What you will study
This module will help you to develop a critical understanding of theories and research in social psychology by investigating the social behaviour and experience of ourselves and others. Through your reading and personal reflection you will examine stimulating questions about the self and other people from four key social psychological perspectives: cognitive social, phenomenological, discursive psychological, and social psychoanalytic.
The module is structured around two main textbooks and two online videos. The first textbook, Social Psychology Matters, explores the significance of social psychology in the 21st century and the contributions it can and does make to understanding the experience of being a person in today’s world. It does this by tracing the roots of social psychology and relating key perspectives to real-life experiences. The book explores areas such as crowds, family relationships, conflict, the self, emotions, and the body through different theoretical approaches. It encourages you to reflect on your experience of being a person in a social world in the light of these perspectives and asks challenging questions about how we come to know what we know about ourselves and other people.
The second textbook, Critical Readings in Social Psychology, gives you the chance to read important pieces of ‘classic’ social psychology and contrast them with contemporary critical readings. Each chapter explores a key topic in social psychology (such as attitudes, close relationships, individual differences, conformity, group processes and obedience) from a range of different theoretical perspectives. This gives you an appreciation of the historical context of social-psychological knowledge and the ways in which the same topic is treated differently by different theorists. By stimulating your own ideas and thoughts about these topics and perspectives, the book encourages your development of critical-evaluation skills.
The two specially produced online videos also serve to develop and consolidate your knowledge and skills in social psychology. The first online video examines the production of knowledge in social psychology through the critical analysis of a well known research study on group processes. It also introduces the four main theoretical perspectives in the module alongside the module themes. The second online video provides invaluable material designed to support you undertaking the project component of the module. It includes information on data collection (interviews and group discussions) and the qualitative analysis of data from different theoretical perspectives along with accounts of real life student experiences of conducting research projects.
All the study materials are designed to develop your appreciation of the historical development of the discipline of social psychology, and to develop your skills in evaluating theories, using evidence appropriately in the construction of an argument, understanding the process of independent research, and consolidating and developing practical research skills.
Throughout the module, the assessments will develop your knowledge of different perspectives in social psychology as well as give you a direct appreciation of the process of social psychological research. This will help you to design and carry out your own independent research project.
Studying social psychology will give you skills and knowledge relevant to careers in education, industry, the health professions, management, and social services, as well as careers in professional psychology.