Special Topics in Social Psychology: Understanding the Social in 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.
1.0 CALENDAR DESCRIPTION
Selected topics of current interest in social psychology.
Drawing from North American and European social psychology, the focus of this course is to develop a
deeper understanding of what social means in social psychology. Four major theoretical orientations will
be reviewed that seek to understand how people know themselves, the worlds (physical, social,
environmental) around them, and their relationship with those worlds. These alternative theoretical
orientations include: 1—Social Cognition Models, 2—Social Identity Theory, 3—Social Representations
Theory, and 4—Discursive Psychology. Six central topic areas in social psychology are considered from
these alternative theoretical orientations: social perception, attitudes, attributions, self and identity,
prejudice, and ideology. Throughout the course, we will highlight points of commonality and difference
between the theroetcial foundations and consider the need for a theoretically integrated account of what it
means to be a social individual.
Prerequisites: Psychology 2820E, or both of Psychology 2800E and 2810, plus registration in third or fourth year Honors Specialization in Psychology or Honors Specialization in Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience. Other Psychology students and Psychology Special Students who receive 75% in the prerequisite courses may enrol in this course
Unless you have either the prerequisites for this course or written special permission from your Dean to enrol 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.
3 seminar hours, 0.5 course
2.0 COURSE INFORMATION
Instructor: Dr. Rachel Calogero
Office and Phone Number: Room 321, Westminster Hall, (519) 661-2111, ext 80403
Office Hours: By appointment
Time and Location of Classes: Thursday, 1:30 am to 4:30 pm, 20F
If you or someone you know is experiencing distress, there are several resources here at Western to assist you. Please visit: http://www.uwo.ca/uwocom/mentalhealth/ 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.
In so doing, be sure to include Psyc 4790G in the subject line so that I can respond in a timely fashion. I will try to respond to e-mails within 1 business day. For example, if I receive an e-mail from you on Friday morning at 8:15 a.m., I will try to respond by Monday at 8:15 a.m. Remember e-mail is a professional correspondence. If you would like to receive a reply, please include a salutation (e.g., Hi Professor Calogero or Dear Dr. C) and a closing (e.g., Sincerely, Jane Johnson, Thanks, Will Ferrell). This general etiquette applies to any academic and/or professional correspondence.
Augoustinos, M., Walker, I., & Donaghue, N. (2014). Social cognition: An integrated introduction (3rd ed.). Sage.
Additional primary level readings will be assigned where relevant.
4.0 COURSE OBJECTIVES
Drawing from North American and European social psychology, the focus of this course is to develop a deeper understanding of what social means in social psychology. Four major theoretical orientations will be reviewed that seek to understand how people know themselves, the worlds (physical, social, environmental) around them, and their relationship with those worlds. These alternative theoretical orientations include: 1—Social Cognition Models, 2—Social Identity Theory, 3—Social Representations Theory, and 4—Discursive Psychology. Six central topic areas in social psychology are considered from these alternative theoretical orientations: social perception, attitudes, attributions, self and identity, prejudice, and ideology. Throughout the course, we will highlight points of commonality and difference between the major theoretical orientations, strengths and limitations of each orientation, and consider the need for a theoretically integrated account of what it means to be a social individual.
Lecture attendance in this course is considered to be mandatory. Lectures are intended to complement the
textbook, which means I will present some information that is not included in the textbook. Class attendance will significantly increase how much you get out of this course. Students who miss lectures perform dramatically worse on assessed work.
Please keep in mind that your fellow students may not share your religious affiliations, political beliefs, cultural backgrounds, economic, ethnic, or sexual orientations. Some topics covered in this course are sensitive in nature and a variety of opinions and views are to be expected. To ensure a positive learning experience and full participation by all, please listen with an open mind and express your thoughts and responses in a respectful manner. When questions and/or discussion do occur during lecture, please be constructive and respectful of the topic, the instructor, and other people in the class.
4.1 STUDENT LEARNING OUTCOMES
By the end of this course, the successful student should be able to do the following, which will be assessed
through weekly quizzes, a class presentation, and final written paper:
• Define and distinguish four major theoretical orientations in social psychology
• Identify key empirical approaches associated with each of the major perspectives
• Explain how each theoretical orientation provides different understandings of central concepts in
• Recognize limitations within each of the theoretical orientations
• Apply an integrated approach (drawing from the four orientations) to the study of a contemporary social issue
The course grade is based on four components: class participation, weekly quizzes, class presentation,
and final paper.
1 - Class participation in weekly discussions. Class attendance is required. (20%)
2 - Weekly quizzes consisting of five short answer questions. There will be 7 quizzes in total. The lowest
quiz mark will be dropped. (20%)
3 - Class presentation. You will work in pairs to create and deliver a presentation to the class that applies
two of the theoretical orientations reviewed in this course to understanding a real-world phenomenon
relevant to social psychology (should fall under one of the six central concepts covered in this course).
Presentation will explain the topic from each perspective and a potential method for studying it. (30%)
4 - Final paper. You will write a paper that applies the four theoretical orientations to a real-world
phenomenon relevant to social psychology and discuss implications for advancing insight into this
phenomenon. The paper topic must be different from the presentation topic. The paper should be at least
10 pages and no more than 12 pages, double-spaced, excluding title page and references. (30%)
PLEASE NOTE: Because this is an essay course, as per Senate Regulations, you must pass the essay
component to pass the course. That is, the average mark for your written assignments must be at least
** Please note that I do not make grade adjustments (e.g., applying a bell curve to the distribution of
marks on a test or paper). Also, I cannot adjust marks on the basis of need (e.g., because a certain mark
is needed to get into a particular academic program).
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 Western's grading guidelines, which are as follows (see http://www.uwo.ca/univsec/pdf/academic_policies/general/grades_undergrad.pdf):
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
Final papers are due on Thursday, April 18 by 4pm. A hard copy must be delivered to my office by this
6.0 TEST AND EXAMINATION SCHEDULE
7.0 CLASS SCHEDULE
January 10: Course Introduction and Organization
January 17: Theoretical Orientations: Social Cogntiive Models & Social Identity Theory Chapter 1, 2 Quiz 1
January 24: Theoretical Orientations: Social Representations Theory & Discursive Psychology Chapter 2 Quiz 2
January 31: Social Perception Chapter 3 Quiz 3
February 7: Attitudes Chapter 4 Quiz 4
February 14: Attributions Chapter 5 Quiz 5
February 21: READING WEEK
February 28: Self & Identity Chapter 6 Quiz 6
March 7: Prejudice & Ideology Chapter 7, 8 Quiz 7
March 14: Presentations Workshop
March 21: Class Presentations
March 28: Class Presentations
April 4: Class Presentations & Wrap-up
April 18: Final paper due by 4pm
8.0 STATEMENT ON ACADEMIC OFFENCES
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: http://www.uwo.ca/univsec/pdf/academic_policies/appeals/scholastic_discipline_undergrad.pdf
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 Turnitin.com http://www.turnitin.com
Possible penalties for a scholastic offense include failure of the assignment, failure of the course, suspension from the University, and expulsion from the University.
9.0 POLICY ON ACCOMMODATION FOR MEDICAL ILLNESS
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:
10.0 OTHER INFORMATION
Office of the Registrar web site: http://registrar.uwo.ca
Student Development Services web site: http://www.sdc.uwo.ca
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
- Academic Concerns
- 2018 Calendar References
No electronic devices, including cell phones and smart watches, will be allowed during exams.