Social Psychology

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Social Psychology

PSYC/CHLD 3311, spring 2018

T-Th 2:00 –3:15; Location: MB 3269

Dr. Jamie Hughes Teaching Assistant: Rebeca Harpster

Office: MB 3122 Email:

Phone: (432) 552-3345 /Email: Office Hours: By appointment

Office Hours: Tuesday and Thursday 3:30 – 5:30; Wed. 2 -3

Google drive:

Google Docs drive: Please bookmark the drive. Materials for class will be posted here including readings and study guides.
Note. Please read this document carefully. By staying in the course you are providing tacit approval of the terms and conditions listed in this syllabus.
Course description: This course will provide a broad overview of the scientific theories and methods in social psychology. Social psychologists examine how and why people are influenced by their social environment. Topics include social cognition, social perception, attitudes, social influence, aggression, and prejudice.
Prerequisites: Introduction to Psychology (PSYC 1301)
Student learning outcomes:

  • Operationally define a number of variables and design an experiment

  • Analyze a criminal court case using concepts from social perception and social cognition

  • Create a pro-social cult using knowledge about social influence and group behavior

  • Promote green behavior by creating a marketing plan using research and theory on cognitive dissonance and attitude change

  • Develop methods to decrease bullying and violence using research on aggression

  • Develop an argument and support it with empirical evidence

  • Create a photo array consisting of humans of West Texas. Discuss photo array with others. Write a paper about the experience.

  • Use social psychological theories and research to solve real world problems or make recommendations

  • Practice oral and written communication skills

  • Challenge yourself intellectually and have fun

Required text: Aronson, E., Wilson, T. D., & Akert, R. M. (2016). Social Psychology (9th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall. (You may also choose to use the 8th edition of this text. The 8th and 9th editions are nearly identical).
  • ISBN: 9780133936544

  • Optional resources: There are companion websites for this text with study guides, videos, and more. To access them go to one of the following websites (note, the 6th, 7th, and 8th editions are similar). Note that some features of mypsychlab may only be available to new text buyers. Mypsychlab is not required for this course. Only the textbook is required.



Supplemental/Optional Text:

  • Mitchell, M. L., Jolly, J. M., & O’Shea, R. P. (2013). Writing for Psychology (4th ed.). Belmont, CA; Wadworth.

    • This text provides a great introduction to reading and writing in psychology. It is recommended for this course. It is required in PSYC 3404 and 4393 so you should consider buying it early. Even if you do not purchase this text, go to the companion website

Course Structure

My philosophy of teaching is based on the idea that learning is not linear. It is not a simple process that proceeds from A (lecture) to B (reading) to C (sudden mastery of course concepts). Instead, learning is a dynamic process; it is interactive, and should challenge students. Further, learning is not a passive activity. People learn by being actively engaged and by making new connections between the things they already know and new things that they are learning. Finally, learning is more likely to occur when people work with material in a number of different ways (i.e., reading, writing, observing, listening, talking, and/or experiencing). The final part of my philosophy of teaching is based on two facts. One stems from research showing that active learning and problem solving activities increase retention of content and assist in the acquisition of (marketable) skills. The other is based on research of students after graduation: one of the most common reasons that students are demoted, fired, or otherwise written up in their new jobs has to do with their lack of team skills. That is, students who graduate from university either lack critical skills or do not know how to work with others to achieve common goals! This is problematic. So I design courses that focus on skill acquisition rather than memorization of facts, and I use team-based learning components to help student build the “soft” skills that employers seek.

Thus, this course is designed using a Team Based Learning approach outlined below.
1) Participation in student learning teams: Students will be assigned to permanent learning teams. Student teams will complete a number of activities designed to help them learn course material and develop critical thinking skills. Team performance will be one component of students’ final course grade.
2) Attendance and participation: Student will be participating in a number of class activities that will enrich their thinking about social psychology. Most of these activities require students to perform tasks individually and as a team. Your active participation in group activities and in-class discussion is essential. You are expected to complete the assigned readings before class and come prepared to discuss assigned topics. I encourage students to take notes while reading and be prepared to ask questions.
Most activities cannot be “made up” in the event of absence. Consequently, attendance in class is REQUIRED (students engaged in university activities may contact me before missing class to ask about completing an activity early). Student teams will take attendance every day. Students who anticipate frequently missing class, arriving late, or leaving early should consider dropping the class.
3) Varied assessment: Your grade will be based on a variety of assessments including in-class activities, multiple-choice tests, group activities, individual writing assignments, and peer assessment. Thus, you will have more than one or two opportunities to demonstrate competence in any given topic area.
Assessment Description

In-class activities & homework: You will be participating in number of in-class activities. Individual and team performance will be evaluated on these activities. Some of these activities will not require much more than your attendance (e.g., feedback on a lecture or a brainstorming session). However, team activities will require the application of your knowledge of course concepts. These more challenging application activities allow students to demonstrate their knowledge and develop skills.
The two types of in class activities will be evaluated on different scales. The first type of in class activity is similar to a participation grade. Assessment of the second type of activity (application activities) will be evaluated based on a rubric. Rubrics will vary depending on the activity.
Homework and additional reading will be assigned occasionally (see schedule). Students should complete this work prior to the class period it is due.
Reading Checks (RCs): On days indicated on the tentative schedule, class will begin with a short assessment that measures your comprehension of the reading assignments. RCs will be administered in three phases. First, students complete the RC individually. Once all members of a single team complete the test, other students in the class will have five minutes to complete the test. After all the individual RC scantrons have been collected, learning teams will complete the same RAT. After completing the group RC (GRC), teams will have the opportunity to appeal questions on the GRC and earn back missed points. All members of a team will receive the same team score on each GRC.

The lowest RC score will be dropped at the end of the semester. Thus, students may miss one RC without penalty. Students who must miss more than one RC due to university activities can arrange to take it BEFORE the scheduled date.

Appeals: If you feel strongly about the correctness of an item that was missed, you or your entire team may submit a written (email) appeal to the instructor. This appeal process must occur immediately following a test. Only individuals or teams that write successful appeals get points for that appeal, even if another team or individual missed the same question(s). Appeals are not simply an opportunity to get more points. Rather, they are an opportunity for you to make scholarly arguments for your positions. All arguments must be supported by evidence from the text or lecture notes. If the appeal is based on an ambiguously phrased question, you must suggest wording that is less ambiguous. The decision to grant or refuse an appeal will be made by the instructor after class via e-mail.
Persuasive Essay on Prejudice. Students will write an APA style essay about prejudice toward a specific social group. They will use empirical evidence to support their claims. More information is located in the Appendix.
Humans of West Texas Project. Students will create a photo array based on humans that live in the community. They will write a reflection paper and create a poster depicting their photo participants. More information is in the Appendix.
Peer evaluation of team members. At the middle and end of the semester, you will evaluate your teammates using a behavioral scale. This evaluation will assess your teammates’ objective behaviors (e.g., did they turn up for team meetings and attend class regularly) and your subjective impressions of their interpersonal skills (e.g., would you be willing to work with this person again). This evaluation is a critical aspect of the team-based learning paradigm because it holds team members accountable to their teammates. Your teammates can become valued friends and a means to success in the course if you give your best contribution to all team activities.

Individual Performance

(pts) % within area

% of final grade

RCs (5 @ 40)

(200) 35


Assignments and homework (8 @ 14)

(112) 20

 Persuasive essay on prejudice

(130) 25

Humans of West Texas project

(110) 20

(550) 100

Group Performance

GRCs (5 @ 30)

(150) 46


In-class activities (10 @ 17) calculated: total points possible*peer grade

(170) 54

(325) 100

Peer Evaluation (2 @ 60) calculated: peer grade * total points possible

(120) 12%



1000 100%

Students will not be allowed to pass this class solely on the efforts of their teammates. Students who do not earn a satisfactory grade on individual performance (> 70%) will not receive credit for their team’s performance. Instead, their grades will be calculated by summing their scores on the individual components only (group performance excluded).
Extra Credit: Students can earn up to 30 points by participating in research studies or by writing about empirical research (or via some combination of the two).

  • Participate in Research: Students will have the opportunity to earn a maximum of three percent (or 30 points) towards their final grade by participating in psychology research projects. Ten points will be awarded for each hour of research participation. To earn these bonus points, students must sign up for an account on the psychology subject pool website (see attached handout and go to Sona Systems) and complete up to 3  hours of research studies; this system will keep track of your progress and your bonus points will be added to your final grade at the end of the semester. Students have until the end of the day of regularly scheduled class to earn these bonus points.

  • Write summaries: Students who are unable to obtain their full thirty points by participating in these studies, or who choose not to participate in the studies, may earn their bonus points by writing an article summary and/or critique of a published, peer reviewed journal article in social psychology (1 to 2 pages double spaced). Each paper will be graded on a pass/fail basis and will be worth 10 bonus point. If you’d like some help finding good articles please contact the instructor. If you’d more structure and guidance for writing the summary please see the instructor.

Suggestions for Success

Time management.

There is a lot of reading required in this course. Manage your time well. Schedule reading times throughout the week and estimate that you will spend approximately 3-9 hours reading per week (for this class alone). If you fall behind on the reading, your grade will suffer. In addition to practicing good time management, you may also benefit from services at UTPB such as the Success Center (MB 2215), the Writing Center (MB 2100), or SMARTTHINKING online tutoring for math, science, and writing (more information about this can be found at
TBL related suggestions.

Team performance. Over the past few years I have noticed a few things about really high performing teams: 1) they sit close together so they make eye contact and hear one another. 2) In team activities they share a) what answer or position each person in the team has, b) why each person chose that position/response, and c) how confident each person is with their choice. 2) High performing teams come prepared; they bring the text or assigned readings to class and they read or completed the assignments on time. 3) They deliberate as long as time permits; they do not make decisions without thinking it over and discussing it thoroughly with their team.
Class discussions. We will cover some controversial topics in class, and it’s given that others will not always agree with your opinion. Sometimes, it is very instructive when someone’s opinion or life experience is different from own. For example, we can learn a lot about ourselves by reflecting on how we react to ideas or other people. One of the skills you can practice in this course is interpersonal communication skill. When another person’s opinion or life experience is different from your own (and it bothers you), try being patient, try taking the person’s perspective, or gain knowledge of perspectives different from your own. Remember, that you do not have to like someone to 1) respect them, 2) help them, 3) learn from them, 4) and perform well.
Course Policies

Feedback: Please feel free to submit your comments, suggestions or feedback regarding class activities. Send me an email, stop by my office, or talk to me after class. If you wish to remain anonymous, please place a note in your team folder.
Cell phones and electronic devices: Please do not use these devices in class. My biggest objection to these devices is that they often disrupt those around us. Also, if you are text messaging, jamming to music, or chatting on the phone you are not actually helping your team members or yourself succeed in this class. If, for some reason, you must use a certain device please leave the room.
Missing class: There are no make-ups in this class. Ask your teammates for help after you miss. The best thing to do is to talk to me BEFORE (not after) you have to miss a class. You may arrange to do the work before the scheduled class period. If something happens (illness or otherwise), send the instructor an email as soon as you are aware that your circumstances prevent you from attending.
Late policy: If you are late to class more than twice, you will be unable to earn points on the third occasion. In other words, the third time you are late you will be marked absent and no papers, assignments, or activities done during that period will count toward your grade.
Withdrawals: To withdraw from this class, you must complete a withdrawal form with the registrar. Students will not be automatically dropped from the class for any reason. In other words, if you haven't done the paperwork, you are still enrolled in the class.

Incompletes: Students may request an incomplete grade if he or she has a documented illness or prolonged absence due to reasons outside of the student’s control. However, students must have ‘substantial equity’ in the course. Further, it is up to the instructor to determine what substantial equity in a course means and what that might look like. Thus, if something arises in your life that interferes with your ability to do your best in this class, talk to me about it ASAP. Many students wait until the end of the semester (or after finals week) to tell me about these kind of difficulties and there is little or nothing I can do at that point. The sooner you talk to me, the more options we will have to handle an issue.

Academic Integrity: Academic integrity is expected of the entire community of students at UTPB. Academic integrity assumes honesty about the nature of one's work in all situations. Academic dishonesty is treated by me with utmost seriousness. Plagiarism is forbidden and is considered one form of academic dishonesty. Plagiarism is representing another person’s work as your own, and can take many forms (e.g., copying from another source, not citing an idea, etc.). If any form of academic dishonesty has occurred I will follow the prescribed procedures and recommendations of the university and at the least, award the student a failing grade on the assignment. It is each student’s responsibility to fully understand what plagiarism and to develop methods to avoid it. For more information, please refer to This site will help you determine if you have committed plagiarism. Please note that I use TURNITIN.COM, a site that helps instructors determine if plagiarism has been committed. Students committing acts of academic dishonesty risk automatic failure in the course.
Students are encouraged to read the University’s statement on plagiarism, available at:, and their statement on scholastic dishonesty, available at:
Disability Accommodations: Americans with Disabilities Act: Students with disabilities that are admitted to The University of Texas of the Permian Basin may request reasonable accommodations and classroom modifications as addressed under Section 504/ADA regulations. The definition of a disability for purposes of ADA is that she or he (1) has a physical or mental impairment that substantively limits a major life activity, (2) has a record of such an impairment or, (3) is regarded as having such an impairment.

Students who have provided all documentation and are eligible for services will be advised of their rights regarding academic accommodations and responsibilities. The University is not obligated to pay for diagnosis or evaluations nor is it obligated to pay for personal services or auxiliary aids. Students needing assistance because of a disability must contact Testing Services & Academic Accommodations Department, 432-552-2630, Leticia Madrid,, no later than 30 days prior to the start of the semester. If you need accommodations because of a disability, if you have emergency medical information to share, or if you need special arrangements, please inform the instructor immediately.  I am available to meet with you on the phone, via chat, or in person to discuss how I can help you succeed in the course.

Tentative Schedule: Reading assignments (based on 9th ed. of text) and homework should be completed prior to class listed in the schedule


In-Class Activity

Reading & homework assignments

Tue., Jan. 9

Introduction; Teams; RC 0


Thu., Jan. 11

Intro to Social; Psychological Methods; Plagiarism





Tue., Jan. 16

Psychological Methods/Pseudoscience

 Chapter 1 and 2

Thu., Jan. 18

RC 1: Methods


Tue., Jan. 23

Methods Activity (Last day to drop without creating a record)


Thu., Jan. 25

Methods Activity


Tue., Jan. 30

Persuasive Prejudice Paper and Humans of WT Discussion Day



Social Cognition, Perception, & Eyewitness Testimony


Thu., Feb. 1

Social Perception and Cognition

Chapter 3, 4 and pp. 496-506

Tue., Feb. 6

RC 2: Social Cognition and Perception


Thu., Feb. 8

Heuristics and Bias


Tue., Feb. 13

FAE Activity; Social Perception and the Law

 Optional: Errors in inquiry on rape allegations

Thu., Feb. 15

Social Perception and the Law



Aggression and Prejudice


Tue., Feb. 20

Prejudice and Aggression


Thu., Feb. 22

RC 3: Aggression and Prejudice

Chapter 12 & 13

Tue., Feb. 27

Race: The power of an illusion


Thu., Mar. 1

No Class


Tue., Mar. 6

Jost & Hamilton activity

Jost & Hamilton questions due

Thu., Mar. 8

Prejudice Activity


Conformity and Group Behavior


Tue., Mar. 20

Conformity and the Milgram Studies

Persuasive essay due Chapter 8 & pp. 269-283

Thu., Mar. 22

RC 4: Conformity and Groups; Last day to drop or withdrawal


Tue., Mar. 27

Social Problems and Social Influence Activity

Social problems homework due

Thu., Mar. 29

Jonestown: Cult Case Study


Tue., Apr. 3

Cults discussion; Designing and assessing cults

Thu., Apr. 5

Designing and Assessing Pro-Social Cults

Cult comparison homework due


Justification of Effort and Attitudes


Tue., Apr. 10

Cognitive Dissonance & Attitudes

Chapter 6, 7 & pp. 455-469

Thu., Apr. 12

Cognitive Dissonance Activity

Optional: Gladwell on school shooting

Tue., Apr. 17

RC 5: Justification of Effort and Attitudes

Advertisement homework due

Thu., Apr. 19

Analyzing advertisements & Green Marketing Plan


Tue., Apr. 24

Green Marketing Plan; Aggression and Prejudice


Thu., Apr. 26

Humans of West Texas paper

HWT presentation and paper due

Appendix: Paper Assignments in the Course

Persuasive Essay Assignment on Prejudice: Due March 20th in Canvas
In this persuasive essay assignment students will write about prejudice. Imagine that you have a friend who does not believe that prejudice exists. You will write an essay to convince the person that prejudice exists using empirical evidence. Students should choose a specific social group/topic that includes racism, sexism, ableism, heterosexism, classism, or intersectionality (this means prejudice based on intersecting oppressions such as race and class and gender).
Once a topic is chosen students should use the library databases to locate peer reviewed journal articles written in the last 10 years that relate to their topic and that will allow them to build an effective argument. Students must find 6 scholarly sources related to their topic. We will read a paper by Jost and Hamilton (2005) in class and this may count as one source.
Follow APA style guidelines1, including 1 inch margins, double-spacing and, 11 or 12 point Times font. Cite in-text using the last names of the author(s) and the year of the publication. Include a title page, an abstract, main text, and reference section in your report (report length: the main text of your paper should be longer than 3 pages, but less than 8 pages—excluding references, abstract, and title page). Students must not use more than a single quote in the paper. That is, students are expected to paraphrase effectively throughout.
This paper must have the following components:

  • Title page with an informative title

  • An abstract

  • An opening paragraph that builds interest in the topic and informs the reader about the organization and thesis of paper.

  • A paragraph that describes needed background information about prejudice (conceptual understanding of the term in psychology) and background information about your social group.

  • Restate your position and provide at least three reasons why one should believe that prejudice against your social group exists.

    • Each reason should be supported by empirical evidence. For example, I might say that racism exists and can be seen in economic inequalities. Then I would cite and describe empirical evidence that has demonstrated economic inequality by race.

  • Describe any counterarguments and why they are flawed.

  • Conclude your paper by restating your position and giving a call to action (e.g., strategies to reduce prejudice, needed research, etc.).

  • References

A note about citing, referencing, and plagiarism

Please note that plagiarism includes failure to cite a source, and also less obvious things like failure to cite another’s idea or failure to appropriately paraphrase. Sometimes people plagiarize because they do not have a lot of practice writing. It is the responsibility of all students to actively work to make sure they are not plagiarizing. If in doubt, get help from the writing center or see the instructor. There is also a great online book by Colin (Colin, N. (2010). Complete guide to referencing and avoiding plagiarism (2nd ed)) available via any search engine.

  • I report all instances of plagiarism to the dean of students. If you plagiarize I will document it and ask you sign a form acknowledging it. You will lose all points on the plagiarized document and may fail the course.

  • Extra credit: you will receive extra credit (+ 5 points) on your report if you provide evidence that you had your reports proof-read by a tutor in the writing center (AND made his or her suggested revisions!) or the teaching assistant prior to turning it in to me. For those who struggle with writing I recommend meeting with a tutor/teaching assistant several times so that he or she may help you as you write and revise drafts of the final report.

The following rubric will be used to assess your work.




Provides a broad introduction to and discussion of the topic of prejudice based on course reading.


Provides an overview of prejudice and background information related to his or her


Discusses three reasons why prejudice against the social group exists and provides empirical evidence supporting his or her claim.


Reference page includes all and only cited articles and the correct number (at least 6). The articles are appropriately scholarly and appropriate for the topic. The articles and or chapter were clearly read by the student. Sources are current.


There is a clear organization to the paper and transitions are smooth and effective. Tone is appropriately formal. Topic sentences are appropriate for paragraphs and key ideas are explained and described as needed.


Punctuation and grammar are almost completely correct, including proper tenses and voice. Sentences are concise and word choice is precise. Proper paraphrasing is used and quoted passages are only used if appropriate and necessary.


In-text citations, paper format, and references page are in APA style with no mistakes.


(150) Total

Humans of West Texas Project: Paper and Poster Assignment

Paper and Poster due on April 26th at 2:00 pm
For this assignment, students go into the community and become amateur street photographers. You are to find four people, couples, or families whom you consider to be different from yourself or somehow outside the norm in society and who are willing to allow you to take their picture and ask them a few questions. Like the Humans of New York project, students should add a caption to each photograph that best represents the interaction. Most often this caption is in the form of a quote from the subject of the photograph. Some sample questions include:
"What is the meaning of life?"

“How can one achieve happiness?”

"When was the saddest moment of your life?"

"What is the biggest struggle you face?"

"If you could give one piece of advice to a large group of people, what would it be?"

“What do you think makes for a good life?”
Please go to for examples of this project.
There are no specific guidelines for the photographs, except that they must be original photographs taken by the students for purposes of the assignment, and the subject can't be someone students know. You will not be graded on their photography or journalism skills (with the exception of basic writing mechanics), but rather, on the amount of thought, effort, and creativity you bring to the project.
Students write a reflection paper in which they comment on their thoughts about the assignment in general (e.g., biggest fear, challenges faced), their actual experience on the streets (e.g., plan for approaching strangers, chosen location), and the specific connections they made to social psychology as a result of completing the assignment (e.g., challenging stereotypes and prejudice, breaking social norms, using the contact hypothesis, avoiding the fundamental attribution error, increasing cultural awareness, etc.). This paper should be at least 1000 words (and no more than 4000) in length and it should be formatted using APA style. It is due on Canvas before the last class day (e.g., 2pm April 26th)
Before the last day of class, students will compose their photos and quotes into a poster (11x17 or larger piece of paper) and be prepared to talk about their experience with other students in the course. Please print or compose your poster in color and make sure the print is large enough that others can read it from a distance (e.g., 24 point font at least).
Paper grading rubric

(30pts) Student reflected on their experiences in a thoughtful, clear, and concise way.

(30 pts) Student made several connections to social psychology while reflecting on the experience.

(15 pts) The paper was well written, in APA style, and grammar and sentence structure was flawless. The paper flowed.

75 points total
Poster grading rubric

(20 pts) Student presented at least 4 color photographs with quotes

(5 pts) The poster was creative

(10 pts) The student discussed his or her experiences with others

35 points total

1 If you do not know how to format using APA style, please use a reference guide such as OWL: or the APA manual or blog or seek assistance from the instructor or TA. Sloppy and bad formatting and citation will result in lower grade.

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