Effective: Late Fall 8-Week, 2018/2019

PSYC 360: *Social Psychology

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  Course Description

Theories, methods and research on the nature and causes of individual behavior in social situations. Cross-listed as SOCI 360.

Prerequisite: PSYC 101; and PSYC/SOCI 175 taken previously or concurrently

Proctored Exams: Final


As part of TruitionSM, students will receive their course materials automatically as described below.


  •  Aronson, E.; Wilson, T.D., Akert, R.M. & Sommers, S.R.. (2016). Social Psychology (9th Edition). Boston MA: Pearson.  eText

Bookstore Information

Visit https://www.ccis.edu/bookstore.aspx for details.

eText Information

If a course uses an eText, (see Textbook information above) the book will be available directly in Desire2Learn (D2L) and through the VitalSource eText reader the Friday before the session begins, if registered for courses prior to that date.  Students will have a VitalSource account created for them using their CougarMail email address. Upon first login to VitalSource, students may need to verify their account and update their VitalSource password.  More information about how to use the VitalSource platform, including offline access to eTexts, can be found in D2L.  Students that would like to order an optional print-on-demand copy of eligible eTexts can do so through the VitalSource bookshelf at an additional cost.  Once orders are placed, it can take approximately five to seven business days for students to receive their print-on-demand books.

Physical Course Materials Information

Students enrolled in courses that require physical materials will receive these materials automatically at the address on file with Columbia College.  Delivery date of physical materials is dependent on registration date and shipping location.  Please refer to confirmation emails sent from Ed Map for more details on shipping status.

Returns: Students who drop a course with physical course materials will be responsible for returning those items to Ed Map within 30 days of receipt of the order.  More specific information on how to do so will be included in the package received from Ed Map.  See here for Ed Map's return policy. Failure to return physical items from a dropped course will result in a charge to the student account for all unreturned items.

Note: Students who opt-out of having their books provided as part of TruitionSM are responsible for purchasing their own course materials.

  Course Overview

This course focuses on the interrelationship between the individual and his/her social environment. We will see how people influence their social environment by their thoughts, which in turn influence their behaviors. We will also focus on how the social environment can encourage or constrain a person's behaviors. This course focuses on the theories and related research that define the nature and causes of individual behavior within social situations.

  Technology Requirements

Participation in this course will require the basic technology for all online classes at Columbia College:
  • A computer with reliable Internet access
  • A web browser
  • Acrobat Reader
  • Microsoft Office or another word processor such as Open Office

You can find more details about standard technical requirements for our courses on our site.

  Course Learning Outcomes

  1. Demonstrate an understanding of the main concepts and theories of social psychology.
  2. Demonstrate an ability to understand the empirical primary source literature in the discipline.
  3. Demonstrate the ability to critically discuss, compare, contrast, and/or integrate the theories, findings, and research of social psychology.
  4. Demonstrate the ability to produce written work consistent with disciplinary (i.e.; APA 6e) standards.


Grading Scale

Grade Points Percent
A 567-630 90-100%
B 504-566 80-89%
C 441-503 70-79%
D 378-440 60-69%
F 0-377 0-59%

Grade Weights

Assignment Category Points Percent
Discussions (12) 140 22%
Quizzes (8) 160 25%
Research Paper (1) 180 29%
Final Exam (1) 150 24%
Total 630 100%

  Schedule of Due Dates

Week 1

Assignment Points Due
Discussion 1: Introductions 10 Thursday/Sunday
Discussion 2: Third Variables 10
Quiz 1 20 Sunday

Week 2

Assignment Points Due
Discussion 3: Self-Fulfilling Prophecies 10 Thursday/Sunday
Discussion 4: A Smile is Just a Frown Turned Upside-down 10
Quiz 2 20 Sunday
Proctor Information N/A

Week 3

Assignment Points Due
Discussion 5: self-Concept 10 Thursday/Sunday
Quiz 3 20 Sunday
Research Paper Proposal 30

Week 4

Assignment Points Due
Discussion 6: Attitude 10 Thursday/Sunday
Discussion 7: Conformity 10
Quiz 4 20 Sunday

Week 5

Assignment Points Due
Discussion 8: Interpersonal Attraction 10 Thursday/Sunday
Discussion 9: Prosocial Behavior 10
Quiz 5 20 Sunday

Week 6

Assignment Points Due
Discussion 10: Portrayal of Aggression on Television 10 Thursday/Sunday
Discussion 11: Realistic Conflict Theory 10
Quiz 6 20 Sunday

Week 7

Assignment Points Due
Discussion 12: Conflict and Cooperation 10 Thursday/Sunday
Research Paper 150 Sunday
Quiz 7 20

Week 8

Assignment Points Due
Discussion 13: Stress in Your Life 10 Thursday/Saturday
Discussion 14: Expert Testimony 10
Quiz 8 20 Saturday
Final Exam 150
Total Points: 630

  Assignment Overview


Each week there will be 1-2 discussion topics to answer and participate in that are worth 10 points each. Discussion topics will become available on the Monday of each week and all work must be completed by 11:59 pm CT Sunday, except in Week 8 where it will be due on Saturday.

You must post your original response to each discussion topic/prompt by 11:59 pm CT Thursday. You must then respond to two other student initial posts within each discussion topic by 11:59 pm CT Sunday (i.e.; four responses on weeks with two discussions, two on weeks with one discussion). This only changes in Week 8 where all responses are due on Saturday.

Each discussion will be graded on the initial response, support of argument, style and use of APA, and the quality of the interaction with classmates. A grading rubric will be provided.


There will be weekly quizzes in Weeks 1-8 worth 20 points each. Quizzes will be available beginning 12:01 am CT Tuesday and be due at 11:59 pm CT Sunday of the same week, except in Week 8, where Quiz 8 will be due Saturday.

Quizzes will be comprised of 20 multiple-choice questions and cover the assigned readings for the course. You will have one timed (60 minutes with a 5 minute grace period) attempt at each quiz.

Research Paper

You will develop a Research Paper about current research and theory on a topic relevant to social psychology. The Research Paper must be grounded in the empirical literature of psychology that would serve as a primer for someone interested in what social psychologists have to say about the chosen topic.


In Week 3 you will device a proposal for your Research Paper. It should be a presentation and support of the thesis for your final paper. The Research Paper Proposal should offer a narrative in support of the thesis. It should include a discussion of at least two peer-reviewed journal articles that will differ depending on your choice of an explication, argumentative, or integrative approach.

Your Proposal should include a title page, reference page, and 3-4 pages of text that are double-spaced and written in APA style. The title page, reference page, and any figures, graphs, or addenda do not count toward the page requirement. The Research Paper Proposal will be due to the appropriate dropbox by 11:59 pm CT Sunday in Week 3.

Final Paper

The final Research Paper should be 8-10 pages in length, double-spaced and written correctly in APA style. The title page, abstract, reference pages, and any figures and/or graphs do not count toward the final page requirement. Margins, font, and font-size should be standard to the current version of MS Word, which should be used for formatting your final paper.

The Research Paper must utilize at least 6 peer-reviewed journal articles, academic books, or chapters from academic books (not including the assigned text) as sources. Specific requirements for sources and those appropriate for use can be found in the Content area with additional guidance and support. A grading rubric will also be provided. The Research Paper, worth 150 points, will be due to the appropriate dropbox at 11:59 pm CT Sunday in Week 7.

Final Exam

The Final Exam must be proctored. Proctor information is due to the appropriate dropbox by 11:59 pm CT Sunday of Week 2. The Final Exam will be cumulative, covering material from all chapters covered in the course. It will consist of 100 multiple-choice questions and be worth 150 points. You will have 120 minutes to complete the exam. It will open at 12:01 am CT Tuesday, and must be completed by 11:59 pm CT Saturday of Week 8.

  Course Outline

Click on each week to view details about the activities scheduled for that week.

Aronson et al., Chapters 1 and 2
Discussion 1: Introductions

During the first week we will take the time to "socialize" and get to know one another. In the appropriate Discussion, create a topic and introduce yourself! Include information such as why you are interested in Social Psychology, what you would like to get out of the course, and a trait you possess that you feel is unique or different from other people. If you feel comfortable doing so, tell us about yourself, including any personal or professional details you’d like to share, or even your location and how long you have lived there. Please feel free to tell the class about YOU!

Discussion 2: Third Variables

Strong correlational research requires trying to predict extraneous variables or third variables (your text talks about this on pages 32-33) that might provide an alternative explanation for your correlation. The reason for this, of course, is so that you can control for them ahead of time in some fashion. Otherwise, that third variable will hang about and provide a possible alternative explanation for the correlation that isn’t your hypothesis. Third variables relate to both variables of interest. An example can be found on page 33 of your text where the idea that a man’s upbringing (say, being taught that women are meant for men’s pleasure) may make it more likely he’d look at internet porn and make it more likely he’d commit sexual violence.

That example is pretty weighty, so let’s have some fun. For this discussion, visit the website "spurious correlations" (URL listed in the Content area). Tyler Vigen has calculated real correlations from existing data that obviously are not causally related. Your task for Discussion 2 is to come up with one third variable that might plausibly explain the correlation. Your answer can be silly or serious, but make it at least somewhat plausible. Please include the reported correlation. For example: “The high positive correlation between Maine’s divorce rate and per capita consumption of margarine (r=.99) may be due to money. If people have less money, they might be more likely to get divorced (due to financial stresses) and more likely to buy margarine (due to lower prices). So declining divorce and margarine consumption rates have the same root cause: increasing levels of family income.” You can use any of the correlations (Vigen has graphed 30,000 or so), or click on the link “Discover a correlation” at the bottom of the page to choose from the other variables on which he has data. Report your correlation and third variable to the appropriate Discussion topic.

Quiz 1
Quiz 1 will cover the readings in Chapter 1, 2.

Aronson et al., Chapters 3 and 4

Discussion 3: Self-Fulfilling Prophecies

A self-fulfilling prophecy occurs when an individual A has a preconceived expectation about another person B. The individual A reacts to the person B accordingly. This in turn causes person B to act in a way consistent with the original expectation. This week's discussion will examine schemas and self-fulfilling prophecies. Post answers to the following prompts in the appropriate Discussion topic:

  1. Define schema in your own words and discuss whether you think schemas influence how events are interpreted.
  2. Define self-fulfilling prophecy in your own words and how it might relate to an individual's schema.
  3. Give an example (either from personal experience or one you create – but not the one from the text).

Your initial post should not be more than 3 concise paragraphs in length.

Discussion 4: A Smile is Just a Frown Turned Upside-down

In this discussion, you will act as an experimenter and perform the simple experiment listed below. You will then post your results to the appropriate discussion topic and provide the required responses to the following questions:

  1. Enter a public space and after spending several minutes observing people, work to intentionally make eye contact with a stranger. Choose to either smile or not smile while passing that stranger. You are to pick the following sampling of participants (i.e.; you will have a total of 20 instances/responses):
    • Five females and five males to smile at
    • Five males and five females to NOT smile at
  2. When organizing your results, code the responses:
    • Smile
    • No Smile
    • Acknowledged without smiling
    • Avoidance (ie, averting eyes/gaze)
    • Other (please list in a short sentence)
  3. Present your statistics from this experiment under the headings Male and Female. Please paste your results into the discussion and do not use an attachment. Discuss your results with your classmates and be sure to respond substantively.
Quiz 2

Quiz 2 will cover the readings in Chapter 3, 4.

Aronson et al., Chapters 5 and 6
Discussion 5: self-Concept

Define self-concept in your own words and discuss whether an individual's self-concept is stable or varies over time and circumstance. Consider whether individuals can change their self-concept by introspection and discuss how the Self-Awareness Theory influenced your overall decision. Provide references from both the text and the articles listed in the references link on your course home page to support your position. If you quote another web site please reference your work by providing the web site address. For this assignment, you are to read the chapter in the text and any articles that interest you that are listed in the references. After reading, it is my expectation that you will present a cogent discussion of the above items.

Quiz 3

Quiz 3 will cover the readings in Chapter 5, 6.

Research Paper Proposal

Develop a Research Paper Proposal that is essentially a first draft of the introduction. The proposal should be a presentation and support of the thesis for the final Research Paper. The narrative in support of the thesis should include a discussion of at least two peer-reviewed journal articles and will differ depending on the student’s choice of an explication, argumentative, or integrative approach. It should be 3-4 pages in length, double-spaced, and written in APA style.


Aronson et al., Chapters 7 and 8

Discussion 6: Attitude

Social psychology defines an attitude as consisting of any one of, or some combination of, three components: the affective, the behavioral, and the cognitive (ABC). Look at the ABCs of ONE of the following attitudes. Describe any and all of the components that are part of the attitude. Also, discuss how you think the attitude was formed.

  1. Asian men are very smart.
  2. Muscular women who lift weights are lesbians.
  3. People on welfare are lazy.
  4. Old people are difficult to get along with.
  5. Blue collar men are not very smart.
  6. People who are raised as an only child are spoiled.
  7. People who have a lot of pets are not very clean.
  8. Women should do all the housework around the house.

In your response, also include how you would go about changing an attitude, using both the central and peripheral routes to persuasion. Let me know that you have read and understood the materials.

Discussion 7: Conformity

Obedience to authority can be a powerful social pressure to conform and comply with a request that might be against our intuitive sense of right and wrong. Milgram's study of obedience has contributed to understanding how people can commit inhuman acts under situational constraints. Read about the experiment and put yourself in the participant's situation and explain how you honestly think you would have responded if you were in that experiment. Would you have administered the shocks?

Quiz 4

Quiz 4 will cover the readings in Chapter 7, 8.


Aronson et al., Chapters 10 and 11

Discussion 8: Interpersonal Attraction

Rusbult’s Investment Model of Commitment is a psychological spin on the old “make a list of pros and cons” of your relationship. For this discussion, use the model to discuss a relationship you were/are not a part of but have observed (and consider changing the names to protect the innocent!). This relationship can even be a fictional one (e.g.; Heathcliff and Catherine from Wuthering Heights). Be sure to discuss all the components of the model.

Discussion 9: Prosocial Behavior

Why do people help? Why will people sometimes perform acts of great self-sacrifice and heroism while other times act uncaring, heartless, and ignore the desperate pleas of those who need help? Pick a situational determinant that your text talks about as affecting prosocial behavior and talk about it in the context of a concrete example. This can be an example from your own life, or something you heard from a news story or a friend. Be sure to describe the factor appropriately and show its applicability.

Quiz 5

Quiz 5 will cover the readings in Chapter 10, 11.


Aronson et al., Chapters 12 and 13

Discussion 10: Portrayal of Aggression on Television

A recent study found that 58% of television programs contained violence, and of those selected, over 78% showed no remorse, criticism of the violence, or penalty for the violent act. For this assignment you will be required to watch one hour of television (cable, satellite, or local channels) and count the number of aggressive acts you view and rate each act on intensity and duration. Rate the intensity of each act on a scale of 1-10 with 1 being low and 10 being extreme violence. Rate the duration according to the number of seconds of violence you viewed. Discuss your results and express your views and understanding of at least two of the distinct reactions that explain why exposure to violence may cause aggression as described in your text.

Discussion 11: Realistic Conflict Theory

This theory states that limited resources lead to conflict between groups and result in increased prejudice and discrimination. Sherif’s work, however, suggests that six conditions can help reduce prejudice. Come up with an example of prejudice that is based on realistic conflict theory, and offer your opinion on why you think any or all of Sherif’s six conditions would be effective in reducing the prejudice.

Quiz 6

Quiz 6 will cover the readings in Chapter 12, 13.

Aronson et al., Chapters 9
Discussion 12: Conflict and Cooperation

Do people cooperate or compete? We will examine and analyze cooperation and conflict using an interesting challenge which pits you against the computer. Visit the Prisoner's Dilemma, linked from the Content area for Week 8. You may try to outsmart the computer and win. You may choose to cooperate in the hopes of winning. Analyze the actions of the computer and report the results to the class.

Research Paper
The final Research Paper is due to the appropriate dropbox. It should be 8-10 pages double-spaced in length and properly use APA style and at least 6 peer-reviewed journal articles, academic books, or chapters from academic books as sources. Additional guidelines and a grading rubric can be found in the Content area.
Quiz 7
Quiz 7 will cover the readings in Chapter 9.

Aronson et al., Social Psychology in Action 1-3

Discussion 13: Stress in Your Life

I have 'stressed' (pardon the pun) the importance of this chapter because it is so crucial to the overall well-being of your life and of your academic success. In this discussion thread I would like you to do/discuss all of the following:

  1. What is stress and how does it affect our health?
  2. What is the long-term effect of a negative life event?
  3. Complete the Holmes-Rahe Stress Inventory (URL provided in the Content area) and determine your score.
  4. Does perceiving some control in a stressful situation help moderate our overall reaction to the stress? Give an example in your own life experience.
  5. What do you find the most effective way to cope with stress?
Discussion 14: Expert Testimony

View the required video Eyewitness: When the Only Witness is also the Victim. Explore also the television transcripts for What Jennifer Saw the online resources PBS has made available linked in the Content area. Use at least two of the concepts discussed in the text (e.g.; own-race bias, reconstructive memory, source monitoring, etc.) to talk about the problems with eyewitness testimony that impacted the case against Ronald Cotton. If you have trouble believing an eyewitness can be wrong, make your case for the trustworthiness of eyewitness testimony by citing empirical evidence from the psychological literature supporting your argument.

Quiz 8

Quiz 8 will cover Social Psychology in Action 1-3.

Final Exam

The Final Exam must be proctored. It will be cumulative, covering material from all chapters covered in the course. The Final Exam will consist of 100 multiple-choice questions and is worth 150 points. You will have 120 minutes to complete the Final Exam. The Final Exam opens at 12:01 am CT Tuesday of Week 8 and must be completed by 11:59 pm CT Saturday of Week 8.

  Course Policies

Student Conduct

All Columbia College students, whether enrolled in a land-based or online course, are responsible for behaving in a manner consistent with Columbia College's Student Conduct Code and Acceptable Use Policy. Students violating these policies will be referred to the office of Student Affairs and/or the office of Academic Affairs for possible disciplinary action. The Student Code of Conduct and the Computer Use Policy for students can be found in the Columbia College Student Handbook. The Handbook is available online; you can also obtain a copy by calling the Student Affairs office (Campus Life) at 573-875-7400. The teacher maintains the right to manage a positive learning environment, and all students must adhere to the conventions of online etiquette.

Plagiarism and Academic Integrity

Academic integrity is a cumulative process that begins with the first college learning opportunity. Students are responsible for knowing the Academic Integrity policy and procedures and may not use ignorance of either as an excuse for academic misconduct. Columbia College recognizes that the vast majority of students at Columbia College maintain high ethical academic standards; however, failure to abide by the prohibitions listed herein is considered academic misconduct and may result in disciplinary action, a failing grade on the assignment, and/or a grade of "F" for the course.

Additionally, all required papers may be submitted for textual similarity review to Turnitin.com for the detection of plagiarism. All submitted papers may be included in the Turnitin.com reference database for the purpose of detecting plagiarism. This service is subject to the Terms and Conditions of Use posted on the Turnitin.com site.


There will be no discrimination on the basis of sex, race, color, national origin, sexual orientation, religion, ideology, political affiliation, veteran status, age, physical handicap, or marital status.

Student Accessibility Resources

Columbia College is committed to creating a learning environment that meets the needs of its diverse student body. If you anticipate or experience any barriers to learning, communicate your concerns with the instructor. In addition to speaking with the instructor, the following resources are available to ensure an opportunity to learn in an inclusive environment that values mutual respect.

  • For students with disabilities/conditions who are experiencing barriers to learning or assessment, contact the Student Accessibility Resources office at (573) 875-7626 or sar@ccis.edu to discuss a range of options to removing barriers in the course, including accommodations.
  • For students who are experiencing conflict which is impacting their educational environment, contact the Office of Student Conduct at studentconduct@ccis.edu or (573) 875-7877.
  • For students who have concerns related to discrimination or harassment based on sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, pregnancy or parental status, please contact the Title IX Office at titleixcoordinator@ccis.edu. More information can be found at http://www.ccis.edu/policies/notice-of-non-discrimination-and-equal-opportunity.aspx

Online Participation

You are expected to read the assigned texts and participate in the discussions and other course activities each week. Assignments should be posted by the due dates stated on the grading schedule in your syllabus. If an emergency arises that prevents you from participating in class, please let your instructor know as soon as possible.

Attendance Policy

Attendance for a week will be counted as having submitted any assigned activity for which points are earned. Attendance for the week is based upon the date work is submitted. A class week is defined as the period of time between Monday and Sunday (except for week 8, when the work and the course will end on Saturday at midnight.) The course and system deadlines are based on the Central Time Zone.

Cougar Email

All students are provided a CougarMail account when they enroll in classes at Columbia College. You are responsible for monitoring email from that account for important messages from the College and from your instructor. You may forward your Cougar email account to another account; however, the College cannot be held responsible for breaches in security or service interruptions with other email providers.

Students should use email for private messages to the instructor and other students. The class discussions are for public messages so the class members can each see what others have to say about any given topic and respond.

Late Assignment Policy

An online class requires regular participation and a commitment to your instructor and your classmates to regularly engage in the reading, discussion and writing assignments. Although most of the online communication for this course is asynchronous, you must be able to commit to the schedule of work for the class for the next eight weeks. You must keep up with the schedule of reading and writing to successfully complete the class.

No late discussion posts will be accepted.

In addition:

  • The Research Paper Proposal will lose 5 points per day late submitted. No papers submitted more than 2 days after the due date will be accepted for grading.
  • The Research Paper will lose 10 points per day late submitted. No papers submitted more than 2 days after the due date will be accepted for grading.
  • Quizzes and the Final Exam may not be made up after the deadline has passed.

Course Evaluation

You will have an opportunity to evaluate the course near the end of the session. A link will be sent to your CougarMail that will allow you to access the evaluation. Be assured that the evaluations are anonymous and that your instructor will not be able to see them until after final grades are submitted.

Proctor Policy

Students taking courses that require proctored exams must submit their completed proctor request forms to their instructors by the end of the second week of the session. Proctors located at Columbia College campuses are automatically approved. The use of ProctorU services is also automatically approved. The instructor of each course will consider any other choice of proctor for approval or denial. Additional proctor choices the instructor will consider include: public librarians, high school or college instructors, high school or college counseling services, commanding officers, education service officers, and other proctoring services. Personal friends, family members, athletic coaches and direct supervisors are not acceptable.

  Additional Resources

Orientation for New Students

This course is offered online, using course management software provided by Desire2Learn and Columbia College. The course user guide provides details about taking an online course at Columbia College. You may also want to visit the course demonstration to view a sample course before this one opens.

Technical Support

If you have problems accessing the course or posting your assignments, contact your instructor, the Columbia College Technology Solutions Center, or the D2L Helpdesk for assistance. If you have technical problems with the VitalSource eText reader, please contact VitalSource. Contact information is also available within the online course environment.

Online Tutoring

Smarthinking is a free online tutoring service available to all Columbia College students. Smarthinking provides real-time online tutoring and homework help for Math, English, and Writing. Smarthinking also provides access to live tutorials in writing and math, as well as a full range of study resources, including writing manuals, sample problems, and study skills manuals. You can access the service from wherever you have a connection to the Internet. I encourage you to take advantage of this free service provided by the college.

Access Smarthinking through CougarTrack under Students -> Academics -> Academic Resources.