Social Psychology


Spring 2009

Would you obey an authority figure, cult leader, or politician - even if it meant doing unspeakable acts of malice? Ever wondered why nobody stopped to help that person in distress - surely you would have - or would you? Why are you in that long term relationship? Is it love or is it simply due to the fact that the rewards outweigh the costs. Would you aggress if provoked? Do you pre-judge people on a regular basis? Why is it your behavior is more akin to that of sheep than of the rugged individualism of the "Marlboro Man." Ever wonder if you have any special access to your own cognitions or are you just a pinball, bouncing from situation to situation, without any knowledge of what is truly influencing your behavior.

All of these questions deal with the power of the social situation to shape our behavior. We continuously underestimate the impact of the social situation - finding ourselves more comfortable with personality explanations of behavior. This course will provide you with the means to recognize the power of the social situation and better negotiate the minefield of reality. We will discuss such issues as: interpersonal attraction, prosocial behavior, aggression, prejudice, conformity, attitude change, social perception, social cognition, and group behavior. The focus of the course will be on applying theoretical concepts to real world situations. The format of the course will be lecture, discussion, and film. This course is required for admission into Webster University's MA in counseling program.

Links for Students