Psychology 3720F 650 SU24

The Psychology of Prosocial and Antisocial Behaviour

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



LONDON              CANADA

Department of Psychology

Summer Distance 2024


Psychology 3720F   Section 650

The Psychology of Prosocial and Antisocial Behaviour





The course will consider the social, situational and personality factors responsible for the occurrence of antisocial behaviours such as violence and aggression, and of prosocial behaviours such as helping others in disaster or crisis situations.



Both Psychology 2801F/G and Psychology 2811A/B, or the former Psychology 2820E, or both the former Psychology 2800E and the former Psychology 2810 (or Psychology 2780E or permission of the Department at Huron).



3 lecture/discussion hours, 0.5 course


Unless you have either the prerequisites 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:                                                 Dr. Graeme Haynes            

       Office Hours:                                             By appointment, via Zoom            




Delivery Method: On-line (asynchronous)  


This is a fully online course that will use Western University’s learning platform, Brightspace, and other educational resources based on the needs of the course.  As such, all students must have a reliable internet connection and computer that are compatible with online learning system requirements.  Supplementary online Powerpoint slideshows (which correspond with the assigned weekly chapter readings) will be posted on Brightspace every Monday morning, and will remain available for the rest of the course. This class is designed to be asynchronous, meaning we will not have a regular, mandatory time when the entire class must be online.  However, there may be some synchronous activities that you will sign up for based on your own schedule, including office hour appointments with the professor.


Email is the best way to contact me, and if need be, I can be available to meet with you in person, or over Zoom. 


When sending me an email, please make sure to use proper email etiquette (e.g., start with a greeting), and include the following information: your name, the course you are in (I’m teaching several different courses this semester), and your question.


Sample email:


Hi Prof. Haynes,


This is [insert name here] from your Psychology 3720G class.  I have a few questions about my research proposal and I was wondering if we could set up a Zoom meeting next week to discuss them?






If you adhere to these guidelines, I promise to reply to all emails within 24 hours.


Students who are in emotional/mental distress should refer to Health and Wellness @Western for a complete list of options about how to obtain help. 


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 contact Accessible Education at  or 519-661-2147.




Dovidio, J. F., Piliavin, J. A., Schroeder, D. A., & Penner, L. A. (2006). The Social Psychology of Prosocial Behaviour, 1st Edition. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates. (For Part 1 of the course)


Krahe, B. (2020). The Social Psychology of Aggression, 3nd Edition. New York: Psychology Press. (For Part 2 of the course)


NOTE: An ebook version of both textbooks will be available for free on our Brightspace course website. There is no need to purchase a physical copy or e-copy of these books.




The objectives of this course are:

To teach students about key theories, methods and findings in the scientific study of prosocial and antisocial behavior

To provide students with the adequate tools to generate a research idea and to write a research proposal according to APA standards

To encourage students to think critically and apply their knowledge through online discussions with their colleagues

       4.1           STUDENT LEARNING OUTCOMES


Learning Outcome

Learning Activity


Depth and Breadth of Knowledge 


Identify and describe the biological, psychological, and social factors that influence people’s prosocial and antisocial behaviour. 


Assigned readings, online discussions, research proposal

Exams, online discussions, research proposal


Evaluation of Knowledge 


Critically evaluate theories, research methods, and findings from the study of prosocial and antisocial behaviour 


Assigned readings, online discussions, research proposal


Exams, online discussions, research proposal


Application of Knowledge 


Apply theoretical principles and research findings to examples of social behaviour 


Assigned readings, online discussions, research proposal

Exams, online discussions, research proposal


Awareness of Limits of Knowledge 


Describe and explain the limits of research conclusions in the context of methodological practices within the field 


Assigned readings, online discussions, research proposal

Exams, online discussions, research proposal


Communication Skills 


Communicate ideas clearly and concisely, in language accessible to intelligent non-experts 


Online discussions, research proposal

Exams, online discussions, research proposal




The evaluation and testing formats for this course were created to assess the learning objectives as listed in section 4.0 and are considered necessary for meeting these learning objectives.


Grades will be based on the scale presented below. You may wish to record your grades here.

Component                                           Value                                              Grade

Discussion forums                                  15%                                                ____________

Midterm Exam                                            25%                                                ____________     

Research proposal                                 30%                                                _____     ___

Final exam                                              30%                                                ____________


  1. Discussion Forums (15%)


Online discussions related to issues from three of the weekly topics will be held on Brightspace, during the weeks noted in the course schedule (Section 7.0).  Each discussion will remain active for only one week, so it is your responsibility to know the deadlines for making your posts. 


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.  A substantive posting usually will reflect on a course concept or idea and will demonstrate a critical appraisal of the material or application thereof. Generally, posts should be about 250-300 words. Examples of quality posts include:

  • providing clear, coherent responses that directly address the topic at hand;
  • presenting explanations of concepts or methods from the textbook or lecture materials to support your points;
  • presenting reasons for or against a topic in a persuasive fashion;
  • sharing your own personal experiences that relate to the topic;


For each post, you will be assigned a grade out of 5, based on the following criteria:

0–2.5 = Unsatisfactory    Post is brief and uninformative, does not contribute any insight to the topic, the question is not answered fully.

3-3.5 = Satisfactory     Post is somewhat informative, demonstrates basic understanding of the material, but merits a more clear or further explanation.

4-4.5 = Very Good        Post is informative, demonstrates strong understanding of the material, and contributes substantial insight.

5 = Outstanding           Post goes beyond basic requirements, demonstrates excellent critical appraisal, shows evidence of considerable reading beyond course text.

To earn the full five points, you must demonstrate that you have given the topic serious thought, resulting in interesting observations and/or questions. You don’t have to be right (in fact frequently there won’t be a “right” answer) but you do have to demonstrate that you have thought in depth about the issue.


  1. Research Proposal (30%)


You are required to write a research proposal, which is worth 30% of the final grade. Aim for between 10-12 typed, double-spaced pages, excluding cover page and references (approx. 2500 words, excluding cover page & references). It is due on Friday, July 26th, at 5:00 P.M. Your goal is to propose a study (preferably an experiment) that would extend our understanding of any area in prosocial or antisocial behavior. Note that you will not actually conduct the study.


I suggest that you begin by choosing a topic area that interests you (scan through your textbooks for an overview of possible topic areas). Then, to get ideas for possible studies, conduct a literature review to find out what has been done in this area. PsycINFO will provide an up-to-date listing of published studies in your chosen area, and can be accessed from the library’s website ( Feel free to contact me if you wish to discuss your preliminary ideas.


The write-up of your proposal should include (1) an "Introduction", (2) a "Method" section, and (3) an "Anticipated Results and Discussion" section.


As a general guide, the literature review and the description of the hypothesis/hypotheses should be 4-6 pages in length, the method should be 1-3 pages in length, and the anticipated results & discussion should be 3-4 pages.


(1) The Introduction should introduce your topic area (the general issue or problem). Past research that is directly relevant to your proposed study should be reviewed to show what has already been done. Then you should explain why another study is necessary (i.e., you should explain how your study will extend past research in this area). Finally, state the specific predictions of your proposed study. Note that your predictions should follow logically from the literature reviewed (e.g., "given [this set of findings] and [this set of findings] we can predict [this new finding]"). Avoid proposing an "exploratory study" where no firm predictions can be made. I strongly encourage you to contact me if you wish to discuss these issues in more detail.


**It would be very helpful to read the introduction sections of several articles to get a better idea of how an introduction is supposed to flow**


(2) The Method section should present details about how the study would be conducted. To facilitate the organization of this section, you should include two major sub-sections. The "Participants" subsection should include a brief description of who the participants are and where they would be obtained. The "Procedure" sub-section should include a detailed description of the procedures you would use, including (a) specific instructions that would be provided to participants, (b) how the independent variable(s) would be manipulated, and (c) how the dependent variable(s) would be measured. Except in rare circumstances, you should not include a separate "Apparatus/Materials" section that describes your measures; instead, integrate this material into the procedure sub-section. A useful rule of thumb: Your procedures should be presented in the order that they will occur (e.g., don’t mention “debriefing” before you’ve presented the independent and dependent variables). If you have any questions about this section of your proposal, please see me.


(3) The Anticipated Results and Discussion section should present the anticipated results, including a Table or Figure that illustrates all of your conditions and clearly shows how the conditions are expected to differ (use hypothetical numbers for purposes of exposition). Do not include inferential statistics (e.g. Fs, ts or standard deviations). Including these statistics would make it look like you actually conducted the study (which you didn’t). Make sure that you describe the contents of any Tables/Figures in the text of your paper. Note that you do not have to explain how you would analyze the results. You should then relate your predicted findings back to the material in the Introduction and reiterate how the findings would extend past research in this area. You should also discuss “specific limitations” of your study, 6 and speculate about “directions for future research” (again, be specific).


Finally, a list of "References" (which includes the sources of all material cited in your paper) should be appended. Current journal articles will provide useful examples of how to structure the various sections of your proposal. If you are majoring in psychology, you should use this opportunity to practice following the guidelines that are set forth in the APA Publication Manual (6th Edition).


Additional resources with tips for writing research proposals will be posted on OWL.


The deadline for submitting the research proposal (Friday, July 26th, 2024, 5:00 P.M. EDT) is firm. Three marks out of 30 will be deducted if the paper is not handed in on time; the penalty will increase by 3/30 each day that the paper is late. Please note: Problems with computers will not be considered legitimate reasons for extending the deadline. You should anticipate (and avoid) these problems in advance (e.g., ensure that you maintain a backup copy of your work; regularly scan your computer for viruses; finish the paper before the deadline). In any event, papers will not be accepted after the Final Exam, which will be scheduled by the Registrar during the Summer Distance Final Examination Period.


Recommended Schedule for completing the Research Proposal:


May: Find area that interests you (skim readings, textbooks, etc.).


June: Review past research in this area (PsycInfo). How can past research be extended? Develop outline of research proposal (Intro, Method, Anticipated R&D) Discuss ideas with me (any time).


July: Write first draft (July 1 - 10). Write second draft (July 11 - 21); focus on writing style/organization. Submit draft to Turnitin and check for “matches” (July 22). Revise and submit Final Draft by July 26th at 5:00 P.M.


Extensions will only be granted if you have a documented reason approved by your home faculty’s academic counselling office.


  1. Exams (25% and 30%)


Exams will take place synchronously on-line, and will be proctored remotely with Proctortrack. By taking this course, you are consenting to the use of this software and acknowledge that you will be required to provide personal information (including some biometric data) and the session will be recorded.  Completion of this course will require you to have a reliable internet connection and a device that meets the technical requirements for this service.  More information about this remote proctoring service, including technical requirements, is available on Western’s Remote Proctoring website at:


Exams are closed-book, and it is expected that all students will complete the exams independently with no communication between classmates.  The use of programs that translate from English to another language are not permitted.  You will have 120 minutes to complete the exams from start to finish (plus additional time for students who have documented accommodations which allow for extra time).  The exams will be non-linear, meaning you will be able to return to earlier questions.  Once you start, you cannot stop or pause.  You will access this exam and submit your answers through the Proctortrack tab on our Brightspace site.


The midterm exam, covering material from the first five modules of the course (prosocial behaviour), will take place on Saturday, June 8th, from 9:00 A.M. – 12:00 P.M.


The final exam, covering material from the last six modules of the course (antisocial behaviour) will take place during the August exam period (July 29 – Aug. 1, specific time TBA).  


Each exam is non-cumulative, and will consist of a combination of short-answer and long-answer questions.  For each exam, you are responsible for material assigned in the textbook, as well as material covered in supplementary online lectures. 




Make-Up Exams:  The final exam must be written on the scheduled date unless you have a legitimate excuse recognized by the university administration.  To receive permission to write the makeup exam, you must provide appropriate documentation to your home faculty’s academic counselling office. Valid reasons include medical or compassionate reasons, internet access issues (if exam is on-line), and religious holidays, and must be substantiated by proper documentation (e.g., a medical certificate, which will be verified by the Office of the Dean). If your absence is approved, a makeup final exam will be written at a later date in August.  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.


Assignments: To receive an extension for the research proposal, you must provide appropriate documentation to your academic counselling office.


Discussion Forums: Students who are unable to submit a discussion forum post by the due dates specified in this syllabus must contact their professor explaining the circumstances.  It is at the discretion of the professor to decide whether the due date will be extended and/or a late penalty will apply.    




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 50%.


This course is exempt from the Senate requirement that students receive assessment of their work accounting for at least 15% of their final grade at least three full days before the date of the deadline for withdrawal from a course without academic penalty.


The expectation for course grades within the Psychology Department is that they will be distributed around the following averages:


70% 1000-level to 2099-level courses

72% 2100-2999-level courses

75% 3000-level courses

80% 4000-level courses


The Psychology Department follows Western’s 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


Note that in the event that course grades are significantly higher or lower than these averages, instructors may be required to make adjustments to course grades. Such adjustment might include the normalization of one or more course components and/or the re-weighting of various course components.


To ensure fairness, please be aware that final grades in this course are based exclusively on students’ performance on the exams, assignments, and discussion forums noted above. None of these components may be rewritten, nor will they be reweighted in calculating final grades.


Policy on Grade Rounding: Please note that although course grades within the Psychology Department are rounded to the nearest whole number, no further grade rounding will be done. No additional assignments will be offered to enhance a final grade; nor will requests to change a grade because it is needed for a future program be considered. To maximize your grade, do your best on each and every assessment within the course.







Midterm Exam

Sat. June 8th,

9:30 AM – 12:00 P.M.


Research Proposal

Due Fri. July 26 @ 5:00 P.M.


Final Exam

July 29 – Aug. 1 (TBA)


Discussion posts

Due May 26, June 23, July 14 (all at 11:59 PM Eastern Time)






Week of



May 6

An Introduction to Prosocial Behaviour

Dovidio, Chapter 1

May 13

The Origins of Prosocial Behaviour

Dovidio, Chapter 2

May 20

The Context: When Will People Help?

Discussion Forum #1 active from May 20–26  @ 11:59 P.M.

Dovidio, Chapter 3

May 27

Why Do People Help?

Dovidio, Chapter 4

June 3

Being The Helper and Being Helped: Causes and Consequences

Dovidio, Chapter 7

Sat. June 8


Midterm, 9:30 AM – 12:00 PM


June 17

Defining and Measuring Aggression

Discussion Forum #2 active from June 17–23 @ 11:59 P.M.

Krahe, Chapter 1

June 24

Theories of Aggression

Krahe, Chapter 2

July 1

Individual and Gender Differences

Krahe, Chapter 4

July 8

Situational Elicitation of Aggressive Behaviour

Discussion Forum #3 active from July 8–14

@ 11:59 P.M.

Krahe, Chapter 5

July 15

Media Violence and Aggression

Krahe, Chapter 6

July 22

Aggression Between Social Groups

Krahe, Chapter 10

July 26

*Research proposal due @ 5:00 P.M.


July 29 – Aug. 1 (TBA)



8.0      Academic Integrity


Scholastic offences are taken seriously, and students are directed to read the appropriate policy, specifically, the definition of what constitutes a Scholastic Offence, at the following Web site:


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


Statement on Use of Electronic Devices


Exams may only be written using a single electronic device with a functioning webcam, which must remain on at all times.  You should not have any other electronic devices within sight aside from the one on which you are taking the exam.  While writing the exams, you are not permitted to access any course material on the device you’re using to write the exam, or on any other electronic device or printed source.  The use of programs which translate exam content from English to another language is not permitted. 


Plagiarism Detection Software


All required papers may be subject to submission for textual similarity review to the commercial plagiarism detection software under license to the University for the detection of plagiarism.  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


Use of AI


The use of generative AI tools such as ChatGPT to produce written work is not permitted unless permission is granted by the instructor for specific circumstances. Any work submitted must be the work of the student in its entirety unless otherwise disclosed. When used, AI tools should be used ethically and responsibly, and students must cite or credit the tools used in line with the expectation to use AI as a tool to learn, not to produce content.


Exam Proctoring Software


Tests and examinations for online courses may be conducted using a remote proctoring service. More information about this remote proctoring service, including technical requirements, is available on Western’s Remote

Proctoring website at:


9.0      Academic Accommodations and Accessible Education


View Western’s policy on academic accommodations for student with disabilities at this link.


Accessible Education provides supports and services to students with disabilities at Western.

If you think you may qualify for ongoing accommodation that will be recognized in all your courses, visit Accessible Education for more information.  Email:  Phone: 519 661-2147


10.0    Absence & Academic Consideration


View Western’s policy on academic consideration for medical illnesses this link


Find your academic counsellor here:


Students must see the Academic Counsellor and submit all required documentation in order to be approved for certain academic considerations. Students must communicate with their instructors no later than 24 hours after the end of the period covered SMC, or immediately upon their return following a documented absence.


Medical Absences


Submit a Student Medical Certificate (SMC) signed by a licensed medical or mental health practitioner to Academic Counselling in your Faculty of registration to be eligible for Academic Consideration.


Nonmedical Absences


Submit appropriate documentation (e.g., obituary, police report, accident report, court order, etc.) to Academic Counselling in your Faculty of registration to be eligible for academic consideration. Students are encouraged to contact their Academic Counselling unit to clarify what documentation is appropriate.


Religious Consideration


Students seeking accommodation for religious purposes are advised to contact Academic Counselling at least three weeks prior to the religious event and as soon as possible after the start of the term.



11.0    Other Information



Students who are in emotional/mental distress should refer to Health and Wellness@Western for a complete list of options about how to obtain help.

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.


If you wish to appeal a grade, please read the policy documentation at: Please first contact the course instructor. If your issue is not resolved, you may make your appeal in writing to the Undergraduate Chair in Psychology (


Copyright Statement


Lectures and course materials, including power point presentations, outlines, videos and similar materials, are protected by copyright. You may take notes and make copies of course materials for your own educational use. You may not record lectures, reproduce (or allow others to reproduce), post or distribute any course materials publicly and/or for commercial purposes without the instructor’s written consent.



12.0    Land Acknowledgement


We acknowledge that Western University is located on the traditional territories of the Anishinaabek, Haudenosaunee, Lūnaapéewak, and Chonnonton. Nations, on lands connected with the London Township and Sombra Treaties of 1796 and the Dish with One Spoon Covenant Wampum. This land continues to be home to diverse Indigenous Peoples (First Nations, Métis and Inuit) whom we recognize as contemporary stewards of the land and vital contributors of our society.