PSY 361: Social Psychology


Spring 2007
Hawkins 0153C
Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays 11:00 – 11:50 am  


Renée Bator, Ph.D.

Course web site:


Beaumont 220




Office Hours:

Tuesdays & Thursdays 9 – 9:30 am; 10:45 – 11:45 am

Required Text:

Insights Social Psychology (2007)
A custom publication edited by Renee Bator from Pearson Custom Publishing


Content: Social psychology is a relatively young discipline, with some of the earliest research conducted in the 1950s. In this class I will present an analysis of classic and contemporary research in the field and examine how that research applies to our everyday lives. We will examine such topics as conformity, obedience, persuasion, prejudice, attraction, and helping. The course will emphasize the scientific method, especially experimentation for studying social behavior.

Academic Dishonesty
: The Student Academic Honesty Policy states:

"Academic honesty is essential to the intellectual health of the university and the ideals of education. SUNY Plattsburgh expects students to be honest and to conduct themselves with integrity in all aspects of their relationship with the college (e.g., application, transfer evaluation, academic progress review, and credit and non-credit bearing experiences, including regular course work, independent studies, internships, practica, student teaching, and interactions with faculty, staff, and students). Academic dishonesty adversely affects the educational function of the college and undermines the integrity of its programs.

Dishonest conduct includes, but is not limited to, cheating, plagiarism, unauthorized collaboration, forgery, and alteration of records, along with any lying, deceit, bribery, coercion, or intimidation for the purpose of influencing a grade or for any other academic gain. Action against a student determined to have violated the academic honesty policy can range from a reduction of the grade on an assignment, through failure of a course, to suspension or even dismissal from the academic program, the department, or the college. A student who is charged with academic dishonesty will be afforded due process through the College Judicial System. (See Procedures for Addressing Suspected Academic Dishonesty.)"

Any student found guilty of academic dishonesty will receive a 0 on the assignment and five points will be deducted from the final course grade. I will file a “Faculty Report of Suspected Academic Dishonesty” with the College Judicial Affairs Office. This will become part of the student’s permanent record.


Participation (15% of course grade) During each class meeting, I will call on individual students to supply answers to questions concerning the reading assignment. To do well on participation you should have a solid understanding of the journal article and be able to point out criticisms and limitations of the findings. I expect that you will be ready to answer when your name is called. Please do not ask me to repeat the question. You may refer to notes, but your responses should come from information in your head. Responses which are merely read from notes will not be credited. The text will not be permitted on the desks during class. If you do not know the answer to a question, you can either say, “I don’t know” or you can take a guess.

The goal of this participation is to give you regular feedback on your understanding of the course material. This is an opportunity to sharpen your oral presentation skills as well as your ability to think on your feet – a valuable skill on the job market. Fifteen percent of your final grade will be based on the quality of the remarks you make during class discussion. You will be graded on your response to each question with a score of zero or one. It will be possible to get an ‘A’ on participation even if you miss a few questions – I do not expect you to know absolutely everything all of the time. However, numerous wrong answers, incomplete answers, no answer, and being absent when you are called on will affect your grade adversely. You should keep track of your participation average when called upon. I will let you know if your answer is adequate to receive credit by saying, “that’s right” or “good.”

Activities (5% of course grade) In order to facilitate comprehension of the course material, I will regularly use active learning strategies. Approximately once a week there will be an in-class activity or homework assignment based on the topic for that course. Many of the in-class activities will involve a “write-pair-share” technique. You will be assigned a different partner for each of the four sections of this class. When you are asked to begin a “write-pair-share” activity, you will work with your assigned partner. Students who are late or absent will not be allowed to make up the activities, however, your lowest score will be dropped.

Papers (20%) You will write two papers during the semester, choosing from two of the four sections of the class. Please see the due dates for each section on the course calendar. Late papers will not be accepted. Once you determine which of the two sections interest you the most, you should select one of the asterisked (*) studies. I will provide an example paper to use as a guide. The paper will have two sections and should be written in APA style:

1)      Summarize the study from the textbook. Describe the past research conducted prior to this study, the hypothesis, the procedure, and main findings, and the interpretation of those findings. It is critical that this summary is in your own words. Do not quote from the book. Using quotes from the book will result in academic dishonesty procedures. (approximately 1 – 2 pages)

2)      Propose a follow-up study. Explain what you predict, what procedure you would use to test the prediction, and how you would interpret the results. (approximately 1 – 2 pages) Remember, this is in APA style, so you should write in a professional tone and be as concise as possible.

Group Presentations (10% of course grade) At the end of the semester you will collaborate with a small group of students to provide a 10 minute PowerPoint review of one of the chapters covered in the textbook. You should be sure to explain: the hypothesis, the reason behind the hypothesis, an overview of the procedure, and the main findings. Your score on this presentation will be based on the following rubric:

Rough draft summary (2 pts): Each student will submit a typed description of your assigned chapter. It is essential that your summary be completely in your own words. I suggest that you re-read the chapter, take brief notes on the main points of the chapter (make sure you’re not relying on notes you took directly from the book, you must use your own words), then close the book so you are not tempted to lift phrases from the chapter. Using the author’s words is plagiarism and will be dealt with according to the Student Academic Honesty Policy. Your summary should describe the main points of the chapter in sentences and paragraphs. I will provide an example summary for you to use as a guide. Please be sure to double-space your typed summary so I can provide comments for you.

Rough draft PowerPoint printout (2 pts): Each group will submit one copy of their slides. Be sure that all group members’ names are included. Please print the slides by choosing the ‘handouts’ option and selecting four slides per page. You want to limit the amount of text on each slide, so that you simply have main points, key words, or phrases presented. You may also want to include some of the graphs from the chapter. I would be happy to provide these for you. Finally, be sure you proofread your slides to be certain they are free of spelling errors or other typographical errors.

Final draft summary (2 pts): I will return your rough draft to you with comments. The final draft will be graded based on the improvements you make from your rough draft. When you submit the final draft you must also resubmit your graded first draft so I can evaluate the amount of change made from the first draft to the final draft.

PowerPoint presentation (2 pts) Just like the summary you wrote, I will return the rough draft of the slides to you with comments. The final version of your slides will be graded based on the quality of the presentation as well as the improvements made from your rough draft. When you give your presentation you must resubmit your original (graded) slide printout so I can evaluate the amount of change made from the first draft to the final version.

Good eye contact & minimal reliance on notes (2 pts): It is important for you to look at your audience (the class) as you present your chapter. If you would like to use cue cards, I encourage you to only list key words on them so you aren’t tempted to read your notes. Practice what you are going to say so you can explain your section without looking down at your notes, other than a quick glance.

Midterm Exams (40% of course grade) Each of the four midterm exams count equally (10% each). These exams will consist of multiple choice and short-answer questions (from participation questions, lecture information, and reading assignments). No make-up exams will be offered. If you miss a midterm, regardless of the reason, you can use your Final Exam score to replace that grade. If you take all four midterm exams I will replace your lowest midterm exam score with your Final Exam score (if it is higher).

Final Examination (10% of course grade) The final exam will be cumulative. It is the same format as the midterm exams. Your final exam score can also replace your lowest midterm score. The final exam will only be administered during the time scheduled by the registrar. I reserve the right to exempt students from the final exam in cases where, in my opinion, performance has been consistently outstanding up until that point. Do not ask about this opportunity. If you meet the criteria I will notify you.

Attendance: Your class attendance is not weighted in the calculation of your final grade. However, there is a strong positive correlation between attendance and grades. In addition, students ARE responsible for any changes in assignments, due dates, etc., regardless of whether or not they are in class on the day(s) announcements of such changes are made. Please do not contact me about your absence(s). If you are absent, I would really appreciate it if you would take responsibility for the missed material by borrowing notes from someone. If you have questions about the material you could then meet with me during my office hour (or another meeting time). Finally, it is discourteous to miss class, arrive late, and/or leave early. Registration in this course is a commitment to the class meeting times; I assume you will not consider our class time open for scheduling other appointments.





Mon., Jan. 22

Course Overview


Wed., Jan. 24

Opinions and Social Pressure*


Fri., Jan 26

Conformity Lecture


Mon., Jan. 29

Pluralistic Ignorance and Alcohol Use…*


Wed., Jan. 31

Making Sense of the Nonsensical


Fri., Feb. 2



Mon., Feb. 5

How to Become a Cult Leader


Wed., Feb. 7

A Focus Theory of Normative Conduct…*


Fri., Feb. 9

Group Decision Fiascoes Continue… Littering studies continued


Mon., Feb. 12

Some Conditions of Obedience…*


Wed., Feb. 14



Fri., Feb. 16

Catch up and review
Last day to submit a paper from section 1


Mon., Feb. 19


Exam 1

Wed., Feb. 21

Cognitive Consequences of Forced Compliance*


Fri., Feb. 23



Mon., Feb. 26

When Prophecy Fails


Wed., Feb. 28

Inducing Hypocrisy as a Means of Encouraging…*


Fri., March 2



Mon., March 5

Dishonest Behavior as a Function of Differential…*


Wed., March 7

A Social Psychological Perspective on Energy…
Last day to submit a paper from section 2


Fri., March 9


Exam 2

March 12 – 16

Spring Break


Mon., March 19

What is Beautiful is Good*


Wed., March 21



Fri., March 23

Some Evidence of Heightened Sexual Attraction*


Mon., March 26



Wed., March 28

Social Pressures in Informal Groups


Fri., March 30

Contrast Effects and Judgments of Physical…*


Mon., April 2



Wed., April 4

Social Perception and Interpersonal Behavior…*


Fri., April 6

Catch up and review
Last day to submit a paper from section 3


Mon., April 9


Exam 3

Wed., April 11

Experiments in Group Conflict


Fri., April 13

Jigsaw Groups and the Desegregated Classroom…


Mon., April 16



Wed., April 18

Stereotype Threat and the Intellectual Test…*


Fri., April 20

Measuring Individual Differences in Implicit Cognition…*


Mon., April 23

Bystander Apathy*


Wed., April 25

Group Presentation Time


Fri., April 27

  Last day to submit a paper from section 4

Exam 4

Mon.. April 30



Wed., May 2



Fri., May 4





Final Exam

Note: I reserve the right to make changes to the course policy and/or this schedule if needed. Changes will be announced in class and posted on the class website.        


This page last updated on April 17, 2007
Contact me at