Social psychology

Humans are inherently social. Understanding the psychology of the individual depends on understanding how individuals respond to, and are influenced by, social settings. This module provides an overview of social psychology, the scientific study of how people think, feel and behave in social contexts.

The module aims to cover fundamental concepts, theories, methods, and empirical insights from social psychology, and to illustrate them in relation to contemporary applied issues (e.g. racism, conflict, crowd behaviour). Later in the module, ‘crises’ in social psychology are covered as one of these contemporary issues, providing the opportunity to critique social psychology itself, and science more broadly, using the theories and concepts provided by social psychology.

  • The Self
  • error and biases
  • attitudes, emotions and behaviour
  • attitude change and persuasion
  • social influence
  • the presence of others
  • social categorisation
  • antisocial behaviour
  • prosocial behaviour

If you complete the course successfully, you should be able to:

  • Appreciate the history and development of social psychology.
  • Describe, compare and contrast key social psychological theories and approaches, including evolutionary psychology.
  • Understand the relationship between social psychology and other areas of psychology.
  • Understand and discuss social psychological research methods, including qualitative and quantitative methods; and appreciate the strengths and limitations of different methods.
  • Understand, and describe in language accessible to the lay public, key topics in social psychology including attitudes, attribution, intra- and inter-group behaviour, conformity, persuasion and social identity.
  • Apply theories and concepts from social psychology to describe and explain key contemporary issues such as racism and conflict.

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