Psychology and Society (4PAHPSOP)
‘No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main’
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.
Educational aims of the module
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 theories and concepts provided by social psychology.
Module Learning Outcomes
At the end of this module, you should be able to:
G1. Appreciate the history and development of social psychology
G2. Describe, compare, and contrast key social psychological theories and approaches, including evolutionary psychology
G3. Understand the relationship between social psychology and other areas of psychology
G4. Understand and discuss social psychological research methods, including qualitative and quantitative methods; and appreciate the strengths and limitations of different methods
G5. 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
G6. Apply theories and concepts from social psychology to describe and explain key contemporary issues such as racism and conflict
Dr Benjamin Gardner ([email protected]) Module co-organiser
Dr Oliver Runswick ([email protected]) Module co-organiser
This module adopts a blended learning approach which means that some components are taught in-person, and some are taught online. The lecture content will be delivered through a series of online videos and activities, whilst small group sessions in the form of practical classes and seminars will be in-person and designed to allow you to interact with each other and the class leaders. The only exception to these in-person sessions is if someone is studying remotely due to COVID-19, in which case an online alternative will be offered. Note that the online alternative will be offered based on the UK time zone.
Lecture-based learning (online)
Lecture-based teaching covers ten substantive topics, each of which has a set of specific Learning Outcomes attached. Each topic is introduced by a short online video from the Topic Lecturer. You can then work through the lecture-based teaching, provided as a series of pre-recorded online lectures, at your own pace. These lecture videos will typically be divided up into chunks, the total duration of which will not exceed 100mins per topic. Captions and transcripts have been automatically created for these videos, which you may find useful, but do note that automatic creation means that they may not be 100% accurate.
Some of the lecture videos have activities associated with them, in which case this will be clearly indicated on KEATS. Some of these activities take the form of a short quiz. This is not part of your formal assessment on the module, but it is important to ensure you understand the content before moving on. You may not be able to access the next lecture video until you have passed a certain number of questions on the quiz relating to the previous video or topic. As well as supporting your learning, completing these quizzes allows us to monitor progress and engagement which we would do in person under normal circumstances.
Seminar- and practical-based teaching
Each topic is normally associated with either a seminar or practical activity in addition to lecture-based teaching. The only exceptions to this are Topic 4, for which you have both a seminar and a practical, and Topic 5, for which you have neither a seminar nor a practical.
All students are expected to travel to campus for these unless they have advised us of COVID-related reasons that this is not possible and been approved to attend the online alternative.
You may be required to complete work set in advance of the seminars and practicals. This will likely take the format of reading but may involve other activities, so please check KEATS in advance to make sure you have adequate time to prepare.
While seminars cover material relevant to the substantive topics covered in the lecture-based teaching, the seminars also represent a discrete strand of learning covering how to understand, collate and communicate theoretical and empirical evidence. There are three overarching Learning Outcomes specific to seminar-based teaching.
Practicals not only cover material relevant to the substantive topics covered in the lecture-based topics, but also represent a discrete strand of learning covering empirical methods and methodologies commonly used in social psychology. The first four practicals each address a unique set of Learning Outcomes relating to understanding and applying specific methods.
Each topic is associated with set reading. This is usually from the Sutton and Douglas textbook but may also draw on other sources. All reading is categorized as core, recommended or additional. You must read the core reading, but the recommended and additional reading may be read only for selected topics of interest to you.
Some of your directed teaching takes place online as explained above (e.g., lecture-based learning, forum activities, quizzes), but other online support is also available. On the module page for ‘Psychology and Society’ you can find all key resources for the module and two forums. The first is an announcements forum which allows the module leaders to alert you to important information. You will also have access to a Module Discussion Forum where you can ask questions on module material and discuss relevant topics with your peers. The module leaders (or GTAs) will aim to respond to questions posted on this forum within three working days. Additionally, the module leaders run an online ‘Drop-in Discussion Hour’ (also known as an Office Hour) on Microsoft Teams once a week during Weeks 1-10 (i.e. not in Reading Week). The details, including a link to the online room are available on KEATS. This is a designated period when you can come to discuss anything related to the module, such as queries about lecture video content or coursework, or broader discussion about the applicability of topic material to real-world contexts.
You are expected to supplement the activities above with independent study. This could include:
- Extra reading: Students are encouraged to read around their subject, considering academic and non-academic related sources.
- Review your learning: You will need to do a certain amount of reviewing to work through the activities identified above, but you should also set aside a little time to reflect on both how you are learning and what you are learning.
This module is assessed through one coursework assignment and an examination, each of which contribute 50% of your final module grade.
The coursework consists of one assignment comprising two components (a Written Piece, and an Evidence Table). You will have the opportunity to submit a draft of this assignment in Reading Week for feedback, before handing in the final version of the assignment in Week 11 (i.e. one week after the teaching term ends). The coursework assignments will be available on the KEATs page for the module from Week 1 and we recommend you access this information as soon as possible.
The examination for this module will take place in the first Examination Period. The exam will be made up of 50 multiple choice questions and will be completed online.
Module text (regular essential reading):
The following text will be given to you free of charge in e-book format:
Sutton, R., & Douglas, K. (2019) Social Psychology (2nd edition). London: Red Globe Publishing.
Texts for further reading:
Further texts relevant to each topic are provided in My Reading List.
You are expected to engage with all components of the module, and you are responsible for keeping up to date with your work and, for example, noting key dates and deadlines. We will monitor engagement to help us understand how all students are engaging (e.g., if some resources are accessed more than others), and identify any students who might need extra support. Attendance will be taken at all small-group teaching sessions (practical classes, seminars and any online alternatives). We will of course also monitor who submits assessed work. Finally, we will use your completion records on KEATS to see where you are up to in the module and may reach out to you about this via email. If at any point you are struggling with the module or your studies more generally, remember you can contact your personal tutor for general difficulties or, if it is module specific, contact the module leaders.
The student workload for this module, in line with University Benchmarks for a 15-credit module, is a total of 150 hours of study. The approximate split of your time is shown below:
As you can see, you spend a relatively small proportion of your time in face-to-face teaching and lecture-based learning and have a significant allocation to self-directed learning which will include additional (optional) readings, completion of KEATS self-assessment questions, and associated activities.
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