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Module PPP-2010:
Social Psychology

Module Facts

Run by School of Psychology

10 Credits or 5 ECTS Credits

Semester 1

Organiser: Dr Thandi Gilder

Overall aims and purpose

This module will provide an overview of psychological theories and research in the field of Social Psychology. Students will be introduced to the topics of social perception, interpersonal relationships, prosocial behaviour, social influence, and group processes. The aim of this course is to give the student an opportunity to investigate human behaviour in a social and cultural context.

Course content

Topics covered in this module include: • Social Perception (Cognition, Attribution, Attitudes, Impression Formation); • Social Contact (Attraction, Attractiveness, Relationships); • Social Groups (Intragroup, Leadership, Intergroup, Prejudice, Decision Making, Constructionism); • Social Influence (Types of Influence, Compliance, Obedience, Conformity); • Social Support (Prosocial/Helping/Altruism)

Assessment Criteria


• Depth of insight into the applications of social psychology theory in the real world. • Comprehensive and detailed knowledge of social psychology. • Excellent understanding and original interpretation of theoretical issues with no factual errors. • Clear evidence of critical analysis and insightful evaluation of theory and research. • Logically presented and defended arguments presented with coherent synthesis and original interpretation • Answer focussed on question, with no irrelevant material and clear structure • Well-structured presentation showing focus and clarity of argument and expression.


• Some basic consideration of the applications of social psychology theory in the real world. • Adequate knowledge of some of the key concepts in social psychology only. • Weaknesses in understanding theoretical issues with multiple/major factual errors. • Limited evidence of critical analysis and evaluation of theory and research. • Arguments are presented briefly, but they are weak with no synthesis or original interpretation • Answer only briefly focussed on question and with some irrelevant material and poor structure • Weak presentation with disjointed structure and major APA format errors.


• Some insight into the applications of social psychology theory in the real world. • Strong knowledge of key concepts in social psychology. • Solid understanding of theoretical issues mostly free of factual errors. • Evidence of critical analysis and evaluation of theory and research. • Coherent arguments presented, with some limited synthesis and original interpretation • Answer focussed on question, but with very little irrelevant material and clear structure • Well-structured presentation showing focus of argument and expression.

C- to C+

• Some consideration of the applications of social psychology theory in the real world. • Knowledge of most of the key concepts in social psychology. • Some understanding of theoretical issues with some factual errors. • Some evidence of critical analysis and evaluation of theory and research. • Some arguments presented, but little synthesis and original interpretation • Answer focussed on question, but with some irrelevant material and poor structure • Some weaknesses in presentation with areas of disjointed structure and some APA format errors.

Learning outcomes

  1. Evaluate the nature of initial attraction and the dynamics of subsequent relationships (Social Contact)

  2. Describe the dynamics of behaviour within and between groups of individuals to understand social constructionism (Social Groups)

  3. Analyse the influence of others on thoughts, feelings, and behaviour (Social Influence)

  4. Consider the causes and explanations for helping and altruistic behaviour (Social Support)

  5. Debate and discuss the applications of social psychology theory in a real world context.

  6. Demonstrate an understanding of the thought processes, knowledge, and beliefs that are used to understand the behaviour of others (Social Perception)

Assessment Methods

Type Name Description Weight
ESSAY Written Assignment

You must submit an example illustrating whatever you have found, shared, or created AND a report critically analysing this example using social psychology.

This means that there are two parts to this assignment:

Example: Either find something interesting in the real world OR share an interesting experience in your own life OR create a resource demonstrating something interesting. This is your example of social psychology in the real world.

Report: Write a report (1000 words) explaining the example that you found/shared/created in terms of social psychology. This report must demonstrate critical analysis and evaluation of the example using social psychology academic research and theory.

You MUST participate in a draft feedback exercise. Failure to engage with the draft process will result in a 10% penalty from your final assignment grade.

EXAM Final Exam

This two-part exam is designed to assess the breadth and depth of your knowledge and understanding of the social psychology theories discussed in lectures.

Gateway MCQ This test assesses the breadth of your knowledge. We do not want you to memorise every single fact and figure from the lectures in order to regurgitate them in an exam and forget them ten minutes later. Instead, we want you to demonstrate that you have a broad grasp of the main concepts. This test is completed online through Blackboard. Questions for this test are randomly selected from a large testbank, so the questions and the order of the answers will be different each time a test is run. The test is time-limited to one hour and you cannot go backwards once you have answered a question. This means that you must continue straight through the test once you have begun. This test consists of 50 multiple-choice questions. Each question will have five options and one option will be “undecided”. You will score one point for each correct answer, lose one third of a point for each incorrect answer, and neither lose nor gain points for ‘undecided’. You can complete this gateway test any time from the first week of the course to the final essay exam date. You can attempt this test as often as you need to pass. You can refer to course materials or confer with others. The pass rate for this test is 35 points. This pass rate is designed to demonstrate breadth of knowledge across all topics. This is a gateway assessment because you must pass this test in order for your final essay exam to be graded. Failure to pass this test before submitting your final essay exam will mean that your final exam receives a grade of zero. You must demonstrate breadth of knowledge in this test before we assess your depth of knowledge in the essay exam.

6hr Essay Exam This exam assesses the depth of your knowledge. You will be expected to use content from beyond the lectures obtained through your own wider research, showing that you have engaged with the topic on a deeper level. It would be unrealistic to expect you to show depth of analysis and extensive extra reading in every single topic, so this essay provides an opportunity for you to demonstrate this in your chosen topic area. This exam is also designed to provide real world experience of working under pressure. It is a test of your ability to produce high quality work demonstrating extra research within a high-pressure time-limited setting. Five essay questions will be released at 9am on the day of the exam. For those who are unable to access Blackboard for any reason, printed question papers will be available in the Wheldon reception from 9am. Your essay submission will be due at 3pm on the day of the exam. Submission should be made electronically via Turnitin. You must select one question from a choice of five. All essay questions will be based on the learning outcomes. Essay questions will cover the full range of topics covered during the course (weeks 1 – 12). There is no specific word/page length requirement. Your essays MUST include evidence of extra reading beyond the core content covered in the lectures and textbook.


Teaching and Learning Strategy


Two hour lecture per week (11wks)

Private study

Each student should expect to complete 100 hours of work for this module across the semester (including scheduled classes, independent research, and completing assignments).


One hour workshop per week (10wks)


Transferable skills

  • Literacy - Proficiency in reading and writing through a variety of media
  • Computer Literacy - Proficiency in using a varied range of computer software
  • Self-Management - Able to work unsupervised in an efficient, punctual and structured manner. To examine the outcomes of tasks and events, and judge levels of quality and importance
  • Exploring - Able to investigate, research and consider alternatives
  • Information retrieval - Able to access different and multiple sources of information
  • Inter-personal - Able to question, actively listen, examine given answers and interact sensitevely with others
  • Critical analysis & Problem Solving - Able to deconstruct and analyse problems or complex situations. To find solutions to problems through analyses and exploration of all possibilities using appropriate methods, rescources and creativity.
  • Presentation - Able to clearly present information and explanations to an audience. Through the written or oral mode of communication accurately and concisely.
  • Argument - Able to put forward, debate and justify an opinion or a course of action, with an individual or in a wider group setting
  • Self-awareness & Reflectivity - Having an awareness of your own strengths, weaknesses, aims and objectives. Able to regularly review, evaluate and reflect upon the performance of yourself and others

Subject specific skills

  • Understand the scientific underpinnings of psychology as a discipline.
  • Apply multiple perspectives to psychological issues and integrate ideas and findings across the multiple perspectives in psychology.
  • Communicate psychological concepts effectively in written form.
  • Be computer literate for the purpose of processing and disseminating psychological data and information.
  • Retrieve and organise information effectively.
  • Handle primary source material critically.
  • Be sensitive and react appropriately to contextual and interpersonal psychological factors.
  • Use effectively personal planning and project management skills.
  • Work effectively under pressure (time pressure, limited resources, etc) as independent and pragmatic learners.
  • Problem-solve by clarifying questions, considering alternative solutions, making critical judgements, and evaluating outcomes.
  • Reason scientifically and demonstrate the relationship between theory and evidence.
  • Employ evidence-based reasoning and examine practical, theoretical and ethical issues associated with the use of different methodologies, paradigms and methods of analysis in psychology.
  • Be aware of ethical principles and approval procedures.


Courses including this module

Compulsory in courses:

Optional in courses: