Social psychology is the scientific study of the way people think about, feel, and behave in social situations. It involves understanding how people influence, and are influenced by, others. In this class, you will be introduced to the perspectives, research methods, and empirical findings of social psychology. We will explore topics such as persuasion, conformity, interpersonal attraction, prosocial behavior, stereotyping and prejudice. We will also discuss how culture and social media shape our understanding of ourselves and others.
Social psychology examines the relationship between the individual and society. It has developed into several forms and approaches in Europe and North America, and more recently in South America and Asia. Due to its central importance in psychology, it has been substantially responsible for the creation of several other applied fields, including cross-cultural psychology, forensic psychology, political psychology and environmental psychology.
More than any other field within psychology, social psychology is intrinsically cultural. The cultural basis of social psychology and its strong links to social sciences such as sociology, anthropology, and cross-cultural psychology require a cultural and international approach, which fits perfectly with the semester at sea experience.
Field WorkCountry: South Africa
Date: March 18, 2020
Apartheid was a South African system of legalized racial discrimination that ended in 1994, when Nelson Mandela became South Africa's first Black president. The following year, President Mandela made history by creating a Truth and Reconciliation Commission to help the country come to terms with its past and promote healing. In 2019, the end of Apartheid celebrated its 25th anniversary, and society has been radically transformed. This field class experience will include a visit to Robben Island, where Nelson Mandela was imprisoned from 1964 to 1982. The excursion will be made by ferry boat and will include a prison tour and an opportunity to speak with a former political prisoner. After lunch, we will meet with Christo Brand, who served as Nelson Mandela's "warder" (guard) for more than a decade and who ultimately became a close friend of former President Mandela. During our time with Christo Brand, we will discuss his personal transformation as well as the wider transformation of South Africa from a state of unrest and apartheid to a state of peace and reconciliation. We'll also explore techniques for practicing forgiveness and reconciliation in daily life, using the example of a society who practiced this powerful form of social psychological healing.
1. Learn about apartheid and contemporary race relations in South Africa
2. Examine the psychology of forgiveness and reconciliation using South Africa as a case study
3. Apply insights about forgiveness and reconciliation to domains other than apartheid and race relations