Psychology 2720B-650 (Online)

Introduction to Social Psychology

If there is a discrepancy between the outline posted below and the outline posted on the OWL course website, the latter shall prevail.


An introduction to the theories, findings, methods, and problems encountered in the study of people as social beings. Emphasis will be placed on experimental research, conducted both in the laboratory and in the field. Content areas include: attitudes and social cognition, social interaction and influence, group processes and applications of social psychology.


Antirequisites: Psychology 2070A/B, 2712F/G, 2780E, the former 170


Antirequisites are courses that overlap sufficiently in content that only one can be taken for credit. So if you take a course that is an antirequisite to a course previously taken, you will lose credit for the earlier course, regardless of the grade achieved in the most recent course.


Prerequisite: At least 60% in a 1000-level Psychology course

0.5 course


Unless you have either the requisites for this course or written special permission from your Dean to enroll in it, you may be removed from this course and it will be deleted from your record. This decision may not be appealed. You will receive no adjustment to your fees in the event that you are dropped from a course for failing to have the necessary prerequisites.


Instructor:        Corey Isaacs


Office:             SSC 7440

Office Hours:   by appointment


The best way to contact me is by email. I will always do my best to respond to your emails within 24 hours, though at especially busy times it may take a little longer. If you would like to meet in person, please email me to arrange a meeting. Please include "Psych 2720B" as part of the subject of any emails you send to me.

If you or someone you know is experiencing distress, there are several resources here at Western to assist you.  Please visit: for more information on these resources and on mental health.

Please contact the course instructor if you require material in an alternate format or if you require any other arrangements to make this course more accessible to you. You may also wish to contact Services for Students with Disabilities (SSD) at 519-661-2111 ext 82147 for any specific question regarding an accommodation.


Aronson, E., Wilson, T. D., Fehr, B., & Akert, R. M. (2016). Social Psychology (6th Canadian Edition). Pearson Education Canada, Inc.

Online notes will be available on the OWL course website ( for each textbook chapter to be covered in the course. The online notes for each chapter will be made available to you on the Sunday of the week pertaining to that chapter (see 7.0 Course Schedule below) and will remain accessible until the end of the course. In the online notes for every chapter, you will find several links to websites that contain related information and videos. You are NOT responsible for these links on the exams; they are provided only for interest. I hope, however, that you will visit some or all of them.


This course will survey basic theory and research in social psychology. You will discover what social psychology is and what social psychologists do. Not only will you learn the basic content of social psychology, but the course should teach you to think critically about such everyday issues as: Does violence in the media affect the amount of violence in society? Why do bystanders to an emergency often fail to help the victim? What are the causes of prejudice? The social psychological perspective helps us to frame questions in a testable way, suggests how we might go about finding out answers, and requires us to evaluate the validity of our proposed answers. Because people are inherently social beings, you will hopefully recognize the applicability of social psychological concepts to your everyday life and can use these ideas to better your own life and the lives of those around you.


By the end of this course, the successful student should be able to:

  • Identify key concepts, principles and overarching themes in social psychology.
  • Interpret and critically evaluate social psychological research.
  • Apply psychological principles to the understanding of everyday problems.
  • Communicate accurately, clearly, and logically, in a way that would be broadly understandable to a non-specialist audience.
  • Recognize the limits of one’s own knowledge and knowledge in the field of psychology and how this might influence the analysis and interpretations of broader issues.
  • Work collaboratively with others to achieve a goal.



Student evaluation will be based on two exams and five online discussions.



% of final grade



Exam 1


Exam 2



5.1  EXAMS


Students must complete two exams consisting of multiple-choice questions. The exams are NOT cumulative. See the Course Schedule below for the list of topics and readings covered on each exam.


All exams will be closed-book—no books, notes, cell phones, or aids of any type will be allowed. Please bring a couple of pencils, a good eraser, a watch, and your student identification to the examinations. It is recommended that you do NOT bring items such as laptops, backpacks, textbooks, notes, etc. with you to examinations. At the beginning of every examination, you will be asked to place all such items in a common area in the exam room and neither the instructor nor Western can be responsible for theft, damage, or loss of such items.




Tests must be written on the scheduled dates unless you have a legitimate excuse recognized by the university administration. Valid reasons include medical or compassionate reasons, and must be substantiated by proper documentation (e.g., a medical certificate, which will be verified by an Academic Counselor in your Faculty). A student who misses a regularly scheduled exam for other reasons, or who cannot justify a claim, will be assigned a 0 for the exam.




There will be five online discussions (each worth 4% of your final grade). Students are expected to participate in all of these discussions, both by posting their own thoughts or observations and by commenting constructively on other students’ comments. Your grade will be earned based on the quantity and quality of your contributions to these discussions. A successful student in online education is one who takes an active role in the learning process. You are therefore encouraged to participate actively in the discussions to enhance your learning experience throughout the course.


Discussions will be graded for the quality and content of your contribution. Examples of quality posts include:

  • providing additional information to the discussion
  • elaborating on previous comments from others
  • presenting explanations of concepts or methods to help fellow students
  • presenting reasons for or against a topic in a persuasive fashion
  • sharing your own personal experiences that relate to the topic
  • providing a URL and explanation for a topic you researched on the Internet


You are strongly encouraged to respond to other students’ postings in addition to replying to students who have responded to your post. For each discussion, you will be assigned a grade out of 4 based on your discussion posts. Grades will be assigned as follows:

0 = Incomplete (no posting, question not answered)

1 = Unsatisfactory (minimal contribution, few if any responses to other students)

2 = Satisfactory (discussion topic addressed, minimal contribution to discussion)

3 = Excellent (posting meets all criteria, provides a valuable contribution to discussion)

4 = Outstanding (posting(s) go beyond basic requirements, present additional information from outside the textbook, and interact well with the other students)

Each discussion will be open for five days, from 12:05 am on Monday until 11:55 pm the following Friday (see 7.0 Course Schedule). Once the discussion closes, no more posts can be made. Please post early in the week to avoid last-minute problems, and always back up your work (screenshots of your forum posts are ideal), as “technical difficulties” is NOT an acceptable excuse for missing a discussion deadline.

Although the Psychology Department does not require instructors to adjust their course grades to conform to specific targets, the expectation is that course marks will be distributed around the following averages:

70%     1000-level and 2000-level courses
72%     2190-2990 level courses
75%     3000-level courses
80%     4000-level courses
The Psychology Department follows the University of Western Ontario grading guidelines, which are as follows (see ):

A+  90-100      One could scarcely expect better from a student at this level
A    80-89        Superior work that is clearly above average
B    70-79        Good work, meeting all requirements, and eminently satisfactory
C    60-69        Competent work, meeting requirements
D    50-59        Fair work, minimally acceptable
F    below 50    Fail


The Midterm Exam is scheduled for Saturday, February 10th, 2018 (time and location to be announced on the course website) and will cover textbook chapters 1 & 3 - 6 and the accompanying online notes.


The Final Exam will be held during the April exam period (April 14 - 30; date and time to be announced on the course website) and will cover textbook chapters 7 - 12 and the accompanying online notes.






Jan. 8 - 12

Chapter 1

Introduction to Social Psychology


Jan. 15 - 19

Chapter 3

Social Cognition: How We
Think About the Social World


Jan. 22 - 26

Chapter 4

Social Perception: How We
Come to Understand Other People


Jan. 29 - Feb. 2

Chapter 5

Self-Knowledge and the
Need to Maintain Self-Esteem


Feb. 5 - 9

Chapter 6

Attitudes and Attitude Change


Feb. 10, 2018

MIDTERM EXAM (Chapters 1, 3 - 6)

Feb. 19 - 23


Feb. 26 - Mar. 2

Chapter 7

Conformity: Influencing Others


March 5 - 9

Chapter 8

Group Processes:
Influence in Social Groups


March 12 - 16

Chapter 9

Interpersonal Attraction: From First Impressions to Close Relationships


March 19 - 23

Chapter 10

Prosocial Behaviour:
Why Do People Help?


Mar. 26 - 30

Chapter 11

Aggression: Why Do We
Hurt Other People?


April 2 - 6

Chapter 12

Prejudice: Causes and Cures


April 14 - 30 

FINAL EXAM (Chapters 7 - 12)


Students are responsible for understanding the nature and avoiding the occurrence of plagiarism and other scholastic offenses. Plagiarism and cheating are considered very serious offenses because they undermine the integrity of research and education. Actions constituting a scholastic offense are described at the following link:

As of Sept. 1, 2009, the Department of Psychology will take the following steps to detect scholastic offenses. All multiple-choice tests and exams will be checked for similarities in the pattern of responses using reliable software, and records will be made of student seating locations in all tests and exams. All written assignments will be submitted to TurnItIn, a service designed to detect and deter plagiarism by comparing written material to over 5 billion pages of content located on the Internet or in TurnItIn’s databases. All papers submitted for such checking will be included as source documents in the reference database for the purpose of detecting plagiarism of papers subsequently submitted to the system. Use of the service is subject to the licensing agreement, currently between Western and

Possible penalties for a scholastic offense include failure of the assignment, failure of the course, suspension from the University, and expulsion from the University.


Western’s policy on Accommodation for Medical Illness can be found at: 

Students must see the Academic Counsellor and submit all required documentation in order to be approved for certain accommodation:


Office of the Registrar web site:

Student Development Services web site:

Please see the Psychology Undergraduate web site for information on the following:

- Policy on Cheating and Academic Misconduct
- Procedures for Appealing Academic Evaluations
- Policy on Attendance
- Policy Regarding Makeup Exams and Extensions of Deadlines
- Policy for Assignments
- Short Absences
- Extended Absences
- Documentation
- Academic Concerns
- 2017 Calendar References

No electronic devices, including cell phones and smart watches, will be allowed during exams.