Introduction to Social Psychology

Discipline: Psychology
Instructor: Schofield
Credits: 3
Day: B
Start: 1050
End: 1205
Field Work: Day 1 - Gdansk - Friday, 5 September | Poland Download Syllabus

This course offers an overview of social psychology– the scientific study of how people influence one another’s thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. Social psychology deals with the factors that lead us to behave in certain ways, especially in the presence of others, and looks at the conditions that produce various kinds of judgments, feelings and behaviors, including our interactions with others.

Topics covered  include:  the self; perception of individuals and groups; attitude change and attitude-behavior relations;  social influence and persuasion;  group processes, including conformity and leadership; attraction to others including friends and romantic partners; intergroup relationships including discrimination, prejudice and stereotypes;  gender roles including their change over time; and altruism and aggression.  Consideration will be given to the issue of how a number of these topics are influenced by the cultural context. In addition, attention will also be paid to the ways in which social psychologists commonly carry out their research, including experimental methods and survey research.

Field Work

Country: Poland
Day: 1 - Gdansk - Friday, 5 September

We will visit the Stutthof Concentration Camp about 20 miles outside of Gdansk to see some of the buildings of that camp and the exhibits in them regarding the camp.  Stutthof was the first concentration camp opened by the Nazis outside of Germany and the last to be freed by the Allied forces at the end of WW2. Prisoners were used as forced labor in a wide variety of factory and agricultural settings under the eye of guards from Poland as well as Germany and many were killed it Stutthof’s gas chamber. In addition, this was the site of horrific experiments in manufacturing soap from human fat. After visiting the camp we will proceed to visit either a Jewish Community Center or a Synagogue. Here we will have an opportunity to learn about the state of intergroup relations between Jews and their fellow Poles today and to ask questions regarding changes since the end of World War II.  Ideally, we will try to arrange for individuals of various ages to participate, to get a historical perspective on these issues. Academic Objectives: 1. To provide a concrete illustration of the tremendous importance of understanding the factors that influence intergroup relations 2. To help the group analyze which theories of intergroup relations best explain the Holocaust and similar genocidal situations around the world 3. To learn about the process of recovery and reconciliation after a genocide