SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY (PSYC 170)
Syllabus for Fall 2011
Class meetings: 9-10:30am, Mondays and Wednesday, Jonas Clark Hall (JC) Rm. 001
Professor: Maggie Campbell (email: MaCampbell@clarku.edu) Office: JC 201-A
In person office hours: Mondays and Wednesdays 10:30-11:30am, or by appointment
Virtual office hours: Tuesday 5-6pm, email or g-chat: email@example.com
Myers, D. G. (2010). Social Psychology (10th ed.) McGraw Hill: New York, NY.
Social psychology (Psyc 170) is a 200-level course, with a required prerequisite of an introduction to psychology/general psychology course. This course will cover some of the major areas of social psychology (e.g. attitudes, prejudice, conformity, obedience, attraction, antisocial behavior, prosocial behavior, etc.) and will also introduce students to some of the current work being done in social psychology. A major emphasis will be placed on applying social psychological concepts to your own lives and to social problems. Additionally, students will learn some of the basics of psychological/scientific writing, and to be critical consumers of research studies.
My hope for this course is that you will leave it with a passion for trying to understand the world around you and the people that it consists of. I hope you will learn to challenge your own assumptions, and to encourage others to challenge theirs. Hopefully you will also be motivated to further explore the ways in which knowledge about social psychology can improve your life, the lives of those around you, and move us closer to solutions to social problems.
COURSE OBJECTIVES: OUR GOALS FOR THE SEMESTER
By the successful completion of this course, you should be able to…
1. Demonstrate an understanding of the major people, studies, and findings in social psychology, and use this understanding to recognize some of the ways in which people affect one another’s thoughts, feelings, and behaviors.
2. Apply social psychological concepts to your own life and the world beyond the classroom, including social issues.
3. Critically examine research findings in the popular press, including exercising skepticism about the findings, and an understanding of what conditions may affect the results.
4. Communicate your ideas and opinions in meaningful and coherent ways, both orally and in print.
HOW TO BE A PRODUCTIVE AND SUCCESSFUL MEMBER OF THE COURSE
The following are guidelines for this course. I ask you to uphold the following standards, and in turn, I will do the same.
· Make sure to do the readings. The textbook is very reader-friendly, and I promise to only assign supplemental readings that I find to be important to your understanding of the topics, and interesting. The readings should be done before the class period they are listed under.
· Come to class prepared to talk, listen, and learn from one another. None of us will get half as much out of this course if we cannot have real and respectful discussions. Please keep in mind that some of these discussions may touch upon issues where there are differences of opinion. Disagreement is normal, and can lead to interesting discussions, but it is important that we all respect one another and try to understand each other’s viewpoints.
· Part of taking part in class discussions (and getting the most you can out of lectures) is to be present in the course. This includes your physical attendance in class, but is not limited to that. While we can’t always keep our minds from wandering, please do not encourage this in yourselves or others by engaging in potentially disruptive behaviors, such as carrying on separate conversations from the rest of us, doing work for other classes, texting, emailing, or visiting websites.
o I do understand that some of you might like to take notes on your laptops. However, I ask that you consider taking handwritten notes. I know how great the temptation can be to go online or work on other things if an open computer is in front of you. This behavior can be more obvious both to me and your classmates than you might think, and it takes us all away from what we might be discussing. If computer use becomes an issue, I reserve the right to ban the use of laptops, except for those who have a documented need for them in order to take notes. Additionally, it’s a lot harder for all of us to connect with each other in discussion if everyone is behind a computer screen. If you do bring a laptop, you will be asked to close it for discussion portions of the class.
o Please also refrain from using cell phones during the class period. Most things that you’re attending to can probably wait until the end of class. J If you have to leave your phone on because you are expecting an important call, please have it on vibrate, and please leave the room should an urgent need to use your phone arise. I know that many of us (myself included!) have gotten use to having our phones on us at all times, but you might find you actually enjoy being “unplugged” for extended periods of time.
· Please make use of office hours! Office hours are a great time to receive extended clarification about issues in the course that you are confused about, receive extra help, or ask for more information about topics that interest you. If you are struggling in the course, please do not wait until the end of the course to come see me. Additionally, if you are interested in something we are discussing in class and want to be pointed toward additional resources, please do not hesitate to stop in.
· Please be patient when waiting for email responses. While I will do my best to respond promptly to all emails, answering you within the hour is not always possible. Barring any emergencies or exceptions which I will announce beforehand, you can always expect to hear back from me within 24 hours.
STRUCTURE OF THE COURSE AND MAJOR ASSIGNMENTS
Despite the fact that this class will rely heavily on media clips, activities, discussion, and group learning, lectures will also be an important part. I will do my best to keep the lectures interesting, and to break up longer lectures with time for discussion and small activities. On your part, please listen both attentively and actively. The lecture will cover some of the material in the text, but will also include material from other sources, so make sure to take notes. The lectures will not replace the readings either, so do make sure to keep up with these as well. You will be responsible for the material covered in both, except when noted).
Participation (Objectives 1, 2, 4)
Knowledge is best formed in communities. Reading the textbook and listening to me talk are only going to get you so far. You can learn a great deal both from one another, and from allowing yourself to work through your own ideas. Through this class, you’ll learn more about how much we all affect one another, and the classroom is a great example of this. This class will be much more rewarding, interesting, and enjoyable for us all if everyone takes an active part. With that said, please come to class ready to discuss the text, supplementary materials, and the content of the lecture. Please come in with written (hand-written is fine) comments and/or questions pertaining to the course material for each class period, except when noted. These will not always be collected, but may be periodically.
Short response papers (Objective 1, 2, 4)
At five points in the class, you will be required to write short response papers (1-2 pages in length) to prepare for key discussions. These may be focused on readings, or clips we watch. More detailed information will be given about each of these closer to their due dates.
Movie application papers (Objectives 1, 2, 4)
During the semester, you will be required to turn in 2 short (less than 5 pages, double-spaced) movie analysis papers, in which you apply a social psychological concept or theory in an understanding of relationships and/or scenes in a film. You can complete these papers at any point in the semester, about any social psychological concepts and movies that have been cleared with me. During the first week of classes, I will give you a list of suggestions of films that can be used for certain segments of the course. Because you have some leeway in choosing when to complete these assignments, I strongly suggest planning out when during the course of the semester you will have time; for example, don’t save both of these papers for the last week of classes. *Note that because you choose when you want to complete these papers, they do not appear on the course schedule.
Popular press response paper (Objectives 3, 4)
After a paired in class discussion of research presented in the popular press, you (either with your partner or individually, your choice) will write a short response paper (around 5 pages, or less, double spaced) in which you identify the major information: pre-existing theory, hypotheses, method, results, and discussion. You will also take note of interpretations you are skeptical about.
Group project (Objectives 1, 2, 3, 4)
Social psychology involves the scientific study of the interactions between people that take place in everyday lives. Therefore, the concepts and situations being studied often relate directly to each of our personal lives, as well as a variety of current events. For this project, you will work with 2 other group members to present findings related to a social psychological concept, and connect it to the world outside of academia.
We will be covering a variety of social psychological concepts over the course of the semester. Early on, you will be given the opportunity to rank order a list of topics as to your preference. Options will include cognitive dissonance, foot-in-the-door phenomenon, obedience, conformity, deindividuation, groupthink, prejudice and discrimination, right-wing authoritarianism, aggression, bystander effect, liking and loving, and altruism and prosocial behavior. Groups of 4 students will be formed based on these preferences.
This group project will include a very short individual paper (on one empirical article), a group presentation, and a group paper. Please see the group project handout for more information regarding this assignment. *Note that only the presentation date appears on the course schedule. Your individual article summary is due the week before your presentation, and your group paper is due the class AFTER your presentation.
Fundamental attribution error writing assignment (Objectives 1, 2, 4)
After we go over the fundamental attribution error in class (see course schedule), you will spend a week observing instances of the fundamental attribution error in your own life. At the end of the week, you will write a brief paper about your experience with the fundamental attribution error. These papers will probably be around 5 double spaced pages, and are not to exceed 10 pages. You will be given additional information about this assignment at the end of the class focused on the fundamental attribution error.
Quizzes (Objective 1)
Ten short, quizzes (around 5 questions each) will be administered throughout the semester. Some of these courses will be announced, and others will not be. If you keep up with the readings, you should be prepared for these quizzes. Your lowest quiz score will be dropped and your best score will count for double.
Midterm and Final exams (Objectives 1, 2)
There will be two in-class exams: one midterm and one final. The midterm exam will cover the first half of the course, and the final exam will cover the second half of the course. Both of these exams will consist of multiple choice, matching, and short answer questions. The date for the midterm exam is listed in the course schedule below. The final will be given during the university final exam period. We will know the exact day and time of our final later in the semester.
There will be multiple opportunities for extra credit throughout the semester. These will include attending campus talks and writing brief responses, and other optional essays. As always though, make sure you concentrate on putting effort into the required elements of the course rather than planning to rely on extra credit.
CICADA is the online course support system used here at Clark. On the page for this course, you will find the most updated version of the syllabus and assignments, and you will find additional course resources, such as the supplemental readings (some required, some optional), that are not part of your textbook. There will also be links to helpful and interesting websites. I will post announcements on CICADA, and there will also be discussion boards that can be used to share information or ask for clarifications on course material. Every class participant has a profile on CICADA. You can upload a picture of yourself on your profile. If you are comfortable with this, please do so- it can help us all learn each other’s names!
GRADING SCHEME (1000 POINTS TOTAL)
Participation= 80 points
5 short response papers @ 10 pts= 50 points
2 movie application papers @ 60 pts= 120 points
Popular press response paper= 70 points
Group project on application of a social psychological concept= 180 points
Writing assignment on the fundamental attribution error= 100 points
10 quizzes @ 10 pts= 100 points
Midterm exam= 150 points
Final exam= 150 points
DETERMINING FINAL GRADES
The final (letter) grades will be determined along the following scale:
A+ = 98% and above (980 points and above)
A = 93% - 97.9% (930 to 979 points)
A- = 90% - 92.9% (900 to 929 points)
B+ = 86% - 89.9% (860 to 899 points)
B = 83% – 85.9% (830 to 859 points)
B- = 80% to 83.9% (800 to 829 points)
C+ = 76% - 79.9% (760 to 799 points)
C = 73% - 75.9% (730 to 759 points)
C- = 70% - 72.9% (700 to 729 points)
D+ = 67%- 69.9% (670 to 699 points)
D = 63% - 66.9% (630 to 669 points)
D- = 60% - 62.9% (600 to 629 points)
F = Below 60% (less than 600 points)
*I reserve the right to lower these grade cutoffs, but they will not be raised.
POLICY ON ATTENDANCE, PUNCTUALITY, AND PARTICIPATION
There are no points given in this course solely for physically attending the class periods. Please see the participation section above for what is expected of you. In order to receive these points, it is true that you must actually come to class. If you miss classes, you will also miss the lectures, discussions, and activities that will prepare you for other assignments, and potentially miss quizzes. I do understand that life happens, so missing a class or 2 would not adversely affect your participation score, although you would want to speak with your fellow students and/or me about what you missed. Similarly, coming to class a little bit late, or leaving a little bit early, would not affect your participation points, provided these happen as isolated incidents. If these happen regularly, I will speak to you about the amount of points it will cost you. Also, if you do need to come in late or leave early, please do so in a way that does not disrupt the rest of the class.
If something happens that you believe will adversely affect your attendance and/or participation in the course, please see me as soon as possible so we can work together to come up with a solution.
POLICY ON MISSED EXAMS AND ASSIGNMENTS
Late assignments: Students should submit their assignments on the dates specified in the course schedule. Late submissions will result in a deduction of 10% of the total possible points for that assignment. Exceptions will be dealt with on a case by case basis. If something arises that will affect your attendance, participation, or completion of an assignment on time, please let me know as soon as possible.
Quizzes: If you miss one quiz, you will not be able to make it up, as your lowest quiz is dropped anyways. Missing a second quiz will be dealt with on a case by case basis. Generally, if you have a valid reason for missing a quiz, you will be allowed to write an additional response paper to make up for it. If you are going to miss an announced quiz, you need to alert me to the fact that you will miss it prior to the class period in order to be allowed to make it up. If you have missed an unannounced quiz, this is something you should find out by speaking to a peer or me about what you missed in class; I will not seek you out to tell you that you missed a quiz.
Midterm exam: If you expect to miss the midterm, you must inform me prior to the start of class time that day. Based on your reason and documentation of this reason, it will then be decided whether to excuse you for the exam date or not. If you do not notify me in advance, or if you do not have a documented reason for missing, you will not be allowed to make up the exam. If you are given permission to make up the exam, it has to happen within one week of the original exam date.
Final exam: If you have a legitimate reason for missing the final (illness, death in the family), you will be offered a make-up exam without penalty. In this case, it is best for you to contact the Dean of Students office first to make any necessary accommodations and file for an incomplete, if necessary. Please note that flights home are NOT a legitimate reason to miss the scheduled final exam, they should be booked after the final exam period.
Please contact me (in person or through email) within the first two weeks of class if you have any circumstances that might affect your attendance, participation, and/or comfort in this class. These may include, but are not limited to, involvement in religious observances, involvement in school-related sports or activities with isolated events that conflict with class periods, or having a certified disability. If you have a disability that may impair or affect your ability to complete this class successfully, please make sure you have contacted the Academic Advising Center (phone: 508-793-7468, email: firstname.lastname@example.org) to make sure you get the necessary documentation early on so we can make appropriate arrangements for you for the duration of the semester.
ACADEMIC HONESTY POLICY
Academic honesty/integrity requires that all work you submit must be your own, and that you do not take credit for the work of others. When you use sentences, or even just phrases, from other people’s work in your writing, please be sure to cite them appropriately, according to the APA guidelines. If you are paraphrasing the ideas of another’s work, this should also be cited. If you fail to do so, this will be treated as plagiarism, which is a serious offense. Please feel free and encouraged to ask me questions when you are unsure about what needs to be cited and what does not- it can be confusing sometimes.
While I encourage you to speak to one another about projects and papers, all individual assignments should be submitted as individuals, and without copying someone else’s work. Quizzes and exams should be completed individually, without discussion. Unless otherwise noted, quizzes and exams will be closed book, closed notes. Consequences for cheating can range from failing the assignment to being expelled from the university. For more information on the academic honesty policy at Clark University, please visit the website http://www.clarku.edu/offices/aac/integrity.cfm.
If you find yourself even considering cheating, see it as a sign that you might need some assistance in learning the course material, or working on time management, and please schedule a time to talk with me.
The topic for each week is listed below. The readings should be done prior to the start of the week. You will also see information about then dates of the announced quizzes and exams, and what is due each class period. Please note that some of the assignments have varying due dates (such as group papers and movie analysis papers, see above) so the due dates are not listed below. Additional supplemental readings will also be added throughout the course.
Week 1: Introduction to the course
Readings: Myers, Chapter 1: Introducing Social Psychology
September 5: Labor Day, no class
Week 2: Ways of thinking about the self and others
Readings: Myers, Chapter 2: The Self in the Social World
Myers, Chapter 3: Social Beliefs and Judgments
September 12: 1st response paper due
September 14: Fundamental attribution assignment begins
Week 3: Behaviors and attitudes
Readings: Myers, Chapter 4: Behaviors and attitudes
September 19: Quiz
September 21: Bring in notes on fundamental attribution error assignment
Week 4: The influence of genes, culture, and gender
Readings: Myers, Chapter 5: Genes, culture, and gender
September 26: Fundamental attribution error paper due
Week 5: Social influence
Readings: Myers, Chapter 6: Conformity and Obedience
Myers, Chapter 7: Persuasion
October 3: 2nd response paper due
Presentation from Group 1
October 5: Quiz
Week 6: Group dynamics
Readings: Myers, Chapter 8: Group Influence
October 10: Columbus Day, no class.
October 12: Presentation from Group 2
Week 7: Review and Midterm
October 17: Review for the midterm
October 19: Midterm exam
Week 8: Antisocial emotions and relations
Readings: Myers, Chapter 9: Prejudice: Disliking Others
Myers, Chapter 10: Aggression: Hurting Other
October 24: Presentations from Groups 3 & 4
October 26: Quiz
Week 9: Friendship and love relationships
Readings: Myers, Chapter 11: Attracting and Intimacy: Liking and Loving Others
October 31: 3rd response paper due
November 2: Presentations from Groups 5 & 6
Week 10: Prosocial behavior
Readings: Chapter 12: Helping
November 7: Quiz
November 9: Presentations from Groups 7 & 8
Week 11: Social psychology in conflict, peacemaking, and political policy
Readings: Myers, Chapter 3: Conflict and Peacemaking
November 14: Presentations from Groups 9 & 10
November 16: 4th response paper due
Week 12: Connecting social psychology and clinical/health psychology
Readings: Myers, Chapter 14: Social Psychology in the Clinic
November 21: Quiz
Week 13: Applications of social psychology
Readings: Myers, Chapter 15: Social Psychology in the Court
Myers, Chapter 16: Social Psychology and the Sustainable Future
November 28: Popular press response paper due
Week 14: To be determined
The focus of this week will be based on your interests as a class
December 5: 5th response paper due
Week 15: Review and wrap-up
December 12: Final exam review
Final exam date and time to be determined
*Note: I will do my absolute best to stick to what has been outlined in the syllabus. However, I do reserve the right to make changes to the syllabus once the semester has started in order to ensure the flexibility that may be necessary based on the pace of the course and any other issues that may come up.