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An Introduction to Social Psychology

Course Code: PSYC 3330
Faculty: Humanities & Social Sciences
Department: Psychology
Credits: 3.0
Semester: 15
Learning Format: Lecture
Typically Offered: TBD. Contact Department Chair for more info.
course overview

This course provides an introduction to the study of how people think, feel and behave in social contexts. The focus is on social behaviour and thought from the individual’s perspective, with the importance of social influence and situational factors being emphasized. Topics will include: social perception, attitudes and behaviour, interpersonal attraction and relationships, the social self and social identity, aggression, conformity, obedience, persuasion, prejudice, prosocial behaviour, and applied social psychology. Research methods in social psychology will also be covered.

Course Content

  1. Introduction to Social Psychology.
  2. Scientific Method in Social Psychology.
  3. Social Perception and Social Cognition.
  4. The Self-Concept and Social Identity.
  5. Attitudes and Behaviour.
  6. Prejudice and Discrimination.
  7. Interpersonal Attraction and Close Relationships.
  8. Social Influence.
  9. Prosocial Behaviour.
  10. Aggression.
  11. Group Processes.
  12. Applied Social Psychology.

Methods of Instruction

This course will employ a number of instructional methods to accomplish its objectives and will include some of the following:

  • lectures
  • audio visual materials
  • small group discussions
  • demonstrations and hands-on activities

Means of Assessment

The course evaluation will be in accordance with Douglas College and Psychology Department policies. Evaluations will be based on the course objectives. The specific evaluation criteria will be provided by the instructor at the beginning of the semester.

An example of a possible evaluation scheme would be:

Literature review paper                      15%

Presentation or group work                10%

2 midterm exams                             50%

Final exam                                       25%


Learning Outcomes

At the conclusion of the course the student will be able to:

  1. Describe the characteristics of social psychology and contrast it with similar disciplines.
  2. Discuss the major developing areas of theory and research in contemporary social psychology (i.e., applied social psychology, cross-cultural research, social cognition, and the evolutionary approach).
  3. Identify the main features of the various types of studies and research designs commonly used in social psychological research.
  4. Describe the important ethical issues involved in conducting social psychological research.
  5. Describe the process of social perception and the factors that influence it.
  6. Explain the processes involved in making causal attributions and discuss common errors or biases in these processes.
  7. Explain the operation of heuristics, counterfactual thinking, and other automatic or controlled processes involved in social cognition.
  8. Define attitudes and describe various means of measuring them.
  9. Discuss findings and theory on the relationship between attitudes and behaviour.
  10. Describe the theories of attitude change, including the role of cognitive dissonance.
  11. Discuss the nature of the self-concept, including biases in self-perception.
  12. Discuss social identity theory.
  13. Describe cultural differences in the self-concept and social-identity and how they influence social cognition and behaviour.
  14. Identify the primary sources of prejudice.
  15. Describe methods of reducing conflict and prejudice.
  16. Describe the main factors related to forming friendships and romantic relationships.
  17. Identify the characteristics that influence romantic attraction in men and women.
  18. Identify the major theories used to explain the formation of close relationships.
  19. Describe the processes involved in maintaining relationships and ending relationships.
  20. Describe how both situational factors and internal motivations underlie the operation of various forms of social influence: conformity, compliance, and obedience.
  21. Identify and explain the operation of various persuasion techniques.
  22. Describe how situational factors affect whether someone gives help to others. Also explain how personal and cultural factors influence our tendency to help.
  23. Describe the theories of altruism and helping behaviour.
  24. Describe the factors that increase or decrease aggression.
  25. Describe the theories of aggression.
  26. Discuss the characteristics of groups and why we form them.
  27. Discuss how and why the presence of others affects our behaviour.
  28. Identify the possible pitfalls of group decision-making and provide recommendations to maximize the group’s success.
  29. Describe the applications of social psychology to various fields.

course prerequisites

PSYC 1100 and PSYC 1200


Courses listed here must be completed either prior to or simultaneously with this course:

  • No corequisite courses


Courses listed here are equivalent to this course and cannot be taken for further credit:

  • No equivalency courses

curriculum guidelines

Course Guidelines for previous years are viewable by selecting the version desired. If you took this course and do not see a listing for the starting semester/year of the course, consider the previous version as the applicable version.

course schedule and availability
course transferability

Below shows how this course and its credits transfer within the BC transfer system. 

A course is considered university-transferable (UT) if it transfers to at least one of the five research universities in British Columbia: University of British Columbia; University of British Columbia-Okanagan; Simon Fraser University; University of Victoria; and the University of Northern British Columbia.

For more information on transfer visit the BC Transfer Guide and BCCAT websites.


If your course prerequisites indicate that you need an assessment, please see our Assessment page for more information.