Experimental Social Psychology

Experimental Social Psychology is a 4cr course that surveys various research methods in social psychology. In the laboratory component of of the course, students conduct laboratory and field studies in inter- personal relations, stereotyping, and attitudes.

Psyc212 (Experimental Design and Quantitative Methods) and Psyc343 (Social Psychology) are prerequisites to this course. Psyc344 satisfies the psychology laboratory requirement, but not the college laboratory requirement

  • Course Objectives
    • Psychology 344 examines issues and techniques in social psychological research. The prerequisite course in social psychological theory (Psyc343) provided relatively little emphasis on methodology. As the next course in sequence, Pscy344 addresses questions such as the following. How are theoretical constructs operationalized and validated? How do researchers design an experiment? What are the relative merits of experimental versus nonexperimental research? How do researchers actually go about the process of research? For some helpful methodology definitions, click here
    • Although these questions will be addressed in lecture, the optimal way to understand the issues and techniques is through active engagement. To facilitate this process, students will critique and discuss published research, participate in a research project (e.g., as experimenters, confederates, coders) , acquire and hone skills in scientific writing, and design and write-up a research project of their own.
  • Texts:
    • Judd, C.M., Smith, E.R., & Kidder, L.H. (1991). Research method in social relations (6th ed). Orlando, FL: Holt, Rinehart, & Winston.
    • American Psychological Association. (1994). Publication manual of the American Psychological Association(4th ed.). Washington, DC: APA
  • Articles:
    • Aronson, E., & Mills, J. (1959). The effect of severity of initiation on liking for a group. Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology, 59, , 177-181.
    • Burger, J.M., & Palmer, M.L. (1992). Changes in and generalization of unrealistic optimism following experiences with stressful events: Reactions to the 1989 California earthquake. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 18, 39-43.
    • Dutton, D. G., & Aron, A. P. (1974). Some evidence for heightened sexual attraction under conditions of high anxiety. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 30, 510-517.
    • Milgram, S. (1963). Behavioral study in obedience. Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology, 67, 371-378.
    • Word, C.O., Zanna, M.P., & Cooper, J. (1988). The nonverbal mediation of self-fulfilling prophecies in interracial interaction. In E. Aronson (Ed.) Readings about the social animal (5th ed). New York: Freeman

  • Course Topics
    • Introductory Concepts (Chapters 1 & 2)
    • Laboratory Experiments (Chapters 4 & 8)
      • Aronson & Mills (1959)
    • Writing a Laboratory Report (APA Manual)
    • Measurement (Chapter 3)
    • Quasiexperimental Designs and Surveys (Chapter 5)
      • Dutton & Aron (1974)
      • Burger & Palmer (1992)
    • Questionnairre Research (Chapters 10 & 11)
    • Observational Data (Chapter 12)
      • Word, Zanna, & Cooper (1974)
    • Ethical Issues (Chapter 20)

  • Evaluation
    • Exams. Noncumulative midterm and final exams (comprising objective questions from readings and lectures) will each contribute 15% to the final grade.
    • Research Participation.Each student will participate in a research project, under the supervision of a social psychology graduate student or faculty member. Depending on the project, students may be experimenters, confederates, or data-coders. Supervisors' performance evaluations and grade recommendations will contribute 10% to the final grade.
    • Papers. Students will submit 3 APA style papers. The first paper is a practice paper worth 10% of the final grade. The second paper is an APA-style description of the research project in which students are involved (15%). The final paper will be a research proposal on a topic mutually acceptable to the student, professor, and teaching assistant (25% of the final grade).

      Students' work must be their own. You may not solicit help from other people (e.g., classmates, professors, other students, significant others) in outlining or writing your paper. (Substantial paraphrasing and borrowing of ideas without appropriate citation can be construed as plagiarism,so be sure that you understand what constitutes a breech of the honor code

    • Class Participation.The remaining 10% of the final grade derives from class participation, particularly from the written critiques and discussion of the empirical articles.

    Social Psychology on the Web

    Return to Ruscher's Homepage

    Return to Psychological Science
    Last updated 8/1/96