, L. (1973). “Playing hard to get”: Understanding an elusive phenomenon. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 26, 113-121.
3. Slatcher, R.B.; & Pennebaker, J.W. (2006). How do I love thee? Let me count the words: The effects of expressive writing. Psychological Science, 17, 660-664.
March 12:
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Exam 2

March 17,19:

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March 24,26: / KNC Chapter 9: Prosocial Behavior
Lesko Chapter 10: Prosocial behavior
1. Winerman, L. (December, 2006). Helping others, helping ourselves. Monitor on Psychology, 37, 38-41.
2. Darley, J.M.; & Batson, C.D. (1973). “From Jerusalem to Jericho”: A study of situational and dispositional variables in helping behavior. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 27, 100-108.
3. Piferi, R.L.; Jobe. R.L.; & Jones, W. H. (2006). Giving to others during national tragedy: The effects of altruistic and egoistic motivations on long-term giving. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, 23(1), 171-184
March 31, April 2:
Short paper due March 31 / KNC Chapter 10: Aggression
Lesko Chapter 11: Aggression
1. Yeoman, B. (November/December, 1999). Bad girls. Psychology Today, 32 (6), 54-57, 71.
2. Bandura, A.; Ross, D.; & Ross, S.A. (1961). Transmission of aggression through imitation of aggressive models. Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology, 63, 575-583.
3. Klinesmith, J.; Kasser, T.; & McAndrew, F.T. (2006). Guns, testosterone, and aggression: An experimental test of a mediational hypothesis. Psychological Science, 17, 568-571.
April 7,9: / KNC Chapter 11: Prejudice, Stereotyping, and Discrimination
Lesko Chapter 6: Prejudice and discrimination
1. Monteith, M.; & Winters, J. (May/June, 2002). Why we hate. Psychology Today, 35 (3), 44-50, 87.
2. LaPiere, R.T. (1934). Attitudes vs. actions. Social Forces, 13.
3. Henry, P.J.; & Hardin, C.D. (2006). The contact hypothesis revisited: Status bias in the reduction of implicit prejudice in the United States and Lebanon. Psychological Science, 17, 862-868.
Chapter 14: Forensic psychology
3. Eberhardt, J.L.; Davies, P.G.; Purdie-Vaughns, V.J.; & Johnson, S. L. (2006). Looking deathworthy: Perceived stereotypicality of black defendants predicts capital-sentencing outcomes. Psychological Science, 17, 383-386.
April 14,16:
Short paper due April 14 / KNC Chapter 12: Groups
Lesko Chapter 12: Group behavior
1. Janis, I.L. (January, 1973). Groupthink. Yale Alumni Magazine.
2. Deutsch, M.; & Krauss, R.M. (1960). The effect of threat upon interpersonal bargaining. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 61, 181-189.
April 21,23: / KNC Chapter 13: Social Dilemmas: Cooperation Versus Conflict
Lesko Chapter 12: Group behavior
3. Van Vugt, M.; De Cremer, D.; & Janssen, D.P. (2007). Gender differences in cooperation and competition: The male- warrior hypothesis. Psychological Science, 18, 19-23.
April 28,30:
Short paper due April 28 / KNC Chapter 14: Integrating Social Psychology
Lesko Chapter 13: Business psychology
3. Iyengar, S.S.; Wells, R.E.; & Schwartz, B. (2006). Doing better but feeling worse: Looking for the “best” job undermines satisfaction. Psychological Science, 17, 143-150.
Chapter 15: Health Psychology
1. Deangelis, T. (April, 2007). America: A toxic lifestyle? Monitor on Psychology, 38, 50-52.
3. Bonanno, G.A.; Gales, S.; Bucciarelli, A.; & Vlahov, D. (2006). Psychological resilience after disaster: New York City in the aftermath of the September 11th terrorist attack. Psychological Science, 17, 181-186.

Final Exam:

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Thursday, May 7 2-4 p.m.

Course Grading

2 Midterm Exams 100 points (50 points each)

Final 75 points

Short papers 40 points each

Total 215 points

Each exam will be about 80% multiple choice and 20% essay/short answer. Questions will be drawn from the textbook, the supplemental reader, and lectures.

Missed exams. Do not miss exams. But…

If you are ill, have a death in the family, or another serious, unforeseeable, and unavoidable emergency we will provide you with a means of making up the exam and having the opportunity to earn full credit on the exam. But, you must provide official documentation of this emergency. Official documentation means that you provide full documentation. If ill, I need a letter from your doctor describing the illness or surgery. A form note that states “illness” is not acceptable and will result in you not being able to take the exam (and receiving a zero for that grade). Likewise, if you have a death in your family, you must bring a copy of the death certificate or some other compelling evidence.

If, in the next week, you notice that an exam falls on a date for which you have already scheduled something important that would be difficult to alter (your sister’s wedding, your wedding, a trip with your family, etc.), you must make arrangements in the next two weeks for taking an alternate exam at a different time.

Please note that all make up/alternative exams will be essay exams.

Short Papers. Over the course of the semester you will be asked to write a series of five short papers (1 to 1 ½ double spaced pages). The due dates are listed in the course list and readings.

Each student should collect examples of real-life illustrations of findings or theories learned about in the course. You may choose examples from such places as TV, newspapers, the Internet, or from your everyday interactions with others. In each case be sure to briefly and clearly define the finding or theory, clearly describe the example, and explain exactly how the theory or finding maps onto your example (do not exceed 1 and ½ typed double spaced page for each example).

Each paper should examine a different finding or theory and use a different example. Two or three of these papers should be based on everyday incidents from your own social life. And two or three should be based on examples you have come across in the media, and must be accompanied by copies of newspaper, magazine, or Internet articles. Examples found on the Internet must include a copy of the article and the address of the web site. Examples coming from a movie or TV show must include a full citation of the source.

Grading will be as follows….

Grading will be on the following curve. I will take the average of the top three grades in the class and then the following percentage of that average will correspond to the following grades:

97% - 100% A+

93% - 96.999% A

90% - 92.999% A-

87% - 89.999% B+

83% - 86.999% B

80% - 82.999% B-

77% - 79.999% C+

73% - 76.999% C

70% - 72.999% C-

67% - 69.999% D+

63% - 66.999% D

60% - 62.999% D-

Below 60% F

There will be extra credit. You have two options.

1) You may participate in the Psychology Department experiment pool. For each experiment that you complete, you will receive half of a percentage point added to your final grade. You may complete up to 8 study hours (for a total of 4% added to your final grade).



JEP Rating earns the following credit based on the evaluation you get from JEP. 5=4 extra credit points; 4=3 extra credit points; 3=2 extra credit points; 2 or lower=0 extra credit points.



Blackboard System

All student grades will be posted on the USC Blackboard system. Copies of all important class documents, such as the syllabus, class handouts, etc. will be posted on Blackboard in Microsoft Word format, as well as being distributed in class. They will also be posted in Adobe pdf format, if requested.

I may also occasionally use Blackboard to send email messages to the entire class. Note: Blackboard typically uses your University email address and not any other address, such as AOL, Yahoo, etc., unless you have specifically notified the University otherwise. So please check your USC email address to look for any class announcements.

The rules governing dishonesty in the current University of Southern California Faculty Handbook and also listed in the 2008-2009 SCAMPUS, under University Governance, will be maintained and enforced. Information about academic integrity violations and recommended penalties can be found in SCAMPUS.

The minimum penalty for cheating on an exam will be a score of zero on that exam. Particularly gross academic dishonesty on an exam, such as obtaining a copy of the exam beforehand, will result in an F for the course and may result in suspension or expulsion from the University. Cheating on a homework assignment will result in a zero on that assignment and repeated cheating on homework assignments will result in an F for the course.