Social Psychology

I.     Course Prefix/Number: PSY 202

       Course Name: Social Psychology

       Credits: 3 (3 lecture; 0 lab)

II.    Prerequisite

None

III.   Course (Catalog) Description

Course focuses on scientific study of individual behavior as affected by presence of others. Content includes interpersonal attraction, aggression, prejudice, attributions, persuasion, attitudes, social influence, norms, and conformity.

IV.   Learning Objectives

The student will:

  1. Characterize the nature of social psychology as a discipline including the abilities to:
    1. Explain why social psychology is a science.
    2. Compare and contrast the assumptions and methods of social psychology with those of related disciplines. (APA Goal 1, Outcome 1.1)
  2. Use the concepts, language, and major theories of social psychology to account for psychological phenomena. (APA Goal 1, Outcome 1.3)
  3. Explain different research methods used by psychologists and articulate the strengths and limitations of various research designs. (APA Goal 2, Outcome 2.2)
  4. Use critical thinking effectively by: challenging claims that arise from myth, stereotype, or untested assumptions; using scientific principles and evidence to resolve conflicting claims; recognizing and defending against common fallacies in thinking; avoiding being swayed by appeals to emotion or authority; and evaluating popular media reports of psychological research. (APA Goal 3, Outcome 3.1)
  5. Identify appropriate applications of social psychology in solving problems and articulate how social psychological principles can be used to explain social issues and inform public policy. (APA Goal 4, Outcomes 4.2, 4.3)
  6. Recognize and respect human diversity by exhibiting sensitivity to issues of power, privilege, and discrimination. (APA Goal 5, Outcome 5.5)
  7. Use information and technology ethically and responsibly by quoting, paraphrasing, and citing correctly from a variety of media sources, defining and avoiding plagiarism, avoiding distorting statistical results, and honoring commercial and intellectual copyrights. (APA Goal 6, Outcome 6.3)
  8. Demonstrate effective writing skills in various formats (e.g., essays, correspondence, technical papers, note taking) and for various purposes (e.g., informing, defending, explaining, persuading, arguing, teaching). (APA Goal 7, Outcome 7.1)
  9. Exhibit the ability to collaborate effectively by working with groups to complete projects within reasonable time frames, soliciting and integrating diverse viewpoints, and managing conflicts appropriately and ethically (APA Goal 7, Outcome 7.5).
  10. Recognize, understand, and respect the complexity of sociocultural and international diversity by: interacting effectively and sensitively with people of diverse abilities, backgrounds, and cultural perspectives; understanding how privilege, power, and oppression may affect prejudice, discrimination, and inequity; and recognizing prejudicial attitudes and discriminatory behaviors that might exist in themselves and in others. (APA Goal 8, Outcomes 8.1, 8.4, 8.5)

V.    Academic Integrity and Student Conduct

Students and employees at Oakton Community College are required to demonstrate academic integrity and follow Oakton's Code of Academic Conduct. This code prohibits:

• cheating,
• plagiarism (turning in work not written by you, or lacking proper citation),
• falsification and fabrication (lying or distorting the truth),
• helping others to cheat,
• unauthorized changes on official documents,
• pretending to be someone else or having someone else pretend to be you,
• making or accepting bribes, special favors, or threats, and
• any other behavior that violates academic integrity.

There are serious consequences to violations of the academic integrity policy. Oakton's policies and procedures provide students a fair hearing if a complaint is made against you. If you are found to have violated the policy, the minimum penalty is failure on the assignment and, a disciplinary record will be established and kept on file in the office of the Vice President for Student Affairs for a period of 3 years.

Please review the Code of Academic Conduct and the Code of Student Conduct, both located online at
www.oakton.edu/studentlife/student-handbook.pdf

VI.   Sequence of Topics

  1. What is Social Psychology
    1. Definition
    2. Methods of research and ethical considerations in research
    3. Compare and contrast with sociology, psychology
    4. Development of the discipline
  2. Conformity
    1. Variables increasing or decreasing conformity
      1. Examples from social psychologists such as Asch, Schlacter, Milgram
  3. Propaganda and persuasion
    1. Media
    2. Government and politics
    3. Other areas
  4. The Self
    1. Identity
    2. Comparison of social-psychological views with other disciplinary view of self
  5. Self-justification
  6. Aggression
    1. Frustration aggression, Freudian, Social learning theories
    2. Relation to individual like, family like, and national-international problems
  7. Prejudice
    1. Theories of prejudice
    2. Methods of combating prejudice
  8. Attraction
    1. Social
    2. In the dyad
  9. Attitudes and behavior change
    1. Components of attitudes
    2. Attitude change methods
  10. Affiliation
  11. Altruism
  12. Group process
  13. Social perception
    1. Other person perception
    2. Perception of the situation
    3. Perception of the self

VII.  Methods of Instruction

Methods include lecture, discussion, online exercises, collaborative assignments, and case studies that foster critical thinking about the subject.
Course may be taught as face-to-face, hybrid or online course.

VIII. Course Practices Required

This course relies on the student’s ability to read and understand college-level text material.  Students will be required to write for the class the equivalent of 12-15 typed pages of material that will be graded.  This writing may take the form of a research or term paper, recording of observations, summaries of journal articles, and/or a series of shorter, analytical papers.

IX.   Instructional Materials

Note: Current textbook information for each course and section is available on Oakton's Schedule of Classes.

Representative texts:

Aronson, E., Wilson, T. D., & Akert, R. (2013).  Social Psychology (8th ed.).  Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.

X.    Methods of Evaluating Student Progress

Exams and quizzes, possibly brief or term papers, successful participation in online, field and in-class projects.

XI.   Other Course Information

  1. Attendance is mandatory.
  2. Policy on make-up exams and late turn in of assignments as prescribed by the individual instructor.
  3. The Learning Center will be utilized as prescribed by the individual instructor.


If you have a documented learning, psychological, or physical disability you may be entitled to reasonable academic accommodations or services. To request accommodations or services, contact the Access and Disability Resource Center at the Des Plaines or Skokie campus. All students are expected to fulfill essential course requirements. The College will not waive any essential skill or requirement of a course or degree program.

Oakton Community College is committed to maintaining a campus environment emphasizing the dignity and worth of all members of the community, and complies with all federal and state Title IX requirements.

Resources and support for
  • pregnancy-related and parenting accommodations; and
  • victims of sexual misconduct
can be found at www.oakton.edu/title9/.

Resources and support for LGBTQ+ students can be found at www.oakton.edu/lgbtq.