By the end of the semester you should be able to:
1. Define in detail the theories bearing on each of the major phenomena (e.g., cognitive dissonance, foot-in-the-door technique) embraced by the field of social psychology. The major phenomena are those indicated by bold print in the text, covered in your Study Guide, and emphasized in the lecture notes.
2. Describe in simple and proper English each of the major phenomena so clearly that a person unfamiliar with the field would understand what you are talking about.
3. Give concrete and detailed descriptions of important experiments that have been conducted on these phenomena.
4. Apply what you've learned about social psychology to your own personal life and more general social issues. You should be able to describe how psychological research on different phenomena (e.g., stereotyping or conformity) can be used to understand why you sometimes behave as you do and can be used to resolve a variety of real-world problems.
Your ability to meet these objectives will be assessed through the multiple choice tests and quizzes given in class and through your ability to clearly convey and criticize original source work in the field, as well as design your own social psychological research.
Each unit/'chapter of the course has very specific learning objectives as detailed in various online and hard copy study guides and reprinted on this course website. If you can demonstrate to yourself that you can meet these objectives by honestly completing the Study Guide for each unit/chapter, then you should do fine on the tests, quizzes, and assignment.
The publisher of your textbook also repeats the same specific learning objectives that you should master for each assigned chapter on its website, just in case these are handier for you to access. (That website has other fantastic study help available to help you master the specific learning objectives, so please use it often.
Lectures & Class Participation
(Bring with you to class: Your textbook, study guide (if you have one), a hard copy of the course description, the class, reading, & test schedule, and the lecture notes pertinent to the scheduled lecture. You should be taking handwritten notes on your "print copy" of the course lecture notes. Remember that the course lecture notes are always subject to change, so you might wish to wait to print these off until a couple of days -- no earlier -- than the lecture is scheduled).
Each class period, I will lecture on the unit under study (with the exception of time allotted for exams or exercises). Note that it is not my intention to cover any one chapter thoroughly. My goal in the lectures is to give you a feel for certain issues or research relevant to the unit. Time simply does not permit us to cover any one chapter in detail. (This is why you have a textbook and study guide).
It is important that you read the chapter(s) assigned for the unit before the lecture. It is also important for you to have completed your study guide exercises and tests and to have thought about the issues raised in your lecture notes. In fact, in preparing my lectures, I expect you to have read and thought about the assigned material. I will not simply walk you through the chapter(s) assigned for the lecture. By reading ahead, you will also be in a better position to answer questions during class and ask me questions about concepts in the book that need clarification. PART OF YOUR GRADE DEPENDS ON YOU STUDYING IN ADVANCE, since pop quizzes will be given! You'll be at an obvious disadvantage on your quiz if you have not read the chapter and prepared the study guide.
Class attendance is not required, but your grade on the quizzes does depend on you being there. Moreover, bonus credit assignments that I randomly assign in class may not be picked up outside of class time. Do not ask for exceptions.
Required Reading, Study Guide, and Recommended Reading
Brehm, S. S., & Kassin, S. M., & Fein, S. (2005). Social Psychology. 6th Ed. Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin.
(pre-5th ed. not acceptable; the 5th ed. is acceptable but note that the test items are drawn from the 6th ed., so it would be wisest to purchase the 6th ed. We waited as long as we could to switch to the 6th ed. So much has changed in social psy in the past few years, it wouldn't have been fair to stick with the 5th ed. any longer.
Shrink-wrapped with your textbook may be two other books and a CD-ROM:
(1) a study guide
(2) a book on critical thinking
Only the textbook is required. The remaining three supplements (study guide, critical thinking book, and PsychAbilities CD-ROM) are simply recommended, with the study guide being strongly recommended!
The publisher of your textbook also has a wonderful website for students that you can use to facilitate your learning. I highly recommend the sections regarding ACE Practice Tests, Flashcards, Weblinks, Learning Objectives, Netlabs, and the Glossary. There is no credit for accessing these parts of the site, but I can almost guarantee that they will help you do better in the class. (You will see later that we actually will use two parts of this site -- "Thinking Critically Exercises" and "Evaluating Research" -- for all of your extra credit assignments, so don't worry about those yet).
I recommend that you to use either your hard copy study guide or the publisher's website to STUDY. Get into the habit of actually having completed these study materials for the chapter in question before the class lecture.
There will be four unit exams (each exam covers 2-3 chapters). These four exams are distributed from the semester's inception through the end of November. Each of these tests will consist of roughly 45-60 questions (to be announced in advance; each question will be worth between .75 to 1.0 point, depending upon the length of the unit test).
A comprehensive final exam, that also will count as the test of the last two chapters covered, will be given on December 15th at 9:30-11:20 p.m. in our classroom. This test will contain roughly 100 questions (worth about 1 point each).
All tests are multiple choice in nature, and they are timed in the sense that you should not count on having more than 1 min per question. Test questions will be mostly conceptual in nature, assessing your understanding of the content and ability to generalize to real-world examples. Test questions derive from the textbook, the portions of the textbook publisher's website that aren't being used for the extra credit, and the lecture notes.
Many students think that multiple choice exams are easier than essay exams. However, in my case, the multiple choice questions require you to conceptually understand and apply the material to real-world examples. The message is thus: Please do not memorize definitions or facts only (you won't be very happy with yourself if you do.). Use the ACE practice tests available at your text publisher's website, and really concentrating on mastering the conceptual questions. Obviously, I expect you to know the "facts", too, but the conceptual questions should receive proportionately more of your study time.
It's up to you whether you do the essay. However, taking all tests is a requirement.
Bring an HB pencil and TWO blue scantrons with you each day of the test.
READ AND UNDERSTAND THE FOLLOWING:
Tests may never be taken early. Tests also may not be made-up at a later date, with the exceptions that I have detailed in the Important Rules & Policies section. Please study that section carefully, since you want to be sure you know the rules & policies.
No other reasons are acceptable, so please plan on taking the tests as scheduled. Look at this issue from other students' perspectives: ALL of us can think of reasons for not taking a test. However, you have been informed of the test dates in advance and should plan to adjust your schedule accordingly. Thus, please plan now to adjust your work, etc. schedules to meet the exam dates.
To be crystal clear, please note the following: Perfect performance on all of the tests would earn you an 80% in the class. It's probably wise to plan on doing the essay and some extra credit, since I would hate to see you risk your grade by assuming perfect test performance.
Go to this link for a description of the required essay assignment
Be sure to sign up TODAY for our Sept. 6th session over at the Merrill Library (M133) at 10:30-11:45. Be sure to pick out three "candidate" essay topics, scan your textbook for concepts that are relevant to those topics, write down the names of those concepts (and full references for any studies you want to locate at the library). Bring all of that information, and your textbook, with you to the library on Sept. 6th. All of this will become clear when you read the required essay assignment pages, so don't fret.
Extra Credit to Offset Unanticipated Problems
To help you offset problems with your (anticipated) performance, we will allow four extra credit assignments. You must draw each of these from a different chapter, however. Any chapters are game, but the due date for all four is no later than October 13 in class. No late extra credit assignments can be accepted, so please don't ask.
The extra credit for each of chapters consists of you completing ONE of the chapter-relevant exercises contained in the textbook publisher's website in the section entitled "Thinking Critically Exercises" or "Evaluating Research." That is, you turn in one completed exercise for each chapter. Thus, for example, to earn extra credit for Chapter 2, you need to do either the exercise "Statistics: How to Inoculate Yourself Against a Deadly Virus" or the exercise "Would You Authorize This Research?". Or, as one further example, to earn the credit for Chapter 3, you should do either "Thinking Critically About Self-Esteem" or "Evaluating Research About Hindsight." You prepare complete answers for each exercise in a word processor (including the Chapter #, your name, id, date, and class). Double-space your answers. Print this off and turn it in to me in class by the due date. I'll grade these within two weeks. The maximum credit per exercise is 10 points, for a maximum total of 40 extra credit points. Remember that no late extra credit will be accepted, as per the Important Rules & Policies pages.
I highly recommend that you plan ahead and simply do the extra credit. You don't want to put yourself in the "hindsight" position of regretting missed opportunities. Another reason for planning ahead is that one of the textbook publisher's links could go "dead" (heaven forbid!) and you'd therefore either have missed out on that opportunity, or need to trek to the library to hope you can locate the article to which the exercise on the website referred. We do not keep hard copies of these, since we do not have that copyright permission.
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