PSY 456/556 - Social Psychology

Spring 2002
M/W 2:00-3:20, Straub Hall 146

Prof: Sara Hodges, 331 Straub
Office hours:
Tuesday, 1:00-3:00 and by appointment
Phone: 346-4919

COURSE CONTENT/OBJECTIVES/PREREQUISITES: This course focuses on social influences on human behavior. Included among these influences are other people, social situations, learned social cues, and internalized social norms and expectations. The unit of analysis in this course will generally be the individual. Consistent with a traditional social psychological perspective, less emphasis will be placed on individual differences in people's behavior, although we will explore how social influences interact with other influences on behavior, such as development, personality, and biology.

By the end of the course, you should have a good understanding of the major topics of study are in social psychology, and how social psychology research is done. The course is research based, meaning that the information taught is mostly derived from empirical research in social psychology. Thus, you will not only study theories of social behavior, but also study experiments and observations that have been carried out to test and demonstrate the theories. The readings in reading packet are "primary sources"--that is to say, reprints of original journal articles. For this reason, Psychology 302 and 303 (Statistical Methods and Research Methods), or their equivalents, are required as prerequisites for this course.

Many people--formally trained social psychologists and others too--have pointed out that "everyone is a social psychologist." This observation will be capitalized upon--you are strongly encouraged to be on the lookout for examples of the phenomena we are covering in your everyday life. However, keep in mind that many of our "everyday" social psychology theories may not be correct, and that some of the most famous social psychological research findings are counter-intuitive (not what you would expect). In fact, the science of social psychology can sometimes predict how and why everyday social psychology theories will be wrong.

COURSE READINGS: The required texts for this course are The Social Animal by Elliot Aronson (8th edition, 1999) and the course reading packet (available at the bookstore). In addition, there are two optional readings on reserve at the Knight Library about how to read journal articles.

1) Class participation and attendance:
You are expected to attend class. Some topics not found in the reading will be covered in lecture. In addition, there will some in-class activities in which you will be expected to participate. Furthermore, your contributions to the class are a potentially valuable resource to the other class members. I don't plan on taking attendance regularly, but I may do so periodically, and absences will count against your participation grade. I strongly recommend planning to attend EVERY class. If you miss a quiz or an in-class assignment, you cannot make it up. If you miss more than two classes, I will not use office hours to go over what you missed. (I reserve the right to grant exceptions to the two previous statements under dire circumstances, but don't count on being an exception.) If you know you must miss a class, I would appreciate you telling me in advance.

I hope to foster a class environment in which you will feel comfortable speaking up in class, but I realize that some of you may be intimidated by the possibly 60+ other students. You may feel more comfortable making your comments over E-mail, or writing them down and giving them to me, or speaking with me or the GTF.

Your attendance at the scheduled exam period (3:15, Weds., June 12) is mandatory. If you do not attend, you will fail the course.

2) E-mail: If you don't already have an e-mail account, please get one, as there may be additional class information that I will distribute via e-mail. However, in general, I will not use e-mail to discuss things that have not been previously introduced or announced in class. Thus, I may use e-mail to remind you of an assignment that is already on the syllabus or was announced in class, or I may use e-mail to answer a question that someone asked after class. If something is announced first on e-mail, it is almost definite that you will have been told in class that such an announcement is impending and that you should check your e-mail for it, or it will be an announcement that would have been impossible to make in class (for example, if class has to be unexpectedly canceled). The idea is that e-mail will ADD to the amount of instruction you get in this course, rather than REPLACE any traditional instruction.

If you need help getting an e-mail account, go to the University Computing Center.

If you send me E-mail questions about the class, I will try to answer them as soon as I can; however, if they are long or complicated, it is possible (but unlikely) that you will have to wait until my next office hours for an answer.

3) Papers: Paper topics will be distributed in class no less than one week before the paper is due. The first two papers will be short (2-5 pages) and will not require additional reading. The last paper will be longer (7-12 pages) and will require additional reading. All papers in this class will be typed in a readable font, double-spaced, left justified only, and with margins of one inch at the top, bottom, left side and right side (these are all consistent with the APA style). Use the APA Publication Manual (4th edition or 5th edition) style for reference citations. A reference copy of the manual is available in the Knight Library. If you foresee problems meeting these qualifications, please discuss them with me.

In order to improve the quality of papers, and to provide you with experience editing, papers will be peer edited. The system will work this way: On the day that a paper is "due for editing"(see schedule), you will turn your paper in at the beginning of class. At the end of class, you will be given someone else's paper to edit. You will have 2 days to edit the other student's paper, then you will bring the paper to the next class (2 days later) and return it to the student. Your paper, meanwhile, will have been edited by someone else. You will then have a few more days to consider the corrections, incorporate those you think are good, revise the paper, and then turn in your "final version" of the paper AND the corrected original (see schedule for dates). Please note that final versions of papers are due on days that the class does not meet! Your grade on the paper will be based mainly on the final version, but your original will be considered too, in order to prevent people from turning in sloppy first drafts. Your editing will also be evaluated, and you will receive points toward your final grade for it (see grading section, "peer edits"). Guidelines for editing will be distributed in class.

Important note: ALWAYS keep a copy of your paper, either on disk, or a hard copy. Your peer editors are no more reliable than you, perhaps less so, and they may misplace or forget your paper. If your peer editor does not return your edited paper to you, you will not be penalized (except your paper will not have the benefit of having been edited--you may wish to ask a friend in the class to edit your paper for you), but you will still be responsible for turning in an original and final version of the paper when it is due. Also, please keep in mind that just as the quality of students in this course varies, so does the quality of editing. Taking bad advice from a peer editor is no excuse for errors in a paper.

Papers are due at the beginning of class on the day they are due. If you don't turn your paper in at the start of class, it is not be eligible for peer editing, and you will not be given a paper to peer edit (so you will lose your peer editing points). If you cannot be in class the day a paper is due for peer editing, you may turn the paper BEFORE 4 pm the day before it is due to the Psychology Office (Straub 131), and you will be eligible for the peer editing system, but it is your responsibility to arrange to pick up the paper you are to peer edit from me. If you cannot be in class the day peer edited papers are to be returned to their authors, you can also return an edited paper by 4 pm to the Psychology Office the day before papers are to be returned. Note, however, that turning in papers early will probably alert me to your absence from class!

Final version of papers are also due at the beginning of class on the day they are due. Final versions of papers turned in after the start of class are half a day late, with a 5% penalty, up until 4 pm of the due date; papers turned in after 4 are 1 day late with a 10% penalty. Each subsequent day rolls over at 4 pm, with an additional 10% penalty. Do not plan to skip class to finish your paper--your paper will be penalized anyway, and you will miss class and get behind.

4) Reading assignments: Reading assignments should be completed before lecture on the day they are listed on the syllabus. Some information in the reading will not be covered in class. Thus, you must do the reading to cover the full subject matter. The Social Animal is written in an engaging, narrative style (note that APA style for references has not been used--Aronson, the author, has done this so that the text is not interrupted by parenthetical citations). However, most of the chapters in it are not short. The readings in the reading packet are journal articles. They may be shorter in pages than the chapters in The Social Animal, but you will find that it is much harder to digest each page. In other words, you should allow yourself ample time for doing ALL the readings in this class! If you are having troubles reading the articles, you should read the Ellyson and Halberstadt or Jordan and Zanna articles on reserve at the Knight Library.

5) Quizzes/Final Exam: There will be 4 quizzes during the quarter and a final exam during exam week. The quizzes will take approximately 20 minutes (probably 10-15 short answer questions). Your lowest quiz grade will be dropped. Questions will test understanding of concepts more than recognition or identification. Quizzes will cover class material and reading since the last quiz (i.e., they are not cumulative, although later concepts that build on earlier ones are fair game). The final exam is cumulative. You must take the final to pass the course.

6) Group Article Synopsis/Discussion: Along with a group of students, you will be asked to write a synopsis of one of the assigned articles (a format will be provided). Then, on the day your article is covered in class, you and your group will be responsible for generating a 10 minute presentation.


4 quizzes, dropping the lowest one, 
 leaving 3 quizzes @ 50 points each                      = 150 points
2 papers, 2-5 pages each @ 50 points each                = 100 points
1 term paper, 7-12 pages @ 80 points                     = 80 points
3 peer edits, 2 @ 5 points each, 1 @ 10 points           = 20 points
Article synopsis/discussion (with group), 1 @ 25 points  = 25 points
Class participation, attendance, and in-class activities = 25 points
Final exam                                               = 100 points

There is a total of 500 points.

Students enrolled in 556 (i.e., graduate students taking this course) will have additional requirements for the term paper worth (which will be worth 200 points) and will keep a weekly reaction journal, also worth 100 points (due periodically throughout the term) for a total of 700 points. More complete instructions for both the paper and the journal will be distributed. Please see me for details.

Final grades will be curved upwards if I think it is necessary at the end of the quarter.

STUDENTS WITH DISABILITIES: If you have a documented disability and anticipate needing accommodations in this course, please make arrangements to meet with me soon. Please request that the Counselor for Students with Disabilities send a letter verifying your disability.

STUDENTS FOR WHOM ENGLISH IS A SECOND LANGUAGE: In the past, some special arrangements have been made for students whose native language is not English. Please see me if you are a non-native English speaker and think you may have trouble in this course because of language difficulties.