Introduction to Social Psychology (section 2)

Discipline: Psychology
Instructor: vonHippel
Credits: 3
Day: B
Start: 1050
End: 1205
Field Work: Day 1 | India Download Syllabus

This lower division course is intended to provide a broad introduction to social psychology. As such, it will review classic theories and findings in the field, including research on conformity and obedience, stereotyping and prejudice, attraction and close relationships, intergroup relations, self-esteem, happiness and motivation, self-regulation, attitudes and persuasion, altruism and aggression, etc. As we review the literature on these topics, we will consider how much of human behavior is under conscious control and how much of it is automatic or unconscious. We will also take a functional approach to these topics, asking questions about why people show characteristic patterns of thought and behavior. Because research in psychology is rapidly becoming intertwined with research on the brain, the course will cover emerging work in social neuroscience. Additionally, because social psychology has become somewhat more cross-cultural over the last twenty years, we will consider cultural differences in the phenomena that we study, particularly in those cultures that we encounter on the voyage.

Field Work

Country: India
Day: 1

This field lab will include three components, of which the first two are the most important and will take up the brunt of our time. First, we will take a meditation class in which we will have the opportunity to engage in guided meditation and also learn about Buddhism (or Jainism).  Second, we will have an opportunity to talk to the founder of the Sanathana School about how people attain life satisfaction and daily contentment -- and how they learn to control temptation and desire -- from a Buddhist/Jain perspective. Finally, there will be an opportunity at the end of the visit for student discussion and reflection.
Academic Objectives:
  •  We will visit the Sanathana Yoga School in Cochin, where we will take a class on yoga and meditation from Abi Abraham, founder and director of the school. This lab will link to the lectures on happiness and the self. It will also relate to the ongoing theme of cross-cultural psychology. The write-up of this lab will be a 1,500-2,000 word paper that will be a blend of a scientific and personal approach, in which students are to compare Western theories of happiness and self-esteem with an Eastern perspective and with their experiences at the school. The paper is due at the beginning of class on March 23 (B17) and is worth 25% of the final grade.