Social Psychology (Soc 340)

MWF 2:30 - 3:20pm, Stanley Coulter Hall (SC) 239

Course Description

Social psychology is an interdisciplinary field with researchers across sociology, psychology, and organizational behavior actively contributing to the field. While the distinctions between different subfields of social psychology are sometimes blurry, this course focuses on sociological social psychology: the research, theories, and findings of sociologists who study social psychology. Social psychology generally has been defined as “…the systematic study of people’s thoughts, feelings, and behaviors in social contexts” and as the study of “…interaction among individuals, between an individual and a group, or among groups, ensconced in a particular social context, which gives meaning to unfolding behavior.”

Sociological social psychologists tend to focus on how larger macro-level factors of society such as groups, institutions, culture, and other social structures influence individual behavior, thoughts, beliefs, and emotions. Social psychology thus seeks to answer the questions of why do individuals do what they do, think what they think, and feel what they feel? Sociological social psychology provides answers as to how larger and often seemingly invisible factors influence people.

This course is organized around the three theoretical perspectives studied by sociological social psychologists: symbolic interactionism, group processes, and social structure and personality. We cover the specific topics of research methods, the self, social roles, identities, small groups, status, influence, leadership, power, social cognition, stereotyping, stigma, and emotions.