Attitudes and Persuasion
Prerequisites: Psyc700 Social Psychology
- Using a seminar format, discussions generally will focus on
2 empirical journal articles, which serve
as exemplars of the type of research conducted in the area.
Assigned background readings provide theoretical background to each topic,
and also provide a summary of relevant research.
- Weekly comments
- Objective. Writing weekly comments will enhance skills
needed to write critical journal
reviews. This simultaneously will enhance discussion quality, by
encouraging critical thinking about
readings prior to class. The combined critique grade contributes
25% to the final grade.
- Procedure. Each Tuesday by 3 pm, please submit 2 copies of
your comments in the
envelope outside my door. I will collate them by 4 pm, and leave copies
outside my door for the
cofacilitator. There are no formal "rules" regarding the weekly
comments. Given what they are intended
to achieve within the class period (a stimulating, somewhat organized
discussion), here are some
guidelines: Write 1 to 1 1/2 pages, focusing on the weekly articles; refer liberally to the background
readings for support. Make and support at least 2 or 3 points for each article.
You might address questions such as the following.
How does this paper relate to other theories?
Is the theoretical rationale sound?
Does the study really demonstrate what it claims to demonstrate?
are some alternative explanations (e.g., from the background
readings or your areas of expertise?). Are
there problems with the design, statistics, procedures, etc?
Is the article just old wine in new skins?
might other theories of social psychology have to say about this
finding or approach? Are the results of
any consequence? What further directions should be taken in
this line of research? Note that, in general, critiques that focus on more
theoretical issues are preferred to ones that focus on lower level
methodological issues (e.g., continually lamenting the use of sophomore
undergraduate students as participants.
- Term project
- Objective. The term project should encourage in-depth
pursuit of students' own
interests, from an attitudes/persuasion perspective.
The term project comprises 50% of the final grade.
Papers are due by 12pm on May 5. No later. No kidding.
- Procedure. Students will write a literature review
integrating Attitudes & Persuasion with topics their own interest.
Please do not exceed 10-12 pages.
You are encouraged to discuss potential topics with the instructor to
help determine their appropriateness
to the course. During the last 2 weeks of the course, students will
present their project to the class, and may assign a background
reading to facilitate their presentation. (More detail)
- Objective. Co-facilitation of discussions will help develop skills in leading group
conversations (particularly for seminars and workshops). Second, co-facilitation should keep the style of
weekly discussion fresh, by capitalizing on the variety of styles represented by the students' interests and
personalities. The cofacilitation grade, combined with general class participation and the course
presentation, contribute 25% to the final grade.
- Procedure. Students will co-facilitate at least once.
role is to help keep the conversation going, and on track.
Again, there are no formal "rules" to go by. If
you feel creative, fine. If you feel task-oriented, fine. In general,
though, I would suggest clustering the
comments ahead of time: by issue, by depth, or whatever seems to fit the particular topic. If you wish, you
may begin the discussion by "setting the stage," (i.e., sketching design, abstracting the main points, etc).
As the conversation develops, encourage people who wrote pertinent comments to contribute to the
class. Try changing the topic when it is exhausted or becomes trivial.
If you plan in advance, you may stage a debate, and assign students
to a "side" of one of two central issues (or adopt some other
top-down approach). Alternatively, you may abstract a structure from
the comments and provide an outline to the class (or some other
bottom-up approach). Sometimes, I'm open to creativity.
Readings from Spring
Readings for Spring
Link to ERES
Psychology on the Web
to Ruscher's Homepage
Back to Psychological Science