Introduction to Social Psychology

PSY 240

Fall Semester 2007

Instructor: Professor Kipling Williams

Office: PSYC 2166
Phone: 494-0845
Class Meetings: Mondays and Wednesdays, 10:30am - 11:20pm in EE 170
Office hours: Thursdays, 9:30am - 12:00pm
or by appointment

Download Syllabus






***Highest Cumulative Total from exams and recitation: 182***


Students can take practice exams by accessing this website:


Textbook: Baumeister, R. F., & Bushman, B. (2007) Social psychology and human nature. NY: Thompson.

(A limited number of study guides are available from the bookstore; buy one if you think you might need it.)

Recitation TAs and Meetings :

Office Hours
Zhansheng Chen 494-6892 PSYC 2188 Th 3:30-4:30pm
Laura VanderDrift 494-6892 PSYC 2176 T 11:30-12:30pm
Jim Wirth 494-6892 PSYC 2114 T 1:30-2:30pm

Recitations begin on the second week of classes

Meeting Day
Monday 12:30 - 1:20pm PRCE 277 Laura VanderDrift
Tuesday 7:30 - 8:20pm PRCE 277 Jim Wirth
Tuesday 8:30 - 9:20am PRCE 277 Jim Wirth
Wednesday 8:30 - 9:20am PRCE 277 Zhansheng Chen
Thursday 7:30 - 8:20am PRCE 277 Laura VanderDrift
Thursday 3:30 - 4:20pm PRCE 277 Laura VanderDrift

Course Objectives: The purpose of this course is to introduce you to the field of social psychology. There are three major sub-goals: (1) To explain how social psychologists think about and study human behavior. (2) To introduce you to the body of knowledge and underlying principles that currently exist in the field. (3) To encourage reflection about the implications of social psychological research for the situations we encounter in everyday life.

Class Format: This class involves two lectures and a recitation each week. The 50-minute lectures will cover the topics listed on this syllabus. The text covers these same topics, but lectures and text overlap only about 50%. Consequently you will need to attend lectures, recitations, and read the text to learn all of the examinable material.

Recitations: You will also be assigned to a recitation section that will meet once each week. In recitation, you will take part in a variety of activities meant to build on and extend lecture material. Such activities will include discussions of readings, demonstrations of classic social psychological phenomena, discussions of relevance of social psychology to daily news, and a major project. Recitation is designed to give you greater insight into the research process and applications, and to provide opportunities to discuss course material in smaller groups. TAs are advanced social psychology graduate students. They, and they alone, are responsible for your grading in their recitations.

Grading: Course grades will be based on three non-cumulative midterm exams (each worth 25%), and recitation participation, assignments and projects (25%). Make-ups will only be granted with a valid medical excuse, and will be taken at a time convenient for your TA. The grades will follow the following breakdown. The percentages are based on the top score achieved in the class.There are no extra credit opportunities. Please do not ask.

90% = A
80% = B
70% = C
60% = D
60% = F

Purdue Student Code of Honor: Know it and follow it. For your own sake, do your own work. Plagiarism is a serious offense, and is easily detectable with the advent of search engines. It does not matter if you plagiarized intentionally or unintentionally-either way it is plagiarism. Here is a useful website to understand the definition and issues surrounding plagiarism:

In the event of a major campus emergency, course requirements, deadlines and grading percentages are subject to changes that may be necessitated by a revised semester calendar or other circumstances. Here are ways to get information about changes in this course. WebCT Vista web page, my class web page, email address:, and my office phone: 494-0845.

Schedule of Topics and Readings for Lecture

This schedule is only an approximation.
The instructor may extend, shorten, or even re-arrange the lectures.

All students are responsible for any changes mentioned in class, including changes in test dates.

The date will be turned to periwinkle when the new lecture is uploaded.

Lecture Topic
Aug 20, Monday
Introduction - Go over syllabus; answer questions
 Chapter 1
Aug 22, Wednesday
Social Psychology: What, why, and how


Aug 27, Monday
Research Methods
Aug 29*, Wednesday
Research Methods continued     (I will test, but not lecture, on Ch. 2)
Chapter 2 
Sept 3, Monday
Sept 5**, Wednesday
Research Methods continued (see previous notes)
Sept 10, Monday
The Self
Chapter 3 
Sept 12, Wednesday
The Self continued
Sept 17, Monday
Social Beliefs and Judgments
Chapter 5
Sept 19, Wednesday
Social Beliefs and Judgments continued - see previous notes
Sept 24, Monday
Behavior and Attitudes
Chapter 7
Sept 26, Wednesday
Behavior and Attitudes continued - see previous notes
Oct 1, Monday

*****EXAM 1*****

Oct 3, Wednesday


Chapter 13
Oct 8, Monday
Oct 10, Wednesday
Persuasion continued
Oct 15, Monday
Conformity & Obedience
Oct 17, Wednesday
Compliance - continued
Oct 22, Monday
Compliance - continued
Oct 24, Wednesday

Group Influence-Ostracism

QuickTime movie (click this for additional background on ostracism)

 Chapter 10 (skip 332-340)
Oct 29, Monday
Groups - Social Facilitation
Chapter 14 
Oct 31, Wednesday
Groups - Social Loafing (see previous lecture)
Nov 5, Monday
***** EXAM 2 *****
Nov 7, Wednesday
Chapter 12
Nov 12, Monday
Prejudice continued
Nov 14, Wednesday
Attraction and Intimacy
Chapter 10 (332-340)
Nov 19, Monday
Attraction and Intimacy continued
Chapter 11 
Nov 21, Wednesday
Nov 26, Monday
Chapter 9 
Nov 28, Wednesday
Aggression continued
Dec 3, Monday

Pro-Social Behavior

Chapter 8
Dec 5, Wednesday

Pro-Social Behavior continued

Dec 14, Friday 1-3pm
***** EXAM 3 *****

*Last day to cancel a course assignment without a grade, for course additions, change of level or change of pass/not-pass option

Useful Web Sites and Resources:

Social Psychology Network

Social Psychology Sites of the Week

ncel a course assignment without a grade, for course additions, change of level or change of pass/not-pass option

Useful Web Sites and Resources:

Social Psychology Network

Social Psychology Sites of the Week