The Social Animal

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Winter 2017 quarter

Taught by

Because we as human beings spend a good deal of our time interacting with other people--being influenced by them, influencing them, being delighted, amused, saddened, and angered by them--it is natural that we develop hypotheses about social behavior. In that sense, we are all amateur social psychologists.

Eliot Aronson, The Social Animal , 2012

In this full-time program, we will explore the fundamentals of social psychology, the field that bridges psychology and sociology, to examine how people think, feel, and behave because of the real (or imagined) presence of social others. This program starts with the premise that human beings are inherently social beings informed, influenced, and constituted by the social world. This social psychological view of the self explores the ways that individuals are enmeshed and embodied within the social context both in the moment and the long-term, ever constructing who we are, how we present ourselves to the world, and how we are perceived by others.

Through reading classic and newly published research studies in social psychology, twice-weekly seminar, lecture/workshop, film, and writing and research assignments, we will cover the fundamental topics within the field including: conformity, emotions, persuasion, obedience to authority, social cognition, stereotyping, prejudice, aggression, pro-social behavior, attraction, and love. We will also learn about and practice social psychological research methods and data analysis, including systematic observation, online survey, experiment, and interview. A final project will be to conduct interview-based, qualitative research on a social psychological phenomenon of each student's own interest.

Program Details

Fields of Study

psychology sociology

Preparatory For

graduate school in psychology or sociology


Winter Open

Location and Schedule

Campus Location


Time Offered


Advertised Schedule

First class meeting: Tuesday, January 10th at 10am (Sem II D4107)

Online Learning

Enhanced Online Learning


2016-10-05New winter opportunity added.