Introduction to Social Psychology

Module titleIntroduction to Social Psychology
Module codePSY1203
Academic year2020/1
Module staff

Dr Anna Rabinovich (Convenor)

Duration: Term123
Duration: Weeks


Number students taking module (anticipated)


Description - summary of the module content

Module description

Social psychology seeks to understand how people think, feel and act in relation to others and the world around them. As such, the topics of interest to social psychologist cover almost everything humans do, from personal choices to conflict and violence in society. Because social psychology is applicable to so many domains, it is also directly relevant to everyday life – by learning about social psychology, inevitably you also learn something about yourself. This module is structured as a “sampler” of key topics in social psychology, topics which you may go on to explore in more detail in advanced modules. A specific topic will be introduced each week; we will identify why it is important, and discuss classic and contemporary theories and research that have tried to understand that topic from a social psychological perspective.

Module aims - intentions of the module

The aim of this module is to provide you with a broad understanding in some of the key areas of social psychology. Sessions will explore social psychological phenomena as they relate to individuals (e.g., the self, attitudes), group behaviour (e.g., social influence, leadership), and important social issues (e.g., prejudice, aggression). Key theories and classic and contemporary studies will be identified and discussed. Sessions will give you an understanding of how social psychological thinking has developed across time. Sessions are supplemented by small group tutorials that aim to develop your ability to engage critically with social psychological research, and by practicals that give you experience of conducting and writing about social psychological research.

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)

ILO: Module-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 1. Explain specific theories of personality and social psychology and assess explanations of behaviour in terms of personality or social psychological principles
  • 2. Identify the variety of methods used in social psychology
  • 3. Describe some of the issues of measurement in quantitative social and personality psychology
  • 4. Apply theories within social and personality psychology to understand real world problems within groups, organisations, and society at a basic level

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 5. Acquire basic and essential factual and conceptual knowledge of the subject, and demonstrate understanding of this knowledge
  • 6. Review and evaluate published work and identify some of the strengths and weaknesses of this work at a basic level
  • 7. Structure this literature to present logical and coherent arguments at a basic level
  • 8. Address well-defined problems systematically, think critically and creatively, and begin to appreciate the complexities of the issues at a basic level
  • 9. Explain and apply essential principles in designing research, evaluate and analyse empirical evidence, and assess the reliability of empirical evidence using defined techniques at a basic level
  • 10. Demonstrate some awareness of ethical issues relating to the subject and its application

ILO: Personal and key skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 11. Work within an appropriate ethos and to access and use a range of learning resources
  • 12. Evaluate your own strengths and weaknesses within set criteria, and to seek and make use of feedback
  • 13. Manage information, to collect appropriate information from a range of sources and undertake essential study tasks under guidance
  • 14. Take responsibility for your own learning with appropriate support
  • 15. Communicate effectively within the format of the discipline
  • 16. Apply methods accurately and carefully to a well-defined problem and begin to appreciate the complexity of the issues
  • 17. Manage time effectively to meet deadlines

Syllabus plan

Syllabus plan

This module will examine major themes and theories in personality and social psychology with particular relevance to individuals, group processes, organisational and social issues. Theories in personality and social psychology will be explored as explanatory models in the context of the particular phenomena and classes of behaviour covered in the lectures.

Lectures may cover the following topics:

  • Introduction to social psychology
  • Personality and the self
  • Interpersonal relations
  • Attitudes and persuasion
  • Social influence
  • Leadership
  • Stereotypes
  • Prejudice
  • Aggression
  • Altruism
  • Revision lecture

Learning and teaching

Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled Learning and Teaching22Lectures (11 x 2 hours)
Scheduled Learning and Teaching3Tutorials
Scheduled Learning and Teaching6Practicals
Guided Independent Study15Collating lecture notes
Guided Independent Study30Set and supplementary reading
Guided Independent Study30Research and preparation of practical report
Guided Independent Study44Revision and exam preparation


Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Tutorials3 x 1 hourAllOral

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Practical report502000 words1-10, 11-17Written
Examination501 hour1-9Generic


Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
Practical reportPractical report1-10, 11-17August Referral/Deferral
ExaminationExamination1-9August Referral/Deferral

Re-assessment notes

Two assessments are required for this module. Where you have been referred/deferred in the examination you will have the opportunity to take a second examination in the August/September re-assessment period. Where you have been referred/deferred in the practical report you will be required to resubmit the report. If you are successful on referral, your overall module mark will be capped at 40%; deferred marks are not capped.


Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

  • Baron, R. A., Branscombe, N. R., and Byrne, D. (2016). Social Psychology (14th ed.). Boston, MA: Pearson/Allyn and Bacon.

Indicative learning resources - Web based and electronic resources

Module has an active ELE page

Key words search

Psychology, social

Credit value15
Module ECTS


Module pre-requisites


Module co-requisites

PSY1205, PSY1206 or equivalent

NQF level (module)


Available as distance learning?


Origin date


Last revision date