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Psychology 321, 10:30 - 11:30 MWF

Labs, 2:00 - 5:20 M and 2:10 - 5:20 T



Dr. David B. Gray

Phone 7357

Office hours MW, 9:00 - 10:00., & R, 2:00 - 3:00


Course Objective:

The student will demonstrate an understanding of some of the basic principles of experimental social psychology by analyzing select episodes of behavior contained in local, national, and world news, several films, and guest lectures. Positive episodes will be isolated and treated such as cooperation, positive group problem solving, productive leadership, and helping behavior. Negative episodes will also be targeted such as expressions of hate and condescension, distortions of attribution, and discriminative and destructive behaviors. The purpose of the laboratory is to further one’s skill in quantifying basic attitudinal variables, and making behavioral predictions from attitudes.

Text: Social Psychology by Fathali M. Moghaddam, 1998, Freeman and Company.

Tentative Working Outline:

The course is arranged in four nearly equal units with coherence of content in each unit, and a logical progression across the four units—


  1. General beliefs and behaviors
  2. Specific self beliefs
  3. General group and structural influence
  4. Specific influences to help or harm others

Aug F 29 Introduction to the Course



What are attitudes, beliefs, and values, and to what degree and under what conditions do they relate predictably to behavior? What are the technical problems in defining and measuring attitudes?  Are negative attitudes more pervasive than positive ones?


Aug W 26 Introduction to course

F 28 Sampling theories of Social Psychology


M 31 Chapter 4, Attitude, definition and measurement

Sept W 02 Continued

F 04 Friday Summit  (power of beliefs and situations)


M 07 Chapter 6, Persuasion and attitude change

W 09 Continued

F 11 Friday Summit  (conditions of persuasion)


M 14 Chapter 10, Prejudicial attitudes

W 16 Continued

F 18 Friday Summit: (the ubiquity of prejudice)



How do we know, define, and enhance our selves? How does group membership distort reality in order to facilitate the definition of the self?


M 21 Chapter 3, Beliefs about the Self in Culture

W 23 Continued

F 25 Friday Summit  (how possible is self-understanding?)


M 28 Chapter 5, Making Attributions to Enhance the Self

W 30 Continued

Oct F 02 Friday Summit  (escaping self aggrandizement and approaching objectivity)

M 05 Chapter 4, Beliefs about Gender

W 07 Continued

F 09 Friday Summit (what is common across genders in nature?)


M 12 Chapter 7, Conformity and Obedience

W 14 Continued

F 16 Friday Summit  (trends toward conformity and independence)


M 19 Chapter 13, GroupDynamics

W 21 Continued

F 23 Friday Summit (conditions of effective group performance)

Mid-break, Saturday - October 24th through Tuesday - October 27st


W 28 Review to date

F 30 Looking ahead



Nov M 02 Aggression, Violence, and Harming

W 04 Continued

F 06 Friday Summit  (Cand we learn not to war?)



M 09 Chapter 12, Aggression (abuse and harming)

W 11 Continued

F 13 Student led debate: "Can aggression and cooperation be learned?"


M 16 Chapter 11, Pro-social behavior (helping and cooperating)

W 18 Continued

F 20 Student led debate: "Can self interest increase cooperative behavior?"


M 23 Catch-up day


Thanksgiving Break - November 25 through 29th Sunday.


M 30 Chapter 10, Attraction, Love, and Similarity

Dec W 02 Continued

F 04 Student led debate: "What is found when love is analyzed?"

M 07 Analysis of When Work Disappears by J. W. Wilson


Tues Reading Day


Final Period, Wednesday -December 9th through Saturday 12th


Elements of Evaluation:

  1. Chapter questions ………………………………….1/3 Cooperatively graded
  2. Debate plan and leadership ……………….....1/6 Student graded
  3. Debate paper ………………………….………1/6 " "
  4. Laboratory and laboratory paper ..…………….. …1/3 Professor graded

Chapter Questions:

Typed, polished, single spaced, one full page. Five thought questions which cannot be answered yes or no and cannot be answered with a short simplistic answer. Capture issues with controversy, complexity, and divided evidence. Write out your answer as well as the question and fill the page. There will be 12 of these in the whole course, and they are due on the morning, (10:30 AM), of each day when a new chapter is opened.



Each student, in teams of three or four, will lead four debates throughout the semester. This will consist of the team writing one, one page debate plan laying out the pro and con arguments and evidence for both sides of the debate. In addition, the student will choose two of the four debates and write a five page debate content paper. Debate content papers will stress clarity and grasp of research evidence on both sides of the issue and thus the understanding of the complexity of the issue. Also in each of these two student selected debates, each student will write a two page critique of each of the papers in a debate they are not in, and grade the debate and paper as a unity. The Professor will never grade these debate papers, but will write a summary critique of each person’s total course progression in the debate papers and student critiques. The professor’s critique will not be graded but will be given back to the students during the final period meeting. The final period will be devoted to analyzing the nature of the progression of the quality of the writing across the semester.


Laboratory Work and Paper:

All lab work will be reported in a 8-10 page formal research paper. Detailed specifications for this paper will come later.


Attendance In Class and Lab:

This probably does not need to be said, but 100% attendance is essential in a participation oriented class. Missing more than 3 classes for non-valid reasons, or 1 lab for non-valid reasons will lower the course letter grade by 1 full letter. Valid excuses are those listed in the Catalogue on page 68.


Summary of Student Study Structure and Responsibilities:

  1. Prepare each of the 12 chapters in advance by carefully writing the questions for each chapter.
  2. Write 2 Debate Plans as a team, and conduct the same two debates.
  3. Write two Debate Content Papers and critique and grade another group’s set of Content Papers and Debate Participation..
  4. Do all the lab work, and write the Lab Paper.

Grading Anchors, Elaborated From Page 63 in the Catalogue:

A Outstanding and exceptional in every way. That which is above really good, solid college work.



B Clearly above the basic acceptable minimum, but not distinguished by totally exceptional work in all ways



C Basis acceptable minimum college work, good but incomplete in a number of ways



D Passing for all-college standards, not acceptable in the major as passing

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