Introduction to Social Psychology (section 1)

Discipline: Psychology
Instructor: vonHippel
Credits: 3
Day: B
Start: 1540
End: 1655
Field Work: Day 5 | Japan 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: Japan
Day: 5

In this field lab we will visit Reverend Takafumi Kawakami of the Shunkoin Temple & Zen Center in Kyoto. The visit will include four 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 with Reverend Kawakami, in which we will have the opportunity to engage in guided meditation and also learn about Zen Buddhism.  Second, we will have an opportunity to talk to Reverend Kawakami about how people attain life satisfaction and daily contentment -- and how they learn to control temptation and desire -- from a Zen Buddhist perspective. Third, we will have an opportunity to tour the temple to see what the experience is like for visitors as well as for priests. Finally, there will be an opportunity at the end of the visit for student discussion and reflection. Academic Objectives:

  1. This lab will link to the lectures on happiness and the self. It will also relate to the ongoing theme of cross-cultural psychology.
  2. 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 a Buddhist perspective and with their experiences at the temple. The paper is due at the beginning of class on February 24 (B11) and is worth 25% of the final grade.