Social Psychology

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Social Psychology

Social Psychology – the study of how other people influence how we think, feel, and act – is a central aspect of human psychology. In simply terms, social psychology studies how we think about ourselves, how we think about other individuals, and how we think about groups of people. These form the intrapersonal, interpersonal, and intergroup aspects of psychology. Within these areas we look at a wide range of behaviours, from helping to harming, loving to hating. We also look from the level of the mind to the whole of society. What unifies these approaches is a keen focus on the social. The Social Psychology lectures follow on from Psychology 1. We will start by focusing on the important domain of attitudes – a central concept in social psychology. We will examine what they are, what they are for, and how we can change them. Next, we will look at interpersonal interaction. We will examine how we get to know and understand others, specifically in the context of romantic relationships. Finally, we will look at how our knowledge of the group to which someone belongs can be used to inform our understanding of who they are.

Indicative content:

The basics of attitudes: introducing the concept of attitudes, define them psychologically, and examine where attitudes might come from.

Attitudes and behaviour: examining the idea that attitudes are closely tied to behaviour. It will look at when and how attitudes influence our actions.

Attitude change and persuasion: looking at why attitudes change and how that change can be directed.

Impression formation: how we form impressions of others on the basis of their face, their general appearance, and their environment.

Impression and romantic relationships: apply your understading of impressions to the context of romantic relationships. It will additionally introduce features that distort our impressions. 

Stereotypes: looking at major area of social psychological work in stereotypes. We will examine why people use them, and how they change the way we view the world.

The lectures are accompanied by a lab and a tutorial.

Learning Outcomes: 

By the end of the course, students should be able to understand the above-described course content. They should also be ready to understand why social psychology is an important and relevant domain of research. They should also understand the challenges pertaining to the research into social phenomena.


Lecture 1: Sweldens, S., Corneille, O., & Yzerbyt, V. (2014). The role of awareness in attitude formation through evaluative conditioning. Personality And Social Psychology Review, 18(2), 187-209.

Lecture2: Ajzen, I. (2011). The theory of planned behaviour: Reactions and reflections. Psychology & Health, 26(9), 1113-1127.

Lecture 3: Whittler, T. E., & Manolis, C. (2015). Toward understanding persuasion expressions: The activation of attitudes. Psychology & Marketing, 32(8), 874-890.

Lecture 4: Todorov, A., & Porter, J. M. (2014). Misleading first impressions: Different for different facial images of the same person. Psychological Science, 25(7), 1404-1417

Lecture 5: Collins, W. A., Welsh, D. P., & Furman, W. (2009). Adolescent romantic relationships. Annual Review Of Psychology, 60631-652.

Lecture6: Fiske, S. T., Cuddy, A. C., & Glick, P. (2007). Universal dimensions of social cognition: Warmth and competence. Trends In Cognitive Sciences, 11(2), 77-83.