About this Course
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Ever wonder why people do what they do? This course—which includes more than $1,000 of video and reading materials—offers some answers based on the latest research from social psychology. Students taking the course for a Certificate will also receive free membership in Social Psychology Network (SocialPsychology.org). COURSE DESCRIPTION FROM PROFESSOR PLOUS: Each of us is dealt a different hand in life, but we all face similar questions when it comes to human behavior: What leads us to like one person and dislike another? How do conflicts and prejudices develop, and how can they be reduced? Can psychological research help protect the environment, and if so, how? This course offers a brief introduction to classic and contemporary social psychology, covering topics such as decision making, persuasion, group behavior, personal attraction, and factors that promote health and well-being. Our focus will be on surprising, entertaining, and intriguing research findings that are easy to apply in daily life. The course will also draw from the websites of Social Psychology Network, the world's largest online community devoted to social psychology. I hope you'll join me for this course, have fun, and learn some useful information that enriches your life....
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Flexible deadlines

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Beginner Level

Beginner Level

Clock

Approx. 17 hours to complete

Suggested: 4 hours/week...
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English

Subtitles: English, Chinese (Traditional), Chinese (Simplified)...
Globe

100% online courses

Start instantly and learn at your own schedule.
Calendar

Flexible deadlines

Reset deadlines in accordance to your schedule.
Beginner Level

Beginner Level

Clock

Approx. 17 hours to complete

Suggested: 4 hours/week...
Comment Dots

English

Subtitles: English, Chinese (Traditional), Chinese (Simplified)...

Syllabus - What you will learn from this course

Week
1
Clock
4 hours to complete

WEEK 1: Social Perceptions and Misperceptions

This week's goals are to: (1) learn what social psychology is and why it's worth studying; (2) take a "snapshot" of your thinking at the start of the course; (3) see how perceptions of reality are psychologically constructed; and (4) witness the shocking speed at which social judgments are made....
Reading
9 videos (Total 92 min), 5 readings, 3 quizzes
Video9 videos
Lecture 1.1: Welcome, Social Psychers!8m
Lecture 1.2: Course Logistics: Some Rules of the Road11m
Lecture 1.3: Tour of Social Psychology Network and Invitation to Join11m
Lecture 1.4: The Psychological Construction of Reality12m
Lecture 1.5: Confirmation Bias8m
Lecture 1.6: Self-Fulfilling Prophecies11m
Lecture 1.7: Thin Slices: Social Judgments in the Blink of an Eye12m
Lecture 1.8: What Other People Think of You10m
Reading5 readings
How the Course Works3m
Reading 1.1 - Introducing Social Psychology15m
How to Join Social Psychology Network1m
Editing Your SPN Member Page1m
Bonus Reading 1.1 - On Being Sane in Insane Places10m
Quiz3 practice exercises
Snapshot Quiz, Part 1: Complete before Lecture 1.420m
Snapshot Quiz, Part 2: Complete before Lecture 1.47m
Assignment #1: The Random Assignment Assignment15m
Week
2
Clock
5 hours to complete

WEEK 2: The Psychology of Self-Presentation and Persuasion

This week's goals are to: (1) learn how people explain their behavior and the behavior of others; (2) explore the link between attitudes and behavior; (3) understand what cognitive dissonance is and why it matters; and (4) gain some practical tips from the science of persuasion and social influence....
Reading
9 videos (Total 143 min), 4 readings, 1 quiz
Video9 videos
Lecture 2.2: Some Twists and Turns When Explaining Behavior16m
Lecture 2.3: Is the Attitude Bone Connected to the Behavior Bone?15m
Lecture 2.4: Cognitive Dissonance and Self-Perception14m
Lecture 2.5: Two Flavors of Dissonance: Vanilla and Earthworm19m
Bonus Video 2.1: A Conversation with Elliot Aronson15m
Lecture 2.6: How to Be Persuasive15m
Lecture 2.7: Secrets from the Science of Persuasion (Guest Lecture)13m
Lecture 2.8: The Ins and Outs of Social Influence18m
Reading4 readings
Reading 2.1 - The Self in a Social World30m
Peer Assessment FAQ3m
Reading 2.2 - Two Routes to Attitude Change15m
Reading 2.3 - Crafting Normative Messages to Protect the Environment10m
Week
3
Clock
6 hours to complete

WEEK 3: Obedience, Conformity, and Deindividuation

This week's goals are to: (1) understand the psychological dynamics of obedience to authority; (2) review studies on group pressure and conformity; (3) learn about the dark side of deindividuation; and (4) consider ethical issues related to psychology research....
Reading
10 videos (Total 176 min), 5 readings, 1 quiz
Video10 videos
Assigned Video 3.1: Obedience (Stanley Milgram's Classic Documentary)41m
Lecture 3.2: Obedience to Authority (Part 2: Watch After Milgram Video)22m
Bonus Video 3.1: Stanley Milgram Discusses His Electric Shock Generator1m
Bonus Video 3.2: What Was Stanley Milgram Like?10m
Lecture 3.3: Group Pressure and Conformity (Part 1)13m
Lecture 3.4: Group Pressure and Conformity (Part 2)11m
Lecture 3.5: The Dark Side of Deindividuation (Part 1: Watch Before Quiet Rage)7m
Assigned Video 3.2: Quiet Rage: The Stanford Prison Experiment51m
Lecture 3.6: The Dark Side of Deindividuation (Part 2: Watch After Quiet Rage)10m
Reading5 readings
Reading 3.1 - Chapter 3 of Myers: Social Beliefs and Judgments30m
Reading 3.2 - Replicating Milgram: Would People Still Obey Today?15m
Bonus Reading 3.1 - How Nice People Get Corrupted15m
Bonus Reading 3.2 - Opinions and Social Pressure15m
Bonus Reading 3.3 - The SPE: Ethics and Extensions45m
Week
4
Clock
5 hours to complete

WEEK 4: Group Behavior: The Good, Bad, and Ugly

This week's goals are to: (1) examine behavioral dynamics within and between groups; (2) see what happens when people fall prey to the Abilene Paradox; (3) read about social loafing, groupthink, and group polarization; and (4) learn effective ways to reduce prejudice and discrimination in daily life....
Reading
7 videos (Total 116 min), 4 readings, 1 quiz
Video7 videos
Assigned Video 4.1: The Abilene Paradox23m
Lecture 4.2: How Categorical Thinking Gives Rise to Prejudice14m
Assigned Video 4.2: Race: The Power of an Illusion9m
Assigned Video 4.3: Middle Sexes: Redefining He and She23m
Lecture 4.3: The Minimal Group: From Dots to Discrimination in 60 Seconds11m
Lecture 4.4: When Intergroup Biases Don't Feel Like Biases20m
Reading4 readings
Reading 4.1 - Many Hands Make Diminished Responsibility10m
Bonus Reading 4.1 - Doing Together What We Would Not Do Alone10m
Reading 4.2 - How Groups Intensify Decisions30m
Reading 4.3 - Psychology of Prejudice, Stereotyping, and Discriminationm

Instructor

Scott Plous

Professor of Psychology; Executive Director, Social Psychology Network; recipient of the American Psychological Foundation Award for Distinguished Teaching
Department of Psychology

About Wesleyan University

At Wesleyan, distinguished scholar-teachers work closely with students, taking advantage of fluidity among disciplines to explore the world with a variety of tools. The university seeks to build a diverse, energetic community of students, faculty, and staff who think critically and creatively and who value independence of mind and generosity of spirit. ...

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Once you enroll for a Certificate, you’ll have access to all videos, quizzes, and programming assignments (if applicable). Peer review assignments can only be submitted and reviewed once your session has begun. If you choose to explore the course without purchasing, you may not be able to access certain assignments.

  • When you purchase a Certificate you get access to all course materials, including graded assignments. Upon completing the course, your electronic Certificate will be added to your Accomplishments page - from there, you can print your Certificate or add it to your LinkedIn profile. If you only want to read and view the course content, you can audit the course for free.

  • No preparation is needed, but you're welcome to begin receiving Social Psychology Network news items and announcements from any of these sources if you use Twitter, Facebook, or RSS feeds:

    PSYCHOLOGY HEADLINES FROM AROUND THE WORLD (Twitter):

    http://coursera.socialpsychology.org/twitter-headlines

    ONLINE PSYCHOLOGY RESEARCH STUDIES (Twitter):

    http://coursera.socialpsychology.org/twitter-studies

    UNDERSTAND PREJUDICE: SOCIAL JUSTICE NEWS (Twitter):

    http://coursera.socialpsychology.org/twitter-prejudice

    SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY NETWORK (Facebook):

    http://coursera.socialpsychology.org/facebook

    PSYCHOLOGY NEWS SERVICE (RSS Feed):

    http://coursera.socialpsychology.org/rss

    These resources are free to everyone (whether you enroll for a Certificate or not) and will connect you with the latest news, studies, and other developments in social psychology and related fields.

More questions? Visit the Learner Help Center.