SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY 254
Time: Tuesdays/Thursdays 1230-145 (section 01), 2-315 (section 02)
Place: Recitation 211
Professor: Dr. M. Foster
Office/hours: Peoples, 43: Tuesday, Thursdays: 11:00-12:30; Wednesdays: 5-7 pm
Telephone: 610 436 3153
Web pages: http://courses.wcupa.edu/mfoster
Required Text: Myers, D. G. (2001). Social Psychology. Boston: McGraw-Hill College.
Optional Text: Scott, J. M., Koch, R.E., Scott, G. M., & Garrison, S. M. (1999). The Psychology
Student Writer's Manual. New Jersey: Prentice Hall.
Disclaimers: This course schedule may change depending on various things: weather, text
changes, long discussions etc.
1. Students will learn about the various human behaviors influenced by social factors.
2. Students will learn about research in social psychology, and how to do research in social psychology
3. The above objectives will be attained via writing activities, where students will learn how to write and think critically. In addition, students will learn how to cooperate with other students to help each other attain these goals.
4. This course is designed to meet three general education goals.
A. Communicate effectively: This course is designed to teach students how to communicate through various writing tasks, and through verbal discussions.
B. Think critically and analytically: Throughout the class, students are taught the various ways they can examine research to criticize it and redesign it so that it can be improved. This is also one of their writing tasks.
C. Respond thoughtfully to diversity: Another writing task involves critically analyzing gender and racial stereotypes presented by the media. Students will learn to think about and respond to issues of racism and sexism.
Gender writing project = 25%
Research proposal writing project=25%
Quiz 1= 10%
Quiz 3 (Final) =20%
1. Research Proposal:
Students will be required to write a short research proposal, no longer than five pages. These research proposals will be designed to "improve" upon any existing experiment. Students may choose any experiment that appeals to them, provided it has been published within the last five years. The experiment must be in "social psychology." Experiments may be found in a wide range of journals (e.g., Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, Journal of Social Psychology, Psychology of Women Quarterly, Basic and Applied Social Psychology, Journal of Applied Social Psychology, Group Processes and Intergroup relations.
Information about what is expected in these papers will be provided in two ways. First, class time will be allotted for exercises directed at understanding how to criticize experiments, and for writing and editing the proposal. Second, The Psychology Student Writer's manual for guidance on writing in psychology will be helpful. These papers must be in APA format, which this manual also discusses. A helpful website for APA format is
Generally, research papers are divided into five parts: abstract, introduction, method, results and discussion sections. Because this is only a proposal for research, we will be doing the abstract, introduction and method only.
The abstract is to be no more than 150 words, which is APA format. Overall, abstracts are meant to summarize the whole papers. For this course, the abstract will contain approximately two sentences summarizing only the introduction and the method.
The introduction is usually meant to introduce past research (literature review), describe what is wrong with past research, and how your study will resolve past problems. In other words, the introduction should make it clear to the reader why your study is necessary. This is what psychology refers to as "the rationale" for doing the study. For this course, the rationale for doing your study will be much shorter, given only one article is reviewed. As such, the summary of the experiment should contain: the researcher's hypothesis, how this hypothesis was tested, and the results. The summary is followed by criticisms of the experiment. This will provide the rationale for proposing your study.
This is the section in which it is made clear how the redesign has satisfied all the criticisms. The redesign must resolve the problems of the older study, so all criticisms should be addressed in the method section. Another goal of the Method section is to give the reader enough detail about how to do the study, so that he or she could replicate it. Method sections contain three subsections: participants, materials and procedure.
Participants: The participants should be described in detail: number, sex, ethnicity etc. Look to the study you are critiquing for guidance on the details to provide.
Materials: The names and descriptions of the measures and materials used. Provide enough detail so that the reader could conduct the study using all the materials used in your redesign.
Procedure: Articulate each step of the procedure so that someone could replicate the study.
The lectures will be designed to teach the skills needed to undertake the research proposal: a
basic understanding of theories, research and how to critique the research.
2. Gender Writing Project
One of the tasks for the discussion on gender is to view the film entitled, "Killing Us Softly 3".
Students will be required to replicate the analysis depicted in this film. This requires gathering
three advertisements found either on television (which will require a videotape) or in magazines
and analyzing them based on the themes discussed in the film. For example, some themes that
we will be discussing include: the objectification of women and the depiction of women as
powerless. Using these themes to analyze your collected advertisements, you will write a "5-paragraph paper." The first paragraph involves a broad introduction to the topic, (e.g., the
importance of examining advertisements for sexist, racist themes). The 2nd, 3rd, and 4th
paragraphs serve as the "proof" paragraphs, where you will develop the logic that will support
your hypothesis. For example, if it is argued that an ad on perfume objectifies women, students
will describe all the elements of the ad that support this claim. The 5th and final paragraph is a
conclusion paragraph, which will summarize the findings, and end with a broad
3. Quizzes/Final Exams
The midterm will be a set of short answer questions/essay questions. These will be designed to
test content knowledge of the ideas discussed in class. The final will be a take-home exam, due
on the day/time of the scheduled final exam. This will require an integration of information from
throughout the course.
Expectations: Since part of the grade involves participation, attendance in class will affect your participation grade. Part of the enjoyment in class occurs when we can discuss the various issues we are learning about, so I encourage your take part and have fun. Peer editing sessions are not optional, but mandatory as they affect not only you, but your partner.
Finally, while students are certainly encouraged to share their work with peer editors for the purposes of editing, be aware that any form of plagiarism is illegal.
INTERNET PAGES: I place all overhead notes that I use in class on my web page. They will be
available (and most recent) by the evening before class. I expect that you will take advantage of
this benefit by bringing printed off copies to class so that you can do less writing and more
Course Schedule NOTE: The chapters/pages could change due to a new edition of the text.
September 28: Introductions
September 30, 4th : Research Methods
September 6, 11th: Attributions pp-53-77; pp 79-94; pp. 567-571
September 13th: Writing Quizzes (How to's)
September 18th, 20th: Gender
September 25th: Quiz 1
September 27th: Class canceled (Yom Kippur)
October 2nd: Writing the 5 paragraph paper (How to's)
October 4th, 11th : Attitudes
October 9th: Class canceled (University Festival)
October 16th: Peer Edits (Requirement: Bring draft of 5 paragraph paper)
October 18th, 23rd : Persuasion (Requirement: Bring an "appealing advertisement" to class)
October 23rd: Gender paper due
October 25th: Altruism
October 30th: Writing the Research Proposal
November 1st: Quiz 2
November 6th, 8th: Group Influence
November 13th: Peer Edits for Introduction section (Requirement: Bring draft of introduction)
November 15th, 20th: Aggression
November 22nd: Class canceled (Thanksgiving)
November 27th: Prejudice
November 29th: Peer Edits for Method, Abstract section (Requirement: Bring drafts of these)
December 4th: One on one draft sessions in my office
December 6th: Research Proposal due, Take home Final
December 13th : Finals due in my office by 1pm
We at West Chester University wish to make accommodations for persons with disabilities. Please make you needs known by contacting Dr. Foster and/or the Office of Services for Students with Disabilities at ext. 3217. Sufficient notice is needed in order to make the accommodations possible. The University desires to comply with the ADA of 1990.