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The Value of Studying Social Psychology

 Written by    April 22, 2019

As a social psychology and personality minor, I chose to take social psychology for one of my minor requirements (Psychology 2367). It was a great class and thoroughly covered the basics of social psychology, all of which was supported by research studies from the past hundred plus years. As a 2367 course, however, this class also fulfilled the general education (GE) requirement for second level writing and social science. I think it’s  interesting regardless of major because it provides insight to why humans behave the ways they do, especially in social situations.

We covered more than a dozen topics including: research methods, social cognition, attribution, the self, attitudes, persuasion, social influence, cognitive dissonance, emotion, close relationships, attraction, groups, stereotyping, prejudice, aggression and prosocial behavior.

It sounds like a lot, but we spent several class periods on each section. Zachary Niese, who taught the class and is a PhD candidate in psychology, gave lectures on the course content and posted the corresponding slides. I took notes during class and typed out the key terms for each chapter, which were provided in our textbook (which was free and online!). Here’s the link in case you’re curious.

As a second level writing course, we had five papers/projects, including one group project. The papers weren’t too laborious, only two pages each. One included revising a previous paper and another involved peer review. Zach taught the basics of paper writing as well, satisfying the second level writing requirement.

In addition to the papers and projects we had two midterms but no final. Our “final” was a personal presentation—five minutes or less—that connected and applied three major course concepts. 

Finally, 50 points of our grade were from out top five quiz grades. We had seven or eight quizzes, so it wasn’t like one bad score could compromise your grade. Attendance didn’t count toward our grade, but I went to class to learn the lecture material and hear about what was required for the projects and papers.

Overall this was a great class, and I’d recommend it even if you’ve never taken a course in psychology. If you’re at all interested in studying the way humans think, feel, behave and interact, this class will teach you a lot.

This is what our free online textbook interface looked like (PHOTO BY KAPCAR).

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