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Social psychology: critical perspectives on self and others

This OU level 3 module uses traditional and cutting-edge social psychological theories to explore some of the most exciting and pressing issues we face in our complex, fast changing world. Topics in the course include crowds, emotions, conflict, relationships, the body, personality, obedience and group processes. Working with multimedia materials, you will develop advanced academic skills of critical evaluation and argument and will have the opportunity to conduct your own independent research project – consolidating and deepening your understanding. The module will also contribute to your personal development by encouraging you to reflect on your life in the light of social psychological evidence.

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OU qualifications are modular in structure; the credits from this undergraduate-level module could count towards a certificate of higher education, diploma of higher education, foundation degree or honours degree.

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Module

Module code
DD307
Credits
60
Study level
OU SCQF FHEQ
3 10 6
Study method
Distance Learning
Module cost
See Module registration
Entry requirements
See Am I ready?

Student Reviews

I am currently studying towards a BSc in Psychology. This was my second last module. The text books were quite...
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As you may gather from other reviews this is very much a Marmite style love/hate module. I started off hating...
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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.

Vocational relevance

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.

Teaching and assessment

Support from your tutor

You will have a tutor who will help you with the study material and mark and comment on your written work, and whom you can ask for advice and guidance. You will have the opportunity to participate in online forums where you can interact with your fellow students. We may also be able to offer group tutorials or day schools that you are encouraged, but not obliged, to attend. Where your tutorials are held will depend on the distribution of students taking the module.

Contact our Student Registration & Enquiry Service if you want to know more about study with The Open University before you register.

Assessment

The assessment details for this module can be found in the facts box above.

You must use the online eTMA system to submit some of your tutor-marked assignments (TMAs). 

The TMAs are four essays along with a project proposal and a project based on a piece of independent qualitative research. 

Future availability

The details given here are for the module that starts in October 2014. We expect it to be available once a year.

Regulations

As a student of The Open University, you should be aware of the content of the Module Regulations and the Student Regulations which are available on our Essential documents website.

Course work includes:

6 Tutor-marked assignments (TMAs)
Examination
No residential school


Entry

The module is for you if you want to specialise in psychology or have a wider interest in the social sciences. Although it has applications to real situations, it does not offer prescriptions for behaviour; rather, it tries to give a wider appreciation of the complexities and limits, as well as the uses, of psychology.

This is a challenging and demanding OU level 3 module. OU level 3 modules build on study skills and subject knowledge acquired from studies at levels 1 and 2. They are intended only for students who have recent experience of higher education in a related subject, preferably with the OU.

You should be able to write clear and well-structured essays in a conventional academic style; compare and assess different theoretical approaches; give accurate references and bibliographies; handle quantitative and qualitative evidence; understand abstract (social science) concepts, themes and models; and relate theory to practice.

You are strongly advised to take an introductory psychology module before this one, in particular Exploring psychology (DSE212). (Your regional or national centre will be able to tell you where you can see reference copies of this module.) This module has strong links with Exploring psychology (DSE212) and complements the subject matter of both Child development (ED209) and Cognitive psychology (DD303).

If you have any doubt about the suitability of the module, please contact our Student Registration & Enquiry Service.

Register

Start End England fee Register
04 Oct 2014 Jun 2015 £2632.00

Registration closes 18/09/14 (places subject to availability)

Register

The deadline for financial support applications has now passed

03 Oct 2015 Jun 2016 Not yet available

Registration opens on 12/03/15

This module is expected to start for the last time in October 2015.

Ways to pay for this module

Open University Student Budget Account

The Open University Student Budget Accounts Ltd (OUSBA) offers a convenient 'pay as you go' option to pay your OU fees, which is a secure, quick and easy way to pay. Please note that The Open University works exclusively with OUSBA and is not able to offer you credit facilities from any other provider. All credit is subject to status and proof that you can afford the repayments.

You pay the OU through OUSBA in one of the following ways:

  • Register now, pay later – OUSBA pays your module fee direct to the OU. You then repay OUSBA interest-free and in full just before your module starts. 0% APR representative. This option could give you the extra time you may need to secure the funding to repay OUSBA.
  • Pay by instalments – OUSBA calculates your annual fees and spreads them out over up to a year, enabling you to pay your fees monthly and walk away with a qualification without any further debt. APR 5.1% representative.

Read more about Open University Student Budget Accounts (OUSBA).  

Employer sponsorship

Studying with The Open University can boost your employability. OU qualifications are recognised and respected by employers for their excellence and the commitment they take to achieve one. They also value the skills that students learn and can apply in the workplace.

More than one in 10 OU students are sponsored by their employer, and over 30,000 employers have used the OU to develop staff so far. If the qualification you’ve chosen is geared towards your job or developing your career, you could approach your employer to see if they will sponsor you by paying some or all of the fees. 

  • Your employer just needs to complete a simple form to confirm how much they will be paying and we will invoice them.
  • You won’t need to get your employer to complete the form until after you’ve chosen your modules.  

Credit/debit card

You can pay part or all of your tuition fees upfront with a debit or credit card when you register for each module. 

We accept American Express, Maestro (UK only), Mastercard, Visa/Delta and Visa Electron. 

Gift vouchers

You can pay for part or all of your tuition fees with OU gift vouchers. Vouchers are currently available in the following denominations, £10, £20, £50 and £100. 

Mixed payments

We know that sometimes you may want to combine payment options. You may, for example wish to pay part of your tuition fee with a debit card and pay the remainder in instalments through an Open University Student Budget Accounts (OUSBA).

For more information about combining payment options, speak to an adviser.


Note: Your permanent address/domicile will affect your fee status and therefore the fees you are charged and any financial support available to you. The fees and funding information provided here is based upon current details for  year 1 August 2014 to 31 July 2015.
This information was provided on 16/09/2014.

What's included

Module books and website.

You will need

A portable audio-recording device (for use in your supervised research project).

Computing requirements

You will need a computer with internet access to study this module as it includes online activities, which you can access using a web browser.

  • If you have purchased a new desktop or laptop computer since 2008 you should have no problems completing the online activities.
  • If you’ve got a netbook, tablet or other mobile device check our Technical requirements section.
  • If you use an Apple Mac you will need OS X 10.7 or later.

You can also visit the Technical requirements section for further computing information (including details of the support we provide).

If you have a disability

The design of the study materials should not present any undue difficulties. Written transcripts of any audio components and Adobe Portable Document Format (PDF) versions of printed material are available. Some Adobe PDF components may not be available or fully accessible using a screen reader and musical notation and mathematical, scientific, and foreign language materials may be particularly difficult to read in this way. The printed study materials are available in the DAISY Digital Talking Book format. The books are available in a comb-bound format. Other alternative formats of the study materials may be available in the future. 

If you have particular study requirements please tell us as soon as possible, as some of our support services may take several weeks to arrange. Find out more about our services for disabled students.