Social Psychology

3 Credits – Fall 2008


Instructor:                Mr. Francis P. O’Neill M.A.

Office:                        To be announced  

Phone:                      610-718-1842

Email:               (best method of communication)

Office Hours:           Friday by appointment

Class Room:           

Prerequisite:            None: Recommended - Psychology 101 & ENG 101 




A. Required Text:                                       The Social Animal, 10th Ed., 2008,Elliot Anderson, Worth Publishing

B. Supplementary Reading Material:    Provided by instructor

C. In Class Video:                                       Films and video tapes provided by instructor


An examination of the function of the individual in social groups and the mutual influences of one upon the other. Emphasis is placed upon the processes of communication, persuasion, attitude and opinion formation and change, the structure and function of small groups and the measurement techniques employed in measuring these phenomena.


This course is designed to foster knowledge and attitudes which will assist the student in understanding and to know the scholarship developed within the discipline.

Students are Responsible for the Following:

Course Competencies & Learning Objectives
Upon completion of this course, the student should be able to:

A.   Explain the current and historical perspectives of social psychology.

B.   Describe the various psychosocial and sociocultural factors that influence self and external perceptions of people and the context they live in.

C.   Define the persuasion; conformity; obedience; liking, loving, & interpersonal attraction; self-concept; social cognition; prosocial behavior; and prejudice as it relates to people interacting in a society.

D.   Identify some of the reasons people need contact with other people.

E.   Critical and Creative Inquiry: Students will demonstrate an understanding of and an ability to use critical analysis to develop innovative and imaginative methods of inquiry and problem-solving. Students will be encouraged to use critical thinking skills as a guide to multiple modes of inquiry, challenging conventional wisdom and stereotypes.

F.      Information Literacy: Students will demonstrate the ability to access, organize, interpret, evaluate and utilize information from a variety of sources in an ethically appropriate manner.

G.   Communication: Students will demonstrate effective communication in a variety of modes in and out of the classroom, specifically the ability to read, write, speak, listen and employ various media effectively. Students will be encouraged to use critical and creative forms of expression.

H.   Ethical Responsibility: Students will be provided with opportunities to develop ethical awareness of societal issues, to exercise moral, intellectual and personal responsibility and to recognize that ethical decision making and reflection on various consequences are the elements of an on-going discernment process. Students will demonstrate ethical reasoning skills based on critical analysis that is grounded in reason and governed by diverse values.

I.      Knowledge of Self and Others: Students will be provided with opportunities to reflect on their strengths, explore their assumptions, develop their athletic/physical potential and foster an understanding of their complex identities (connecting habits of mind, heart and body). They will be encouraged to explore diverse experiences so that they may grow in empathy and respect for the values of others. Students will demonstrate knowledge of the breadth of human diversity as well as the ability to suspend and examine their own beliefs when confronted with the views of others.

J.    Intentional Learning: Students will be provided with opportunities to cultivate intellectual agility and creativity, purposeful learning, self-assessment, health awareness, self-confidence and the ability to manage change.  Students will be encouraged to continue holistic development personally, professionally, aesthetically and physically through self-reflection, feedback from others and new learning experiences.


* All items that are in bold are Learning outcome emphasis

Participation and Attendance: So that you can get the most out of the class you need to be present for the majority of the sessions. It is also important to interact in the classroom discussions and exercises. Most formal learning will come from the classroom interaction. All extra credit test questions will be taken from classroom lecture material!

After 3 absences you will drop one letter grade 3 more absences (total 6 absences) and you will receive an “F” grade for this class. (Talk to the instructor if you are having problems in this area)

Excessive lateness/tardiness is to be avoided, but it’s better to be late than absent. If you are late, after roll is taken, you need to see the instructor immediately after class to be counted as being present for class. 3 times late equals one absence.

Official Withdraw from Class:

1.    Last day to withdraw from class is October 22nd, 2008.

2.    Failure to attend a class may lead to a grade of an “F”, it will not constitute an automatic withdraw from class.



Grading will be as follows:


A   = 93 – 100+

A-  = 90 – 92

B+ = 87 – 89

B   = 80 – 89

B-  = 80 – 82             

C+ = 77 – 79

C   = 73 – 76

C-  = 70 – 72

D+ = 67 – 69

D   = 60 – 66

F   =  0 – 59


Grades will be based on the final grade breakdown. There will NOT BE A CLASS CURVE. This means that everyone can get an "A".

No “I" (incomplete) grades will be submitted for this course. It is paramount that all test and assignments be completed before the course ending date. No exceptions unless there is a medical emergency or death in the family.

Exams: There will be 3 major exams and 1 final exam. Each exam will consist of multiple choice, true false and possibly essay questions with the possibility of extra credit questions added at the end of the test. If a student misses an exam the possibility of a make-up is strictly on the basis of a medical or other serious reason at the discretion of the instructor. This makeup will be in my Pottstown office. A test can not be taken after a week from the original testing date, if at all. The final must be taken on the day of the final or before, no make up test will be granted for the final exam. You must be present on the day of testing or make plans to take the exam before it is given in class!




  1. 3 exams worth 100 points each (extra credit poss.)             300+pts
  2. Class Participation & Attendance                                              25 pts
  3. Postings on Blackboard                                                              25 pts
  4. Article paper                                                                                   50 pts
  5. Presentation                                                                                    20 pts
  6. Topic paper                                                                                     80 pts
  7. Final Exam                                                                                       100 pts


All points will be added up and divided by 6


Class Participation & Attendance:


You will get points throughout the semester for several reasons:


bullet 20 points - A clear presentation (prepared, informative and thoughtful)
bullet Questions relevant to class discussions
bullet 25 points - Posts on Blackboard
bullet Coming to class on time
bullet Handing in papers on time and being ready to present on your scheduled day
bullet These points will be summed up in several categories and are approximate. Totals above are maximums for area breakdown.


Grades will be based on the final grade breakdown. There will NOT BE A CURVE. This means that everyone has the possibility of getting an "A".


It is paramount that all test and assignments be completed before the course ending date. No exceptions unless there is a medical emergency!


Other Information

Reading: It is VERY important that you complete the reading for each day on the course schedule BEFORE you come to class that day. The most important goal for the class is for you to have fun while learning about psychology. But to do this, you’ll have to stay on top of the reading (and there’s a lot). Take note that class lectures will not reiterate the text book, but will be used to enhance the selections read.

Student Conduct:

1.    Academic integrity is expected. Cheating in any form is unacceptable, and will be dealt with per college policy. Which could include but, is not limited to, expulsion from class with a failing grade (F) and possible dismissal from the college? There will be no individual or group warnings.

2.    Plagiarism (taking false claim for work that you did not generate) of any type is unacceptable and will be dealt with per college policy. Which could include but, is not limited to, expulsion from class with a failing grade (F) and possible dismissal from the college? There will be no individual or group warnings.

3.    Classroom behaviors that are encouraged: Asking questions, answering instructor’s questions, discussion of topics between students before the entire class, and the participation in structured learning activities.

4.    Classroom behaviors that are discouraged: Two way conversation between students during lectures or class discussions and leaving the classroom before the instructor dismisses the class.

5.    Respect for all the class is paramount. Anything less is unacceptable.

Class Cancellation Policy:


If there is inclement weather please check the college web site, my Blackboard site for the class and  listen to the radio the school codes for KYW New Radio are 126 for day and 2126 for the evening division. Also please refer to the campus calendar for days off and breaks in the class schedule.



Important Dates for Papers, Tests and Days Off:

9/26                 Exam #1 Chapters 1, 2 & 3

10/17               Article Paper Due (Let’s Kill Bob – Solitary)

10/24               Exam #2 Chapters 4, 5 & article

10/28               Last day to withdraw from class without an F grade

11/14               Exam #3 Chapters 6 & 7

12/5                 Last Date Assignments will be Accepted (reduction of points possible)

12/12?             Final Exam Chapters 8 & 9 in Class!!! RM Martino Hall 318


The instructor reserves the right to make any content or rescheduling revisions as deemed appropriate or necessary.  

Students with Disabilities Policy:


Assignment Submission Guide Lines:


All paper assignments handed in must be typed with a cover page and submitted through Blackboards assignment section!


The Blackboard site is:


Spelling, grammar and sentence structure must be correct.


Page layout should be 12 pitch font, Times New Roman or Arial, double spaced with a one inch margin on the top and bottom and on the sides. You are to hand in a digital copy ONLY of the assignment to the blackboard web site in the assignments section by midnight on the due date or date of your presentation. Do not use the digital drop box!!!


The teacher is not responsible for improper uploading of files, corruption of data, the digital disappearance of file (i.e. the digital dog ate my electronic file), the power went out, etc. You are solely responsible for getting the final draft of your paper in to the instructor through Blackboard. If you need assistance ask the instructor (not the digital dog as he has a tendency of eating your work:-)


Format: Information on the cover page should include your name, The assignment (“Presentation Assignment – Schizophrenia The Life of Syd Hoff” etc.), date the paper is handed in, class (Psy 217 Fall 2008), instructor’s name (Francis O’Neill), movie chosen (or other needed info). Centered under this should be a title of the assignment ex. The Breakfast Club, the needs for social grouping or The Ups and Downs of a Life, etc. Have fun with this assignment!


All citations are to be APA, MLA or another accepted style, there must be a reference page with at least 3 references used as well as the text book!!! Internet citations are allowed.

Missed Deadlines:
Any material turned in late will subject to a reduction in points. 5 point reduction for every class late. Items not turned in by the last day of class will be counted as a zero.

Online Help:

You can access the text books information, this syllabus and the class schedule through Blackboard:  All grades and info pertaining to the course will be posted on Blackboard. Slides used in class are also posted in the documents sections of Blackboard. Blackboard is a necessary part of this class.

The text Books web site is:

  1. Article reaction paper – Let’s Kill Bob – Solitary


Review and relate what is in the article to the context of the class. This is a short paper only about 3 – 5 pages max. Answer the follow:


    bullet Do we need other people?
    bullet If we do why do you think that?
    bullet Is our sanity really dependant on being in contact socially with others?
    bullet Any thing of reference you find interesting that relates to the text book and article.


  1. Movie Review Assignment and Presentation: Social Psychological in Context:


Choose a chapter in the book and pick a movie from the list (or ask the professor for permission to use a movie or topic relating to the class that is not on the list) explain this movie in the context of the chapter of the book. This is to be a medium length paper about 7-15 pages in length. Take some time and research the topic.




  1. You may use PowerPoint slides, (must be turned into me before the day of the presentation for review and set up), movies, clips, articles boards with pictures and info, almost anything within reason. 
  2. Convey something unique about this people in the movie, relate to the dynamics of the relationships involved.
  3. You must talk about the people in the movie and who they are and why you believe they have the example the topic from the book.
  4. Presentation is to be a maximum of 15 minutes!
  5. Tips: Try not to read off your paper to the class, practice what you want to say, use cue cards for points that you wish to elaborate or slides with pictures, etc. (The social dynamics are to be the main feature of the presentations, ex: The jock in the Breakfast Club shows conformity when he follows his fathers footsteps or Michael Sullivan (Tom Hanks) shows aggression and then redemption in a The Road to Perdition, etc.)


Paper should include:


  1. Introduction of the movie and topic you have chosen.
  2. Brief info as to who the people are and why they relate to the chapter Cite sources.
  3. List the social psychological relating to the dynamics of the relationships as it relates to the text book; give back up to support this position. All in paragraph form. Not in listing form or bullets.
  4. Go into detail as to how they deal with the problems they face and the problems it causes them. (This is to be the bulk of presentation!)
  5. Give a conclusion as to how this person deals with the conflict and the steps they take to control it. Are these steps methods positive or negative to the persons well being?
  6. Most important: what did you learn from this assignment and do you think you possesses any of the traits found in the movie or described in the text book, this can be negative or positive.


The paper should follow the guidelines as stated in the syllabus

Some topics are easier than others start this assignment early!!!!


Social Psychology 212

Class Schedule* – Fall 2008 –


8/29     Introduction, Review Syllabus Start Chapter 1

8/29     Chapter 1 What is Social Psychology?

9/5       Chapter 2 Conformity

9/12     Chapter 3 Mass Communication, Propaganda

9/19     Chapter 3 Persuasion

9/26     Exam #1 Chapters 1, 2 & 3

9/26     Chapter 4 Social Cognition

10/3     No Class (Read Blackboard assignment)

10/10   Chapter 5 Self Justification

10/17   Chapter 6 Human Aggression

10/17   Article Paper Due (Let’s Kill Bob – Solitary)

10/22   Last day to withdraw from class without an F grade

10/24   Exam #2 Chapters 4, 5 & Article

10/24   Chapter 6 Human Aggression

10/31   Chapter 7 Prejudice

11/7     In class group learning assignment & article

11/14   Exam #3 Chapters 6 & 7

11/14   Chapter 8 Liking, Loving and Interpersonal Relationships

11/21   Chapter 9 Social Psychology as a Science

11/28   No Class (Recuperating from eating to much food)

12/5     Presentation over flow or final exam - last day of class

12/5     Last day all papers will be accepted for credit

12/12   Final – Chapters 8 & 9??




Listing of Topics and Presentation Dates

Abnormal Psychology 212 – Fall 2008 - CHC



Date     Topics                                                  Student Presenter(s)     Movie


9/12      Conformity                                           _________________      ________________


9/12      Conformity                                           _________________      ________________


9/12      Conformity                                           _________________      ________________


9/19      Propaganda                                         ________________        ________________


9/19      Propaganda                                         ________________        ________________                   

9/19      Persuasion                                          _________________      ________________


9/19      Persuasion                                          _________________      ________________


9/26      Social Cognition/Judgment                  _________________      ________________


9/26      Social Cognition/Judgment                  _________________      ________________


10/10    Self Justification                                  _________________      ________________


10/10    Self Justification                                  _________________      ________________


10/10    Self Justification                                  _________________      ________________


10/17    Human Aggression                              _________________      ________________


10/17    Human Aggression                              _________________      ________________


10/17    Human Aggression                              _________________      ________________


10/17    Human Aggression                              _________________      ________________


10/31    Prejudice                                             _________________      ________________


10/31    Prejudice                                             _________________      ________________


10/31    Prejudice                                             _________________      ________________       


11/14    Loving                                                 _________________      ________________


11/14    Liking                                                  _________________      ________________


11/14    Interpersonal Relationships                 _________________      ________________


            ________________________                  _________________      ________________


            ________________________                  _________________      ________________