Introduction to Social Psychology (Section 2)

Discipline: Psychology
Instructor: Hebl
Credits: 3

Field Work: Day 3 - Thursday, 31 March | Ghana Download Syllabus

Why are advertisements so effective? Is there such a thing as real altruism? Why do people and countries wage war against each other? How can we change people’s attitudes? Why do we always view ourselves as the protagonists?
Social psychology is the study of the way people think about, influence, and interact with each other. The purpose of this course is to provide a broad introduction to many major themes that characterize today’s social psychology in the context of circumstances associated with ports we will visit during the voyage. This course also will provide firsthand experience in reading some of the classic and contemporary research studies conducted and articles written in the field of social psychology. Students will gain exposure to the ways in which social creatures misinterpret and misuse cognitive and behavioral information; and an appreciation of the theoretical, empirical, and applied sides of social psychology; and a lasting awareness of just how widespread social psychological principles are to one’s daily lives. Finally, this class will consider the cross-cultural relevance of social psychological findings, and students will gain firsthand knowledge of, collect data, and present the results of their investigation of a cross-cultural research project.

Field Work

Country: Ghana
Day: 3 - Thursday, 31 March

The Field Lab will occur in Accra, Ghana on March 30th (Section 1) or March 31st (Section 2). This lab will involve a day-long visit in which we will reinforce some of the topics we discuss in social psychology, namely gender-related issues; race, power, and leadership; and social influence. We will begin the morning by visiting and learning about an African practice of, and what local constituents are doing to try to prevent, female genital cutting (FGC) at the Ghana Association for Women’s Welfare. After a local lunch, we will visit the memorial park commemorating and serving as the final resting spot for the first Ghana President (Kwame Nkrumah) and we will visit the W.E.B. Dubois Center that commemorates the founder (and later renouncer) of the NAACP. Finally, we will observe and put our own social influence skills to test by observing and participating in street vending at the Accra street market. Upon return to the ship, we will reflect on our social psychological experiences.

Academic Objectives:
1. Learn about some of the social and cultural issues that have shaped and still shape Ghana.
2. Gain insight into the history of female genital cutting (FGC) and other harmful traditional practices in Ghana.
3. Discuss the pros and cons of various initiatives to reduce the prevalence of FGC and other harmful traditional practices affecting the health of girls and women in Ghana and related areas.
4. Learn about President Kwame Nkrumah, the first president of Ghana, who gained independence from Britain, was noted as having lead the first African country to shake off colonial rule, he believed in Pan Americanism, and was ousted, in part by Western-world initiatives.
5. Learn also about W.E.B. DuBois, American Black philosopher and writer, who spent his final years in Ghana. Learn about DuBois’s founding of the NAACP, communist activities, and the idea of the “talented tenth.”
6. Practice techniques of social influence and try out your negotiating skills at the Accra street market.