An annotated collection of more than 5000 links to resources and ideas for the teaching of social psychology and related courses organized by topic





Attitudes & Behavior

Attraction & Relationships

Conflict & Peacemaking


Genes, Gender, & Culture

Group Influence





Psychology in the Courtroom

Social Beliefs & Judgments

The Self
































Activities and Exercises


Multimedia Resources (audio, video, images)

Topic Resources


Class Assignments

Articles, Books, and Book Chapters

= new link as of December 1, 2016

Report broken links here


This is Your Brain on Sports: The Science of Underdogs, the Value of Rivalry, and What we can Learn from the T-shirt Cannon - Social psychologist Sam Sommers and L. Jon Wertheim have teamed up to write this engaging book about sports "through the prism of behavioral economics, neuroscience, and psychology."

You can read a chapter of the text here - Excerpted from THIS IS YOUR BRAIN ON SPORTS: THE SCIENCE OF UNDERDOGS, THE VALUE OF RIVALRY, AND WHAT WE CAN LEARN FROM THE T-SHIRT CANNON. Copyright © 2016 by Jon Wertheim and Sam Sommers. Published by Crown Archetype, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC.



Activities and Exercises

 Is psychology the study of the obvious? - The first link is to an interactive exercise students can participate in online.  This link is to a page on the Resources for Teaching Social Psychology website which includes an activity I shared a while back on this same topic.  It still works very well for me on the first day of class.

A variety of activities -from Schacter et al. intro text

An updated Jigsaw Classroom - Scott Plous received an APS teaching grant to update and improve the Jigsaw Classroom website, which describes and provides resources around this collaborative learning technique developed by Elliot Aronson.

Applying social psych to real-life scenarios

Teaching a course on the psychology of social media - [added 1/20/15]

The social brain - As part of one activity I use in class I ask a student how many really good friends he/she has at school. I have done this many times, and I was surprised to find that students answered 4, 5, or 4-5 95% of the time. It was always the same! After reading this article, I now know why. [added 1/20/15]

"Can brief psychological interventions really work?" - Once again, subscriber David Myers and C. Nathan DeWall provide an excellent review of a recent Current Directions article with some accompanying activities. In this case, the activities are simulations created by the article's author, Gregory Walton, of some of interventions described within. See the links at the end of the article for the exercises. Here is a link to the original article by Walton. Here is a description of a new test of an intervention for first-generation college students. It is remarkable that these brief interventions can have such significant effects. [added 1/20/15]

Variety of activities/demos for social influence - a large collection of annotated references to classroom activities including group influence exercises [added 1/2/14]

How evolution shapes social behavior - Joy Drinnon offers this interesting activity: "This activity is designed to help students see the role that evolution likely played in shaping many social behaviors. I distribute equally 1 of the 4 different pages in the attached handout to each student in the class. Students are told to read their handout and to be on the lookout for examples while watching Episode 6 from Going Tribal. As a class we watch some or all of the episode. The episode is broken into 6 parts on Youtube so it is easy to show some or all and there are no commercials. You can find it by searching 'Suri People Dangerous Game.' The episode illustrates easily how survival pressures may have shaped social behaviors, such as bonding rituals, mate selection, and responses to conflict. It also provides opportunities for discussing cultural differences in how groups respond to the same pressures for food and survival. There is a documentary called 'Tribal Wives' too which can be used to continue the discussion about gender differences." The link takes you to the four handouts Joy describes above. [added 1/2/14]

Using Current Directions in Psychological Science - two more excellent sets of ideas from subscriber Dave Myers and Nathan DeWall for using a couple recent Current Directions articles in class [added 1/2/14]

"Encouraging students' ethical behavior" - some good tips in this essay [added 7/30/13]

Teaching Current Directions in Psychological Science - An exciting addition to the APS Observer is a new column by Dave Myers and Nathan DeWall which will be "aimed at integrating cutting-edge psychological science into the classroom. Each column will offer advice and how-to guidance about teaching a particular area of research or topic in psychological science that has been the focus of an article in the APS journal Current Directions in Psychological Science." See the first entries at the link above. Thanks, Dave and Nathan. [4/1/13]

Social Knowledge: The Game - "This smartphone app (Android or iPhone) offers a statement on social psychological research every day, with elaborate explanations (and the references!) the day after and feedback on whether the person was correct or not. This game could be a weekly icebreaker, source of fun/friendly competition, and/or way for Social Psychology students to stay connected to course material outside of class." [added 12/08/12]

Internet search and discover activity - This comes from Chuck Schallhorn through the excellent Teaching High School Psychology blog. [added 12/29/11]

Is social psychology the study of the obvious?
On the first day of my social psych course I talk about how some have considered social psych the study of the obvious. To illustrate how that is not quite accurate and to illustrate the hindsight bias, I tell my class that there is actually some research in the field that has produced some quite surprising findings. I proceed to tell them about three different studies one at a time. After each one I ask my students if they also think the results are surprising or if the results seem reasonable to them. I allow them to generate some explanations of why those results might actually seem plausible or understandable. Then, after the third study, I stop, look confused, and tell them that I mixed up the results. (I get to have fun here doing some "acting.") I tell them that somehow I mixed up the results. Actually, the findings are exactly the opposite of what I told them. I then tell them the real results. Most of them catch on that I was setting them up, and I go on to explain how they generated very plausible explanations after the fact for each of the study's "wrong" results. I was reminded of this by the study on how "males are more tolerant of same-sex peers." I think I will use that study next time as one of my three. However, instead I will tell my students that the study found that females were more tolerant. Isn't that surprising? [added 6/23/09]

Social Psychology Rocks - Brian Johnson passed along this interesting idea:

"I'm doing something this semester that I am hoping improves my students ability to retain and show me their learning on the exams. The easiest way to describe it is to call it "Social Psychology Rocks" (though I really doubt the idea is unique to me as it borrows more than a bit from Teaching of Psychology articles on the use of media in various class-Film Clips in Abnormal for example). I'm not limiting it to musical examples and I'll even try to expand it beyond rock music, but I'm using song lyrics to reinforce an important idea (or a clip from a movie or TV show) from lecture. Today, it was the idea of construals/constructing social reality. I had lyrics from the Peter Gabriel song "In Your Eyes" and from the Buffalo Springfield song "For What It's Worth" to demonstrate why we actively construct our understanding of events in our lives. I included some lyrics and bolded ideas that I could relate back to what I had been discussing the previous few minutes.
On the paper I had: (From Peter Gabriel's song)
In your eyes
The light the heat
In your eyes
I am complete
And I explained why I had those lines highlighted (related back to subjective interpretation of the world that interests social psychologists) and then asked the students to explain to me how one's interpretation of a professor as a good teacher (an idea a student had mentioned earlier in class with regard to a brief writing activity I had them do) impacts one's behavior toward the professor and may help make that professor a better teacher. Hopefully this helps make the abstract more concrete and memorable and helps the students make some of the deeper links that will help them take the topics of social psychology from the classroom to the rest of their academic and personal lives."
[added 3/25/09]

Developing critical thinking skills in Social Psychology - My colleague Heather Coon and I embarked on a project to more systematically develop scientific thinking skills in our students. Click on the link to read about how we used brief research articles to develop a variety of thinking skills. You are welcome to use any of the materials. Feedback is always welcome. [added 9/20/08]

"Resources for the inclusion of social class in psychology curricula" - The American Psychological Association's Office on Socioeconomic Status has created an excellent set of materials that includes classroom activities, course syllabi, lists of relevant media, and more. Warning: This is a large (11.75 MB) file. [added 6/3/08]

Social Psychology for Educators - A new site has been created by Hunter Gehlbach with help from a grant from the Association for Psychological Science Teaching Fund. The site provides ideas for how social psychology can be used in the classroom. There is not much there yet, but you will find some "pedagogical practices" (one-page descriptions of how social psych concepts can be applied in a classroom), and eventually some lesson plans and videos. Nice idea, Hunter. [added 4/16/08]

Icebreakers - Sarah Estow from Guilford College shared some excellent "icebreakers" for illustrating social psychology principles at the SPSP Teaching Pre-conference. For example, she has begun the semester with

"Lying to your peers" - Students were to go around the room and tell two true and one untrue thing about themselves. Students tried to guess which were true and which were untrue. She was able to connect this exercise to self-concept, stereotyping and impression formation among other concepts.

"Professor profile" - At the beginning of the course, students completed questionnaires about their instructor (Sarah), identifying what they thought would be her hometown, favorite music, favorite movies, etc. They also rated how confident they were in these judgments. She then had them discuss how easily they formed these impressions, what data they used, confidence vs. accuracy, and more.

"24-hour sex change" - Students anonymously completed a questionnaire identifying their sex and whether or not, if given the chance, they would want to change sexes for 24 hours. She also asked them what they would do as that other sex for those 24 hours. You could do this as another ethnicity for a day. [added 7/6/07]

Reading questions - Nick DiFonzo assigns his students reading questions to accompany Susan Fiske's Social Beings (2004) text. These one-page assignments are then brought to class to serve as a basis for discussion. Although you may not use this text, the assignment serves as a good model of how to encourage reading and discussion in a course. [added 7/5/06]

Debates in the Classroom

Useful or not? Talk among yourselves. I occasionally use debates in class to promote student engagement and discussion of a topic. Sometimes I randomly assign them to a position (good way to illustrate the saying-is-believing effect) and sometimes I let them choose which side they will be on. Topics I have used include:

  • Do you believe your attitudes shape your behaviors more or do your behaviors shape your attitudes more?
  • Is there such a thing as a truly altruistic behavior?
  • Harry Wallace shared the following debate topic: "Regarding debate topics, I like to introduce the topic of stereotypes & prejudice in my introductory social psych courses with a debate on affirmative action as a university admissions policy. I divide the class in half, have students generate their arguments (without having read the relevant research), and then let them go at it. Then, after students have thought about the issues, I introduce the research that speaks to the issues they raised (and failed to consider)."

What topics have you had students debate? I would be interested in hearing how you have used debates in your classes and the topics you have used. Send me replies at I will share them with the rest of the group. [added 7/5/06]

Variety of topics: Take surveys/tests online - Students can take interactive surveys/tests, some of which are part of research projects. Well designed. [added 4/06/04]

Isn't Social Psychology All Just Common Sense? - 33-question quiz [added 2/1/03]

Another Common Sense Test - interactive T/F test on some common misperceptions such as "opposites attract"

Thinking Critically about Social Psychology - these activities ask students to read an online article and then answer some critical thinking questions - from Brehm, Kassin & Fein, Social Psychology 5/e, Houghton Mifflin [added 11/07/02]

Necessary and sufficient conditions - excellent explanation of these concepts with good examples and practice exercises from Norman Swartz

Variety of activities - quite a few in-class activities and discussion questions for many topics from Mark Whatley

NetLabs - over 60 activities to accompany Brehm/Kassin/Fein's text Social Psychology, 5/e - Shockwave Plug-in required for most activities - can be downloaded for free at the site

Multimedia Resources (Audio / Video / Images)


Series of speakers on a variety of topics including social psychology - [added 6/26/12]

Growing collections of psychology-related podcasts - [added 6/25/12]

TV theme music and songs - Want to include some music from TV in a presentation? Remember the haunting intro to the Get Smart show? Chills. Can be freely downloaded and used for non-commercial purposes. [added 4/01/08]

Discussions with psychologists - Listen to a series of discussions with a variety of scholars, including some psychologists such as Carol Tavris and Madeleine Van Hecke. [12/22/07]

Conversation with Elliot Aronson - Why it's hard to admit being wrong: "We all have a hard time admitting that we're wrong, but according to a new book about human psychology, it's not entirely our fault. Social psychologist Elliot Aronson says our brains work hard to make us think we are doing the right thing, even in the face of sometimes overwhelming evidence to the contrary."

"If you download the (free) podcast via iTunes, the part with Aronson starts at 48:30" -- from Marianne Miserandino. Thanks. [added 11/13/07]

"Freud's nephew and the origins of public relations" - Listen to an NPR episode on Edward Bernays, nephew of Sigmund Freud, who was a pioneer in applying psychological motivations to public relations and marketing. [added 11/13/07]

"Inside Intuition" - A BBC radio program in which neuroscientist Mark Lythgoe investigates the concept of intuition -- includes a contribution from David Myers, author of Intuition [added 11/13/07]

CBC archives in Canada - a large, searchable collection of audio and video from Canadian Broadcasting Corporation radio and television [added 12/27/06]

American speeches - The highlight of the American Rhetoric site is the Online Speech Bank which includes a "growing database of 5000+ full text, audio and video (streaming) versions of public speeches, sermons, legal proceedings, lectures, debates, interviews, other recorded media events, and a declaration or two." Includes famous speeches from movies, current events and memorable one liners which you can reference. [added 11/14/03]

Radio Zone - I know I am getting away from direct links to social psych, but I leave it to your imagination to find ways to connect any of this multimedia to your courses. The Census Bureau provides one-minute, audio factoids on a myriad of topics. There is also a Photo Zone and a Video Zone (from which you can order videos). It will be interesting to see how this resource develops.
[added 11/14/03]

Famous Speeches - Provided by The History Channel, listen to a large number of speeches in a variety of categories including Arts, Entertainment & Culture and Politics and Government. Written commentary is also provided. [added 7/16/03]

Voices from the Twentieth Century - is an ambitious attempt to capture audio worldwide from the 20th century. This is not a social-psych specific, but you may find some interesting material here. [added 12/03/02]


Images and Videos - Multimedia Resources for Educators and Students includes well-organized links to many freely available images, videos, audio sources, multimedia presentations and more.

Mirror neurons - a very good video about mirror neurons and their relationship to social behavior

Talks at SPSP - Like me, have you (and your students) been unable to attend recent Society for Personality and Social Psychology conferences?  Well, here's video of several of the talks.

Career advice from professors and grad students - [added 1/20/15]

An interview with Albert Bandura - [added 1/20/15]

"Video clips of elements of master teaching" - a well-designed and well-organized resource which includes video clips of master teachers illustrating one of eight different elements of good teaching -- h/t to Marianne Miserandino [added 1/2/14]

Sociology assignments - The site The Sociological Cinema contains a growing database of videos as well as a few assignments. [added 7/30/13]

TV News archive - Search 375,000 TV News broadcasts. [added 12/07/12]

"The five year engagement" - In a TIPS listserv email, Marie Helweg-Larsen shared these thoughts about a movie, The Five Year Engagement, that includes a social psychologist as a main character. "'The five year engagement' is a romantic comedy at a theater near you. The primary female character is a social psychologist who gets a 2-year post doc at the University of Michigan (several shots of the “department of psychology” sign there and lot of college scenes) causing the couple to move there from San Francisco and her fiancée to give up his job as a chef. Their adjustment to Michigan is presented as one of the stressors in their relationship in addition to issues with the supervising professor (no spoilers!).

A couple of notes of interesting/awkward scenes
-the primary experiment the lab group discusses is delayed gratification in the famous “don't eat the marshmallow” (they even show some footage of kids trying to not eat the marshmallow). In the adult version they want to offer stale donuts and tell the participants that they can wait for 20 minutes to get fresh ones. The lab also suggest a mood manipulation in the experiment. They don’t present the dependent variable very clearly (presumably it would have to measured over time). That part seems pretty well done (like the script writers actually talked to some research/social psychologists). There is an odd scene in which the lab researchers are all looking through the one way mirror at the gathered participants and the lab researchers are negotiating whom among them should deliver the key instructions about the donuts. Obviously in real life that would have been carefully rehearsed ahead of time.
-when she discusses her results she says that she “found a 25% correlation” (yikes). Presumably you would not find correlations in an experiment!
-a scene when the primary character first gets to U of Michigan shows her supervising professor lecturing in a social psychology class about obedience. The fire alarm goes off and as students get ready to leave the professor reassures them that it is not necessary even though you can see fire fighters rushing upstairs. Students sit back down and he then talks about authority and then reveals that the fire alarm and fire fighters were all a spoof. The only odd thing here is that it appears that the primary character is a student (or maybe TA?) in the class which she obviously would not be if she were hired as a post doc. I assume the filmmakers could not figure out how to introduce this scene other than by sticking her in the class room.
Oh and at the end the issue of delayed gratification come up in the content of their relationship. Should you should eat the donut (slight stale as it might be) or wait for something better? I don’t know if research has examined the issue of delayed gratification in the context of romantic relationships! Anyway, for those of you teaching social psychology the topic of the accuracy of this movie might come up.
[added 6/27/12]

Lots of movie clips - This site provides hundreds of movie clips to "illustrate and inspire." They can do that, but they can also be used in your classes to illustrate a variety of social psych concepts. An excellent resource. [added 6/25/12]

Variety of brief videos - These are short videos accompanying David Myers' Social Psychology text, including video of many prominent researchers discussing their ideas. [added 1/21/12]

Lots of pranks - Just For Laughs TV has created hundreds of videos of little pranks they have pulled on unsuspecting participants. Many include some social psychological phenomena. What doesn't? [added 1/20/12]

Clips for Class - Here is a nice, new resource from Cengage Learning called Clips for Class. You can find quite a few videos here for most areas of psychology. [added 1/15/10]

YouTube EDU - YouTube EDU contains "videos and channels from our college and university partners." A search for psychology brings you to this set of videos. [added 7/3/09]

Video lectures - From the Claremont Colleges Digital Library, find a number social psych related lectures from Elizabeth Loftus, Philip Zimbardo, and others. [added 3/22/09] videos - a lot of short video news stories are freely available. [added 1/16/06]

The Ten O'Clock News - "The WGBH Media Archives and Preservation Center has preserved and described 523 tapes from The Ten O'Clock News, WGBH's in-depth nightly news program. Dating from 1974 to 1991, this collection focuses on news stories relating to Boston's African American community. Browse our site for detailed descriptions and video clips of these stories." [added 6/20/05]

Hundreds of free video clips from - For example, there is a (2004) video clip available on the politics of gay marriage. [added 3/30/04]

News Archive of September 11, 2001 - view the actual news broadcasts from around the world on that day as the events were unfolding - a very rich resource

Video Nation in the UK - a very large collection of video telling personal stories throughout the UK -- The site archives the collection that began with a TV show that passed out video cameras to citizens to capture many and varied stories. [added 12/27/06]

CBC archives in Canada - a large, searchable collection of audio and video from Canadian Broadcasting Corporation radio and television [added 12/27/06]

"Human Behavior Experiments" - This new one-hour film that has been shown on TV describes a number of classic social psychology experiments. A couple good clips from the film can be found on this page. [added 7/5/06]

Guiding questions for videos - In Teaching of Psychology (Winter, 2006) there is an article describing the use of guiding questions in the student viewing of "The Power of the Situation" video from the Discovering Psychology series (which is freely available online at the above link). Students in one section were given eight guiding questions to be answered in writing during the watching of the video. Students in this section outperformed students in a no-guiding questions section on video related questions. The full set of guiding questions can be obtained from Timothy Lawson at [added 7/5/06] - "a growing library of expert presentations and lectures" [added 1/16/06]

Discovering Psychology Series Available Online - So, our department lost one of the videotapes from the Discovering Psychology series with Phil Zimbardo. No problem! The entire series (the 2001 updated version) is now freely available online, including the social psychology programs! You can also find The Brain and The Mind series. [added 1/4/06]

"Using The Simpsons to teach social psychology" - Judy Eaton and Ayse Uskul present an interesting description of how they use clips from the animated series The Simpsons to illustrate key concepts in their social psych courses, published in an edition of Teaching of Psychology, 31, Autumn 2004, pp. 277-278. The link above takes you to a table listing the specific clips and how they are used. Do you have other clips you use? Pass them along. [added on 12/1/04]

Frontline/World shows available online - All the entire episodes of Frontline/World dating back to 2002 are available for viewing online through streaming video. "FRONTLINE/World is a national public TV series that turns its lens on the global community, covering countries and cultures rarely seen on American television. Each episode of FRONTLINE/World features two or three "short stories" told by a diverse group of reporters and video journalists. These first-person stories will take viewers on adventurous journeys to foreign lands from Argentina to Zimbabwe. Taking advantage of easily portable digital cameras, our correspondents roam widely, observe closely, and when necessary, film surreptitiously." Some shows address group conflict, prejudice and other social topics. [added 4/06/04]

United Nations webcast - 24 hours a day, streaming and on-demand video from the U.N. security council, general assembly and press briefings! [added 4/06/04]

Scientific American Frontiers episodes - You can view two complete, social psych-relevant episodes online by searching for "Facing Feelings" and "Power of Persuasion" in the search box. [added 3/23/04]

Harvard lectures/addresses available online - Harvard University makes available a variety of speeches/addresses which can be viewed online. [added 3/23/04]

"Videos in Psychology: A Resource Directory" - This book, from APA, "contains summaries of almost 1,000 videotapes with psychological content, as well as contact information for distributors that carry the titles." [added 5/1/02]

"Teach with Movies" - intended more for K-12 educators, this site nonetheless provides you with an extensive list of movies and some description of each that might give you some clue as to whether it could be useful [added 5/1/02]

"Internet Moving Images Archive: Movie Collection" - free to download and show for non-commercial purposes. Many are of the documentary and instructional type and at least 30 or more years old. But that is what makes some of them fun and useful. The "social guidance" films of the 40's and 50's can be good illustrations of changing norms, gender roles and conformity. A good example is the 10-minute film from 1947 entitled, "Are you Popular?" A few other titles that may be relevant to social psychology include Are you Ready for Marriage?, The Bully, and Office Etiquette. It is not always easy to get these movies to play. Read download and play instructions. I was able to use Quicktime to play them. Search Tip: On the "Movies by Title" page at this site all the movies are listed in alphabetical order. Instead of scrolling through all of them you can find the "social guidance"
films by hitting Ctrl+F (Find in Windows) and typing in social or guidance. [added 5/1/02]

"Early Motion Pictures in American Memory Collections" - more old films from The Library of Congress - most are historical in nature but you may find something of interest or relevance [added 5/1/02]


Large Collections

Images and Videos - Multimedia Resources for Educators and Students includes well-organized links to many freely available images, videos, audio sources, multimedia presentations and more.

Millions of free photos - at Photopin

Lots of free military photos

National Portrait Gallery - nearly 200,000 portraits and photos [added 1/20/15]

Images of America - "In 1983, the Smithsonian American Art Museum began collecting photographs. Today they have over 7000 images and this website offers a wonderful exploration of but a few of their holdings. The title of this collection refers to Walt Whitman's belief that photography was a quintessentially American activity, rooted in everyday people and ordinary things. The visual delights here are divided into four sections, including American Characters and Imagination at Work. Each section contains a brief narrative introduction and then a scroll board of images for visitor consideration. The American Inhabited area includes a number of dramatic vistas of infrastructure and harbors, right next to more common objects, like a child's tricycle. Additionally, the site contains a visual timeline and a glossary of terms." [added 1/2/14]

General: Posters/images of psychology from Flickr photostreams - [added 6/26/12]

Royalty-free images from the U.S. gov - Here's a good list of links to collections of images you are free to use. [added 6/25/12]

Collection of Chicago images - large collection of 20th century scenes and people you might find useful [added 12/16/10]

Life Magazine collection - "Search millions of photographs from the LIFE photo archive, stretching from the 1750s to today. Most were never published and are now available for the first time through the joint work of LIFE and Google." [3/29/09]

Copyright-free images - I have mentioned before that photos on government web sites are copyright free. Now, a new site, Uncle Sam's Photos, has made finding those images a little easier. [added 7/19/07]

Huge collection from the New York Public Library [added 7/14/07]

Public domain images - a large list of links to freely available images you can use in your lectures or elsewhere [added 7/06/07]

Large photo database - Fotosearch is one of a number of stock photography websites. This one has over 700,000 images including photos, clipart and illustrations. Two things make this site better than most for educators. First, I find it easier than most other sites to search for an image, pull it up, and display a large version of it in class. However, that is probably not something you would do that often. But, the second feature is much better! We educators have been given permission to occasionally download an image, free of charge, to insert into our PowerPoint slides, or web pages, or other projects as long as it is for non-commercial, educational purposes and we give credit to Fotosearch! So, take a look, and let me know if you have further questions about its use. Thanks, Fotosearch. [added 7/6/05]

Images and Clipart - Classroom Clipart provides a large and very good collection of images and clipart you can insert into your PowerPoint, web pages, etc. [added on 12/1/04]

Lots of random images - Just for those of you who are often looking for an image of all kinds of things to stick in a slide or a webpage, this new site begins with a few thousand images and promises to add many more, all free to download and use. [added 4/06/04]

Specific Topic Collections

World War I color photos - [added 4/15/08]

Psychological Image Collection - "This is a collection of images useful for research in Psychology, such as sets of faces and objects. They are free for research use." [added 1/10/06]

Ansel Adams' photographs - of the Japanese-American internment camp at Manzanar [added 6/17/05]

Photos from the civil rights struggle - a collection of interesting, annotated photos from the civil rights struggle from photojournalist Charles Moore [added 3/20/05]

Covers of Life Magazine: 1936-1972 - searchable database of covers -- perhaps there are specific images you would want to use or have students analyze changes/trends across the covers - also available are many "classic" pictures from the magazine [added 2/1/03]

Social Issues Image Database - "The Social Issues Collection is an ongoing database of historial images from the Western United States and the Pacific Northwest region. The collection covers political and social topics such as women's issues, labor and government, as well as ethnic groups." Lots of high quality images of Japanese internment, women's issues and more.

Image optimizer - a nice, free, online site to resize, compress, and optimize your images

Create your own infographics - Or your students can.

Your Copy Rights - a few good brochures that summarize your rights to use and copy a variety of media in your courses [added 7/7/07]

Tutorial: Searching the Internet for images - Want to find images on the Internet to insert into presentations or to use for other purposes? This site provides a nice tutorial on how to find images. [added 4/5/04]

Class Assignments

Tips for diversifying names used in assignments, exam questions - Instead of always using the typical first or last names we see in examples, here's a nice way to include names common to other cultures that your students might represent or never have exposure to.

Content Analysis

These assignments ask students to apply course concepts through the analysis of movies, television shows, novels and other works of fiction or non-fiction.

Content analysis resources - The best aspect of this site is the set of links to many other good content analysis sites. [added 4/5/04]

Grading rubrics for film analysis and proverb analysis papers - To find these rubrics on this page, click the drop down menu in the upper righthand corner and select the Social Psychology course from Terry Humphreys. [added 3/23/04]

Film Analysis

Analyze a film - Jean Mandernach provides a film analysis assignment, with an extensive list of films and listing of possible social psych concepts within each of those films. [added 1/15/06]

Film analysis - over 25 films for students to choose from - from Monica Biernat's social psych course [added 3/29/02]

Film analysis - students choose from four films -- an excerpt from a student paper for this assignment

Analyzing a play - Chuck Huff asks his students to view three plays during his Social Psychology course: Macbeth (two versions) and A Streetcar Named Desire. Then he asks them to analyze the plays in terms of how close relationships are portrayed (Paper 1) or in terms of how aggression is portrayed (Paper 2). Interesting assignments. Also see the links on the paper pages for some excellent grading rubrics. [added 7/8/07]

Find social psych in a children's book - Students can earn bonus points by writing brief descriptions of how social psych appears in children's books they select. [added 1/15/06]

Guide for conducting a content analysis [added 3/1/05]

Apply a theory - this "assignment involves selecting a theory from the text or a topic discussed in lecture that you find particularly interesting, evaluating it, and relating it to an event you believe is important or to your own social experience" - many of the sample topics provided ask students to apply a theory to a film, ads or common behaviors

Opinion-based article - students analyze an article of their choosing in terms of course concepts

Group conflict article - students analyze article in terms of course concepts

Research Summaries

These assignments typically ask students to summarize a research article to develop and demonstrate an ability to read and interpret the literature.

Article Summaries

Review a research article - from Jonathon Brown's Social Psychology course [added 1/20/15]

Distinguishing scholarly journals from popular magazines - a brief guide from The University of Texas at San Antonio Library [added 1/10/06]

"How to read a journal article in social psychology" - 1999 article by Jordan and Zanna -- Keep a link to this article on your course website, and send students to it who are not quite sure how to read and/or summarize an article. [added 1/7/06]

Instructor: Gary Lewandowski - Gary also provides a sample article summary for his students. [added 3/1/05]

Article abstracts - Frank McAndrew requires his students to write a critique of an article of their choice, and then assigns them to write abstracts of specific articles. Scroll down page to find assignments. [added 7/23/03]

Instructor: Erin Ross - in Word - She also includes a good handout, in Word, on APA format [added 8/30/02]

Instructor: Jon Mueller - students answer six questions about an article

Other Research Analyses

Methodological critique - Mark Schaller asks his Thinking Clearly About Psychology students to critique the article "Don't the girls get prettier at closing time: A country and western application to psychology." Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 5, 122-125. [added 3/23/04]

Analyze classic articles - students answer three critical thinking questions about each of four classic articles

Social proverbs - students select a social proverb from list and review a few relevant articles



A photographic assignment - An Action Teaching Award Honorable Mention: "For this assignment, students can work alone or with a partner. They venture out into a community or metropolitan area near our college and become amateur street photographers. Students are asked to find five people, couples, or families whom they consider to be different than themselves or somehow outside the norm in society and who are willing to allow the students to take their picture and ask them a few questions. Students then join a Facebook group I created for the assignment and post the photos for the class to see. Like the Humans of New York project, they also add a caption to each photograph that best represents the interaction. Most often this caption is in the form of a quote from the subject of the photograph." [added 1/20/15]

"Achieving 'good article' status in Wikipedia" - Paula Marentette, in the latest issue of the APS Observer, describes her and her students' experience with adding to Wikipedia articles on psychological topics. Her students were able to reach "good article" status on two articles, meaning they have met "a basic set of criteria that indicate the material is well written, neutral, and appropriately sourced." Paula provides an excellent, detailed description of the challenges that were met and overcome to achieve that status. I am planning to include a similar component in an upper-level seminar on the psychology of helping I will be teaching next spring. If anyone else has or is planning to engage your students in the APS Wikipedia Initiative next year, I would love to hear from you. Perhaps we can share experiences and ideas. I could create a Facebook group page where we can share experiences and ideas. Let me know. [added 1/20/15]

Bringing Organizational Psychology to Life Through Fundraising - This project won honorable mention for the 2013 Social Psychology Network Action Teaching Award. "Over a three-year period undergraduates, business students, and law students used principles from organizational psychology to raise over $118,000 for the Make-A-Wish Foundation, an organization that gives hope, strength, and joy to children with life-threatening medical conditions. Specifically, students deepened their understanding of five key areas of organizational psychology: leadership, collaboration, networking, negotiation, and prosocial behavior. In one iteration of the activity, for example, teams of four MBA students and three undergraduate students were given two days to create and execute a fundraising plan. After selecting a leader and agreeing on a vision and strategy, the team then held raffles, auctioned signed memorabilia, and convinced local restaurants to donate proceeds. In another iteration, business students developed negotiation expertise by bargaining for corporate donations. And in still another iteration, law students took a week-long intensive course with organizational psychology taught in the morning and team fundraising in the afternoon. These team fundraising activities brought organizational psychology alive, benefited a worthy cause, and gave students a memorable opportunity to express what Abraham Lincoln once described as 'the better angels of our nature.'" [added 7/30/13]

Make your own IAT - FreeIAT lets you or your students create your Implicit Association Tests. [added 4/01/13]

Putting positive psychology into action - a service learning project [added 8/1/10]

The psychology of sustainable behavior: Three action teaching projects - [added 8/1/10]

Financial education for refugees - a field experience [added 8/1/10]

"Your students = Wikipedia editors" - A good blog for teaching high school psychology described this interesting idea: "Ask students to poke around in psychology topics on Wikipedia until they find a page for a psych topic (term, concept, experiment, psychologist, etc.) that seems "thin" - one that needs more information, better information, better references, etc....Then your students research to fill in the gaps, write up potential revisions to the page, and submit the changes to Wikipedia. Hopefully there are other "editors" out there in Wiki-space who are monitoring that page and the students will get the experience of discussing the potential changes and going through a revision process. In the end, your students may see their work represented permanently on Wikipedia and they will be much more experienced not only in their chosen topic, but in the process of "Web 2.0" knowledge "creation" and writing." [added 7/4/09]

Fact or fiction? - A list of 20 "hints" for resisting unwanted influences from Philip Zimbardo -- you could ask students to pick one hint from the list and evaluate its validity in terms of current research, or have them design a test of it. (Also, find more excerpts here from Zimbardo's book The Lucifer Effect.) [added 12/12/07]

The International Tsunami Museum - The 2007 Social Psychology Network Action Teaching Awards were announced, and the winner was this very inspiring museum project from David Sattler. Students in David's independent study course helped build and designed exhibits for a museum in Thailand that "could educate the public about tsunamis and help people move forward with their lives by emphasizing hope, resilience, and the strength of human spirit." A less intensive variation on this idea would be for your students to create online exhibits applying course concepts around some theme. [added 7/7/07]

Read a trade book and translate it into a useful application - Traci Giuliano shares a creative assignment in which she asks "students to read a trade book written by a social psychologist (in a few cases, they are not written by social psychologists but have many relevant applications, as in the case of Malcolm Gladwell or John Gottman) and then develop a useful application (e.g., a workshop, video, website, pamphlet, etc.) from it." Here is the grading sheet for it. Here is a list of trade books Traci has compiled. But she is looking for more. If you have any examples of good books written for a lay audience by social psychologists, please send them to Traci at [added 7/6/07]

Demonstrate a phenomenon: An assignment update! - The link takes you to an assignment I posted a couple years ago from my colleague Heather Coon. She has since updated it in a manner she says works much better. So, I thought I would tell you about it. Briefly, the assignment asks students to design a little study of their own to test out a question related to course material. It gets them involved in social psych more personally, and it gets them to think like a social psychologist a bit. Because this is a lower-level psych course, and many of the students have not yet had research design, Heather doesn't ask for a lit review and a complicated design. She simply asks them to design a task related to a social psych topic, have some group or groups complete it, and collect the data. Then they take 3-5 minutes to present their findings to the class.

Initially, Heather used each presentation as an introduction to that topic in class. This time around she had students pick a topic and try it out after that topic had been discussed. She has found that the "experimenter" and the other students in class have a much better grasp of what is going on if they design the task for something that has already been discussed. The students recognize that their "test" is rather limited in a number of ways, and Heather has found that students are good at identifying the limitations and possible alternative explanations, particularly since they now understand the material better. Most of the students conduct experimental tests, but they can be descriptive or correlational questions as well. Many students create materials ahead of time, even occasionally pre-testing them. Typically they will meet with Heather to make sure what they are trying makes sense.

Heather also requires that their presentation use PowerPoint (typically only 3-5 slides are needed) to add some professionalism to it and to make sure they can use it. She tries to have a few better students go first to serve as good models. Next time, she might try it in pairs to reduce the number of presentations and to promote some collaboration. If you want to talk to Heather about this more, you can contact her at

Do you have any assignments you have revised or adapted that have significantly improved the outcome you are getting from students? I would love to hear about them and possibly share them in the Newsletter. Your assignment doesn't have to be online. You can either just describe it to me or send me a copy at [added 1/1/07]

Research for community action - Lori Rosenthal teaches her students "about research methodology through research projects that make an important difference to the local community." This project assignment was selected as the winner of the Social Psychology Network's inaugural Action Teaching Award. [added 4/6/06]

Teach a concept to others - Jean Mandernach asks her students to design a 5-10 minute interactive activity or demonstration for teaching high school students about a concept or theory from social psychology. [added 1/15/06]

Merging art and social psychology - Nick Schweitzer asks his students to demonstrate/comment on any of the social psychological phenomena discussed by using any artistic medium they wish to create a project. He includes some samples of acceptable and unacceptable(!) projects. [added 8/30/05]

Research Project(?): Over 13,000 rock song quotes! - I'm not sure what you can do with this resource, but I know you are aware that social psychology has investigated the wisdom in many a song lyric (e.g., "girls are prettier at closing time"). Perhaps you could have your students do a lit review to substantiate or refute one of these lyrics, or to test its validity. Or, perhaps you just want to have a few pearls of wisdom to throw out. If you ever use these I would love to hear what you did with them! [added 7/1/04]

Create an original game - Erin Strahan has taken an idea applied in math and other subjects and adapted it to social psychology, i.e., having groups of 4-5 create an original game incorporating social psychology concepts. [added 6/15/04]

Service learning experience - Students in Mark Covey's Social Psychology course participate in a significant service learning requirement which includes a service learning journal. [added 6/15/04]

Group Website Project Rubric - Timothy Pychyl assigns his students in groups to create a website that summarizes research related to a social problem. He has provided a detailed rubric to evaluate the group's work. Follow the navigation links at the top of the above page to see the rest of the rubric. A description of the group project can be found here

Web tutorials - Richard Sherman asks his advanced social psychology students "to inform and educate a visitor to the website about a specific topic in Social Psychology." See examples.

Group web research project - in groups, students are asked to create a web-based research resource about a social problem of interest. Good grading rubrics for the project can be found here.

Experiential projects - from Phil Zimbardo's Psychology of Mind Control course - students experience social psych first-hand by being a "Deviant for a Day," or "an Agent or Target of Social Influence," or by engaging in "self-directed change"


Scrapbook assignment - Students collect examples in the media and connect them to social psychological principles. I like that it adds, "Please, no ribbons, no bows, no markers, no glitter." [added 7/4/09]

Concept maps - In the past, I (Jon Mueller) asked my students to graphically describe the relationship between eight or more concepts in relation to some theme. For example, in the first concept map assignment students drew a map describing the relationship between three social motives (social comparison, consistency and control) and related concepts (e.g., relative deprivation, insufficient justification, reactance, unrealistic optimism) we discussed as they connect to an event of their choosing. On my essay tests I ask short questions that require students to connect two or three concepts together. But the map allows me to see them connect significantly more concepts in a more complex manner. In Fall 2002 when I first assigned concept maps the students struggled with the first map because they (and I) did not quite know what they should be doing. In Spring 2003 I shared a couple maps from the Fall, and I received a much better collection of maps. The first map was completed in pairs; some of the remaining maps will be completed individually and others in pairs.

I welcome any feedback on this assignment. [added 7/21/03]

Social psychology portfolio - students collect popular press material (e.g., newspaper articles, magazine articles, advertisements, comic strips, photographs, advice columns) and write brief reflections applying social psychology

Journal assignment - same as above - a very large sample of "best of" entries collected over the years - at the beginning of class I list the entry #'s on the board of the concepts we will be discussing so students can read entries generated by previous students

Journal assignment - same as above - a few sample entries are given

Exams Online

Multiple Choice:

Multiple-choice questions - Chapter 6 from Jeff Ricker's Introduction to Psychology course includes multiple-choice questions for social psychological topics. Also take a look at his excellent online "lectures" about the Chapter 6 topics. [added 1/14/12]

Multiple-choice and matching items - Sample items from Doug Krull's Social Psychology course [added 6/15/04]

Multiple-choice and true/false questions - interactive practice tests for each chapter from Brehm, Kassin & Fein, Social Psychology 5/e, Houghton Mifflin [added 6/9/04]

Interactive quizzes
covering most topics - good for student review
Interactive quizzes covering most topics
Many questions [added 2/1/03]
26-item test


Essay questions - set 1 - set 2 - set 3 - from Jean Mandernach's social psych course - practice essay questions [added 1/15/06]

Essay questions for social psychology - Scroll down to the social psychology course and look for the study items -- they make for very good essay questions as well. [added 3/1/05]

Short answer essay questions - Scroll down this page to a list of topics. Clicking on those links will take you to a large number of possible quiz/exam questions from Chuck Huff. [added 7/1/04]

Possible essay questions - scroll down to review questions

Possible essay questions - I give students 12-18 of these questions one week prior to an exam and then select 8-10 of them for in-class exam
Essay exam - students analyze a single experiment article given to them

Mixed and Other:

Variety of essay and multiple choice questions - Paula Pietromonaco provides her Social Psychology students with a sample of possible essay and multiple choice questions [added 7/6/06]

Hot Potatoes - excellent, free program for creating a variety of your own online tests (e.g., multiple-choice, matching, crossword)

Oral Presentations/Discussion

Oral Presentations

Scoring rubric for poster and PowerPoint presentations - from Bill Altman [added 1/26/10]

Group PowerPoint presentations on controversial issues - Ronald McLaughlin requires his students to put together a PowerPoint presentation applying social concepts to a controversial issue. Click on "Syllabus" to read the assignment. Click on a list of student presentations at the bottom to see some good student examples. [added 6/9/04]

Oral presentation evaluation sheet

Group presentations: Jonahue! - While knocking around in Don Forsyth's site, I couldn't help remembering the times I taught Group Dynamics many years ago (using Don's excellent text). So, bear with me as I reminisce and share a rather odd class assignment. I was looking for some way for my students to learn about group dynamics while working in groups, and at the same time I wanted to develop their oral speaking skills. But I didn't want them to give the usual oral presentations in which they delivered a prepared speech. They got enough of that (or at least some of that) in their other courses. I wanted them to learn to speak extemporaneously and knowledgeably about a topic. So, I asked myself, where do we find experts speaking publicly extemporaneously? One venue I thought of was the talk show. Sometimes experts are invited to come on a talk show, not to give a speech, but to answer questions. At the time, one of the talk shows doing this was hosted by Phil Donahue. My first name is Jon, and, voila... "Jonahue" was born! Each week I turned my Group Dynamics classroom into a talk show. I, Jonahue, was the host. A group of three students was "invited" to be the guests on the show because they were experts (if they prepared well) on a particular group dynamics topic. More specifically, the group was there to use its expertise on the topic to apply it to a specific topic-related problem. The other members of the class were the audience and were required to ask questions. As host, I also asked questions. And, I recorded my wife asking questions I prepared for her that I played during class as if she were a live caller to the show. Each group of three students went through this ordeal three times during the term. It was fun! And, more importantly, I think it worked. [added 3/6/02]

Discussion and Question-asking

Grading rubrics/scales

Online discussion grading rubric - a very good, detailed rubric from Lynn Sprott [added 9/2/05]

Participation grading scale - Helen Harton offers a good grading scale for class participation in her Social Psychology course. Scroll down page to find Class Discussion section. [added 11/18/04]

Grading Schemes for Participation/Reading - In Erin Ross' class above, the reading questions are worth 10% of a student's grade. Instructors often look to some kind of incentive to get students to participate in class or online or to do the reading. (See the last issue, Vol. 1, No. 10, for subscribers' suggestions.) But some instructors are reluctant to give a significant number of points for tasks that may not be indicative of understanding of course material for fear of inflating the grades. I use a couple schemes to provide incentive without giving away too many points. One simple approach I and others use is to remove points for failure to meet obligations. No points can be earned for contributing entries to the online discussion board or performing small tasks in class I may ask of them, but they will lose a few points if they don't complete the assignment. The potential loss of a few points is all it usually takes to get my students to complete the tasks.

A more complicated scheme I have successfully used to encourage completion of reading assignments was adapted from Barbara Walvoord, Director of the Kaneb Center for Teaching Excellence at Notre Dame University. (Ed note: I highly recommend Barbara Walvoord faculty development workshops.) I assign one or two brief questions for a reading, chapter or portion of a chapter. Students can typically answer the questions in one or two sentences. However, they cannot just look up the answers in the reading. The nature of the questions require them to make some sense of the reading, even though a very brief response is required. I can grade a stack of 30 of these answers (which students must turn in at the beginning of the class at which we will discuss the reading) in less than five minutes because I simply look for effort. I give an answer a "check" if sufficient effort is apparent and a "minus" if it is not. Then I apply the following grading scheme. If a student received 90% or more checks on the questions assigned throughout the term then I will raise that student's final course grade to the next highest grade level (e.g., B to A) if the student's final grade is within 10 points of the next highest grade level. For example, if 450 points are required for an A in the course, and a student has accumulated 443 points by the end of the course and has received at least 90% checks then that student will receive an A in the course. However, if another student received at least 90% checks but only accumulated 438 points (i.e., more than 10 points away from 450), that student would receive a B in the course. Additionally, if a student received fewer than 70% checks on the questions then I will lower (yes, lower) the student's final grade to the next lowest grade level if the student's final grade is within 10 points of the next lowest grade level. So, a student with 455 points could have her final course grade lowered from an A to a B if she did not put enough effort into answering the reading questions. Finally, students who receive between 70% and 90% checks will not have their final grades altered. Did you follow all that?

Students like this grading scheme and assignment, it takes very little work on my part, and I have found it effectively encourages students to do the reading and makes class discussions better without inflating grades. [added 8/30/02]

Do you use other schemes you would like to share? Send them to me at

Debates in the Classroom

Useful or not? Talk among yourselves. I occasionally use debates in class to promote student engagement and discussion of a topic. Sometimes I randomly assign them to a position (good way to illustrate the saying-is-believing effect) and sometimes I let them choose which side they will be on. Topics I have used include:

  • Do you believe your attitudes shape your behaviors more or do your behaviors shape your attitudes more?
  • Is there such a thing as a truly altruistic behavior?
  • Harry Wallace shared the following debate topic: "Regarding debate topics, I like to introduce the topic of stereotypes & prejudice in my introductory social psych courses with a debate on affirmative action as a university admissions policy. I divide the class in half, have students generate their arguments (without having read the relevant research), and then let them go at it. Then, after students have thought about the issues, I introduce the research that speaks to the issues they raised (and failed to consider)."
  • Eric Hansen shared the following topics: "In a research methods course I have used the article:

    Middlemist, R. D., Knowles, E. S:, & Matter, C. F (1976). Personal space invasions in the lavatory: Suggestive evidence for arousal. JPSP, 33, 541-546.

    I have had students write a critique of the study including identifying the theory being tested, the dependent and independent variables, the methodology, etc. In class I've had debates regarding the ethics of the study (is it okay to hide in a stall and use a periscope to watch men urinate and see how long it takes them to start and finish without their knowledge or consent) based on the current APA ethics guidelines. When I first started I let the students pick the side they wanted and it was more of a whole-class discussion, but I quickly found that no one wanted to argue that the study was ethical so I was forced to defend it. Since then I have instead told them in advance that they should prepare both sides of the debate and wherever possible know how they would respond to counterargue their own position and arguments, and that which side they would be on would be decided by a coin toss. I then let them have the
    debate in groups of 4 with 2 for and 2 against randomly assigned to position. That seemed to work better.

    I more recently have tried a similar type of debate with Baumeister and Vohs article taking an economic view of sexuality:

    Baumeister, R. F., & Vohs, K. D. (2004). Sexual economics: Sex as female resource for social exchange in heterosexual interactions. Personality and Social Psychology Review, 8, 339-363.

    I tried to let a coin toss decide whether they should defend or attack the theory, but the discussion was very strained and awkward, so the students asked if they could decide which side they wanted to be on to which I agreed. In my experience the article leads to lively discussions."
  • In a few listserv posts, faculty were sharing some ideas for conducting class debates. Here are a couple examples which the authors graciously allowed me to share:

    From Shelby Morrison: "Marlo Smith asked about classroom debates. I use a version for which I have prepared before class by posting signs on three walls reading "YES," "NO" and "?." I come to class with a list of statements and I ask the students to move to sign with which they agree. (This is a great ice breaker for first meeting of a class. It also gets the students moving!) I'm getting ready to begin an Adolescent Psych class and I will use provocative statements such as "Males are inherently better in math and science"; "It is a OK for parents to make monetary rewards for good grades"; "Early maturation is an advantage for females." Depending on class size, each group is given 3-4 minutes to discuss its stance among themselves and to select someone to report back to the class. Then, students are given the chance to change their position (to go from "Yes" to "?", etc.). Lastly, I report to the whole class the relevant research on the question after this process. I especially like this activity for Intro Psychology using statements that deal with the myths about psychology. Sometimes I do an evaluation and I find that the learning from this activity "sticks." It's a good way to get an important concept across. Plan on about six minutes of class time for each question and don't overdo it. Four to five good statements are usually enough. Shelby Morrison Ph.D. Valencia Community College Orlando, Florida"

    From Gail Knapp: "Shelby Morrison talked about having students stand in front of signs that say "yes" "no" or "?" for statements to start a class discussion and serve as an ice breaker. I do something similar, but with a few twists. I make the signs into a continuum with choices from Strongly agree, Moderately agree, Neutral or No opinion, Moderately Disagree, and Strongly Disagree across the room. Then I let the students write the questions they want their classmates to answer. I give them guidelines about how to write a good survey question before we do this, and I explain the kinds of things that make good survey questions. Then I collect their papers (one question from each) anonymously so no one will know who asked what. Then I read the questions one at a time and they stand in front of the appropriate sign. Our conversation is less about what their opinion was on the issues, than it is about the questions themselves. Were they easy to understand? Were the terms clear? What information did they gather? One thing they notice is that some questions don't provide useful information. For example, a question where the whole class is grouped at one sign causes a discussion about why that happened. Or questions where they don't know what to answer and find themselves all grouped in the center cause a different kind of discussion. We also talk about the public nature of this kind of survey since almost always there are questions that I tell them to listen to but not answer. This exercise is a good icebreaker, but it is also a great way to get students to understand more about surveys and survey data. -Gail Knapp Mott Community College" [added 7/19/07]

What topics have you had students debate? I would be interested in hearing how you have used debates in your classes and the topics you have used. Send me replies at I will share them on this page. [added 7/5/06]

Discussion questions accompanying Stanovich's How to Think Straight About Psychology - excellent set of questions from Paul Smith at Alverno College - his class discusses the numbered questions and the students write answers to and hand in the italicized questions [added 9/27/04]

Reading Questions/Principal Readers - Erin Ross requires students to submit questions/comments related to the assigned readings. She also selects several students to serve as "principal readers" for a particular class to lead the discussion. Scroll down the syllabus page to "Seminar Write-up and Class Questions" to read about how these questions are used. Ross also includes a brief summary of APA format. [added 8/30/02]

Designing/Conducting Research

Applying social psychology for good - I have always been so impressed and energized by the research of social psychologist Nalini Ambady. Sadly, as many of you likely know, she passed away in October, 2013. But her inspiration, creativity, and concern for sharing and using psychological science have "sparked" some initiatives that will carry on her spirit and her ideas. One of these is SPARQ (Social Psychological Answers to Real-world Questions), a new center at Stanford University dedicated to helping "policymakers, educators, and nonprofit leaders apply social psychology’s insights and methods to their work." Here is a link to a number of remembrances of Dr. Ambady. Here is a fuller description of SPARQ. I list these resources here because SPARQ contains a "Solutions Catalog" which is "a searchable online database of proven-effective social psychological interventions in seven areas: education, health, law and justice, peace and conflict, the environment, parenting, and relationships." These are very accessible interventions that your students can read about, but they may also be interested in replicating some of them or trying local variations of them. [added 1/20/15]

Research Design Papers: Rubric - Here is an excellent rubric for evaluating research papers which include a literature review and a study design. Here are some other rubrics from Mark Stellmack and colleagues. [added 6/16/12]

Group experiments - Jeff Stone has students in his Social Psychology of Attitudes course and his Honors Seminar on the Science of Prejudice Reduction collaboratively create, conduct, and analyze experiments to persuade or influence people or to reduce prejudice, respectively. Scroll down page to find the Group Research Project. [added 12/4/10]

Creating an informed consent form - a tutorial for students on why and how to create an informed consent form -- it includes a quiz to test them on their knowledge. [added 1/1/07]

Experience sampling - Want your students to conduct some experience sampling? Here's some free software to do just that on a PDA (personal digital assistant, e.g., Palm Pilot) developed at Boston College by Lisa Feldman Barrett and Daniel Barrett. [added 7/6/06]

Research design scoring guide; Final paper scoring guide; Thesis/hypothesis paper rubric; Source paper rubric; Authentic Assessment Toolbox - The first link is to a very detailed scoring guide for the design of research projects. The second link is to a very detailed guide for grading the final paper for this project. The third link is to a rubric for scoring a paper identifying a thesis and a hypothesis for a research project. The fourth link is to a rubric for an assignment on locating and citing sources for a research project. All of these are from Bill Altman. Why do I call the first two scoring guides and the last two rubrics? Because the last two scoring scales include the criteria used to evaluate the student work (as does the first two), but the last two also articulate levels of performance for each criterion. The inclusion of criteria and levels of performance are the defining attributes of a rubric. To learn more about rubrics follow the final link above. [added 2/22/06]

Group participation rubric - a very good and detailed rubric for "assessing group members' ability to participate effectively as part of a team" - from Bill Altman [added 2/22/06]

SurveyWiz - This simple-to-use tool by Michael Birnbaum allows you or your students to create surveys for use on the Web or elsewhere. [added 6/9/04]

Replication Research Project - In Kristi Lemm's Social Cognition course, students are to "replicate an established effect in social cognition." With a partner or alone, they collect the data and prepare a poster to describe the study. [added 8/30/02]

Replicating Experiments - Mary Inman assigns students to groups to replicate (and possibly extend) one of six experiments - she provides detailed and structured directions - more detailed instructions for each experiment can be found here:

Designing Research Only:

Develop a proposal/lit review/web project - scroll down page to find assignment


Other Paper Assignments

Using op-eds to advance public understanding of psychological science - "In this assignment, used in both an introductory-level social psychology course as well as a first-year writing seminar, students write a science-based op-ed of 750 words or less that brings relevant psychological research to bear on an important social problem. Students are informed that, although op-eds come in many forms, the best papers share several key features: They identify a specific puzzle (e.g., Why are U.S. obesity rates increasing?), examine the problem in light of current scientific thinking (theory) and evidence (e.g., research findings), and communicate some novel insight about the nature of the problem or propose a solution based on available evidence. Students are required to use three or more external sources beyond course readings to support their arguments and are asked to provide either (a) evidence that the article has been submitted for publication (e.g., a submission confirmation page), or (b) detailed instructions for submitting the op-ed to two prospective outlets of the student's choice." This assignment, by Adam Pearson, was the 2014 winner of the Social Psychology Network Action Teaching Award. [added 1/20/15]

Sociology assignments - The site The Sociological Cinema contains a growing database of videos as well as a few assignments. [added 7/30/13]

"Portfolios in psychology classes" - some good advice and examples [added 4/01/13]

Research Analysis Assignment - [added 12/12/12]

Social psychology of networks - Scroll down the syllabus of Joseph Trimble to find a number of interesting brief assignments related to analyzing human networks. This link takes you to some good rubrics for assessing the brief exercises and other assignments in the course. [added 9/25/10]

Variety of assignments - Mark Stasson offers a variety of assignments in his Social Psychology syllabus. [added 3/6/10]

Six short essays - several interesting essay assignments from Kevin Grobman's graduate Social Psychology course [added 3/6/10]

What I Know (WIK) Papers - In her Social Psychology course, Judy Wilson encourages her students to socially construct their understanding of course material through these brief paper assignments. "For each of these topics, we will spend time establishing what you already know about the issues by discussing them in class. You will be asked to write a one-page paper about what you know after the discussion. You will work in groups to develop some questions about the topic and do some research to find answers. Each person in your group will have an opportunity to present what your group found in the research (each person only presents a summary once). This report will be given to the class in a discussion session and a written summary will be turned in. The final part of this assignment is a two-page paper saying what you know about the topic after discussion, reading the text, doing the research and hearing the other groups' reports." A good use of peers.
[added 7/4/09]

Developing critical thinking skills in Social Psychology - My colleague Heather Coon and I embarked on a project to more systematically develop scientific thinking skills in our students. Click on the link to read about how we used brief research articles to develop a variety of thinking skills. You are welcome to use any of the materials. Feedback is always welcome. [added 9/20/08]

Group paper - interesting assignment in Michael Milburn's Social Attitudes and Public Opinion course [added 9/20/08]

Correlation or Causation? - updated - I have added quite a few more links to my collection of popular press articles that often include questionable headlines. I use the links on this page to teach about the language of correlations versus causal relationships, the type of research commonly associated with each, and how to evaluate the quality and quantity of evidence to support such claims. I also have added an assignments section that includes brief tasks that could be used as in-class activities or out-of-class assignments. I would love to hear of any activity/assignment ideas you have or create to accompany this resource. I will add them to the site. Thanks. [added 1/1/07]

Theory critique or analysis paper - Connie Wolfe offers two good final paper options for her Social Psychology students. These are very detailed assignments with a lot of guidance and supports for her students. I also like the "automatic deductions" at the end of the assignment. [added 1/1/07]

Six homework assignments - Brief but carefully structured assignments over several course concepts that provide specific questions to which students respond -- from Paula Pietromonaco's Social Psychology course [added 7/6/06]

Applied media review - Jean Mandernach's students select a course topic, and then they summarize three articles in the media addressing the topic. Additionally, students are to analyze the three articles and then provide an integrated conclusion. Also see the Topic Report assignment in which students expand on the media review. [added 1/15/06]

Designing good assessments and responding effectively to student writing - A lot of good advice at this site for creating better assignments, including critical thinking in them, and responding to student writing [added 4/5/04]

Critical analysis paper and peer review

CRITIC Approach

Lou Manza, of Lebanon Valley College, has shared a very well thought and detailed assignment for his Paranormal Phenomena --A Critical Examination course that I believe is relevant here. The first link above is to the syllabus for his course. It describes a few interesting assignments including the C.R.I.T.I.C. paper, a critical analysis of a paranormal belief. The very elaborate description of the assignment can be found in Appendix D of the syllabus. The assignment also includes an element of peer review. The second link above is to the rubric students are to use for the peer critique of student papers. Also included there is the rubric the instructor uses with good explanation of the scoring criteria. The third link is to a fuller description of the CRITIC approach Lou uses which could be implemented in any course promoting critical thinking. Finally, the fourth link above is to an article in The Skeptical Enquirer by Wayne Bartz which originally described the CRITIC approach. Lou adapted the idea from this article and "blended it with some stuff from other sources" to create what you find above.

How can Psychologists Obtain Accurate Measurements? - This is an assignment from Karen Gasper's Self and Social Judgment course in which she asks students to visit the IAT site, another measurement site, read a linked article and answer a few questions in response. [added 7/23/03]

Homework Assignments - several short, interesting assignments for Lisa Schulte's social psych students [added 2/1/03]

Trace an article - Scroll down to "Term Paper." Jonathan Brown asks graduate students in his Advanced Social Psychology course to "select one article of contemporary (1999-2001) research from the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. You must then (1) trace its historical and theoretical roots, (2) describe what was done and what was found, and (3) say something about why it’s important." [added 11/7/02]

Confounded variables assignment - in PDF - several scenarios are presented for which students are to identify the independent, dependent and confounding variables, and describe how to "unconfound" the experiment - good in-class activity also

Application of Course Concepts

"Life Application Essays" - In his Social Psychology course, Jeff Joireman assigns his students five essays in which they find different ways to apply course content to their own lives. Also, check out his "goal setting" section. [added 1/8/06]

Variety of topics - Chuck Huff offers several interesting and current assignments in which students apply social psychology to subjects such as torture and cross-cultural experiences. [added 7/1/04]

Day of ...... - Scott Plous' Day of Compassion assignment has been posted on the Resources website for quite a while. Now I have the pleasure of pointing you to three other similar, creative assignments Scott engages his Social Psychology students in: Day of Nonconformity, Day of Nonviolence, and Day of Social Justice. [added 6/9/04]

Application Papers - three interesting applications of social psychology from Tiffany Ito's course: 1) Looking for biases, shortcuts and attributions in newspapers and magazines, 2) looking for attitude change in ads, and 3) looking for socialization of gender and ethnic stereotypes in
children's stories [added 3/13/03]

Application Paper: September 11, 2001 - This assignment is an interesting example of asking students to apply specific research articles to real-life events from Sara Hodges' Mind and Society course. [added 2/4/03]

Topic Resources

The situation of fear - An article about how we are wired to respond with fear to all kinds of stimuli, and people are good at feeding that fear.

The growth and evolution of social media - The first link is to a timeline of Instagram from 2010 to the present.  Here is an infrographic providing a broader history of social media.

10 famous psychology case studies - Most of these are not directly social psychology related, but it is a nice collection with updated information and resources.

"The social power of primates" - Be sure to check out the 1936 video.

What do we know about Facebook? - Here is a summary of some of what researchers have learned about the new world of Facebook and its users.

Remembering Donn Byrne - I remember my Masters Thesis was a test of a Donn Byrne theory. He was a prolific personality and social psychology researcher and theorist. [added 1/20/15]

Teaching contentious classics - excellent essay by Carol Tavris on how to teach some of psychology's most controversial studies including the Robbers Cave study and Milgram's obedience study [added 1/20/15]

Top factors why new college graduates get fired or disciplined - Here is an excellent list your students should consider, shared by subscriber David Myers. I was going to say that our students need to understand that you can't just turn these traits on when you want to; they must be honed. But that's really an empirical question, isn't it? Can someone eschew these habits of mind during college but turn them on once they get a job? [added 1/20/15]

The emergence of the unconscious - interesting article reviewing research that reflects our new view of the importance of unconscious processing and decision making [added 1/20/15]

"Three reasons why you should ask!" - good essay discussing the advantages of making a request [added 1/20/15]

Blog on cultural influences - Larry White is writing an interesting blog that addresses a variety of social psych topics. Check it out. [added 8/30/13]

Beards -- good or bad? Discuss. - Blog entry reviews some of the research on beards. [added 8/30/13]

Juicy social psych tidbits - I had missed this nice little collection of some of David Myers' favorite studies over the last couple years. [added 7/30/13]

Sociological history of Boston Marathon - an interesting description of some of the past history of the marathon [added 7/30/13]

Psychology then and now - The January issue of the Observer contained a couple good articles describing some history of psychology, specifically in the study and support of Blacks and women (link above) and the influence of Gordon Allport (here). [added 7/30/13]

Sociology of music - This blog entry provides an interesting discussion of a number of social psychological elements within music.

"Pop music is getting sadder and more emotionally ambiguous" - "The researchers analysed the tempo (fast or slow) and mode (major or minor) of the most popular 1,010 pop songs identified using year-end lists published by Billboard magazine in the USA from 1965 to 2009." [added 12/24/12]

Social psychology song list - The good folks at Teaching of Psychology Idea Exchange (ToPIX) have been compiling a nice list of songs relevant to the different areas of psychology. [added 7/4/12]

What is social psychology, anyway? - Here is a very interesting discussion/debate of the social psychology narrative by Daniel Gilbert, Timothy Wilson, Steven Pinker, and Hugo Mercier. Thanks to Larry White for this contribution. [added 7/4/12]

Interview of Harry Harlow - The first link is to a brief revisiting of the interview of Harry Harlow conducted in 1973. The second link is to that original interview. Some interesting stuff. [added 7/4/12]

Essay on Abraham Maslow - [added 7/4/12]

Psychology to the rescue - The excellent BPS Research Digest blog celebrated its 200th issue by asking "a handful of leading psychologists to write 200 words on a time in their lives that their psychology knowledge or skills came to their rescue." Read some very interesting uses of psychology. [added 1/29/12]

9/11 psychology-related links - The Research Digest blog provides some links to psychology-related items regarding 9/11. [added 1/29/12]

"Social networking sites and our lives" - A report from the Pew Research Center providing a detailed look at our online experience based on survey research -- you can view the surveys also. [added 1/29/12]

More on mirror neurons - Here's a good overview of what we know about mirror neurons and their relationship to behavior in this article about Giacomo Rizzolatti's talk at the APS convention. [added 1/29/12]

Culture, brain, and behavior - Nalini Ambady reviews research on cultural influences on the brain and behavior. [added 8/18/11]

Most underappreciated ideas in social psychology? - Ask the researchers who came up with them -- that's what the APS Observer did. You can read what some prominent social psychologists believe are some of their lost gems. [added 8/18/11]

This Week in Sociology - This is a new website that provides sociological commentary on current events, people, and ideas. [added 8/18/11]

Mirror neurons and social behavior - interesting review of what we know so far about mirror neurons and their relation to social behavior [added 6/12/11]

historical figures in social psychology - [added 6/12/11]

Science on the subway - interesting article about how sociologists and psychologists study human behavior as it is occurring on the subway [added 1/19/10]

Psychology and global warming - APA has entered the fray of global warming by releasing a report on "Psychology and Global Climate Change: Addressing a Multi-faceted Phenomenon and Set of Challenges." It addresses quite a few social psychological concepts. [added 1/19/10]

Mirror neurons and social behavior - an interview with a leading researcher on mirror neurons who discusses their potential role in our social perceptions and interactions
[added 12/14/08]

The Amethyst Initiative - As you may have heard, more than 100 university administrators, through the Amethyst Initiative, have called for reducing the drinking age from 21 to 18. If a behavior is made legal will it become less desirable? More amenable to education? The first link is to a college president's support for the Initiative. Here is an explanation from a professor of why he thinks the Initiative is misguided. Here is the Amethyst website. A lot of potential topics (e.g., reactance) for discussion in your class on this issue relevant to your students.
[added 12/14/08]

Top 10 social psych studies - a review of ten classic studies in social psychology -- would they be in your top ten? [added 12/16/07]

The sports cliche - I don't know what you can do with these, but they relate to stereotypes, roles, persuasion, etc. Can students evaluate the truthiness of some of them? [added 12/11/07]

The study of the obvious - good essay on how psychology just seems to be common sense to many people [added 10/27/07]

TV's effects on children - This site from the University of Michigan Health System pulls together a brief summary and set of resources on TV's effects on violence, attitudes, and more for children. It includes some advice for parents. [added 7/14/07]

Biography of Albert Bandura - [added 1/1/06]

For our French readers out there, Sylvain Delouvée has pointed me to an excellent resource for social psychology instructors:

-- Prejuges & Stereotypes

Personality Pedagogy - Marianne Miserandino has begun developing an excellent resource for instructors of personality psychology using a Wiki model. Definitely worth a look. [added 7/5/06]

Understanding Katrina - a series of essays from social scientists from the Social Science Research Council [added 1/9/06]

The 9-11 Report - Lois Winkler suggested we might share ways we could possibly use the 9-11 report and its finding in our courses. For example, the report talks about likely "group think" in the decision-making process. Are there other connections to social psych you have made or could make with the report? Pass those along to me at and I will share them. [added 12/1/04]

Psychology Matters - The APA is building a "web-based compendium of psychological research that demonstrates the application and value of psychological science in our every-day lives," including research on some social psychology topics. [added 11/20/03]

Topic Summaries/Bibliographies - Lisa Schulte has provided her class with detailed summaries and bibliographies of several social topics including authoritarianism, the false consensus effect, and exposure to the media and aggression. [added 2/1/03]

The Mead Project - "foundational documents in sociological social psychology" from the Sociology Dept. of Brock University, St. Catharines, Canada [added 11/07/02]

What is a Personality/Social Psychologist? - from SPSP [added 6/19/02]

Necessary and sufficient conditions - excellent explanation of these concepts with good examples and practice exercises from Norman Swartz

1919 Social Psychology textbook - by Edward Alsworth Ross - courtesy of the Mead Project

Distinction between sociological and psychological approach to social psychology

Kenneth Gergen - manuscripts on social psychology as social construction and other topics


Articles, Books, and Book Chapters (available online)


Ross, Edward Alsworth. (1919). "Social Psychology" textbook courtesy of The Mead Project, Department of Sociology, Brock University, St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada L2S 3A1.

Sommers, S. (2011). Situations matter: Understanding how context transforms your world. Riverhead Excerpts of Situations Matter can be read here and here.

Book Chapters

Branscombe, N.R. & Spears, R. (2001). Social Psychology: Past, Present, and Some Predictions for the Future. In Halonen, J.S. & Davis, S.F. (Eds.), The many faces of psychological research in the 21st century. Published online.

Jordan, C. & Zanna, M. (1999). How to read a journal article in social psychology. In R. F. Baumeister (Ed.), The Self in Social Psychology (pp. 461-470). Philadelphia: Psychology Press.

Jordan, C. & Zanna, M. (2007). Not all experiments are created equal: On conducting and reporting persuasive experiments. In R. J. Sternberg, D. Halpern, & H. L. Roediger III (Eds.), Critical Thinking in Psychology (pp. 160-176). New York: Cambridge University Press.

Wegner, D. M., & Gilbert, D. T. (2000). Social psychology -- the science of human experience. In H. Bless & J. P. Forgas (Eds.), Subjective experience in social cognition and behavior (pp. 1-9). Philadelphia, PA: Psychology Press.

Wegner, D. M., & Giuliano, T. (1982). The forms of social awareness. In W. J. Ickes & E. S. Knowles (Eds.), Personality, roles, and social behavior (pp. 165-198). New York: Springer-Verlag.


Bickert, K. C., Wright, C. I., Dautoff, R. J., Dickerson, B. C., & Barrett, L. F. (2010). Amygdala volume and social network size in humans. Nature Neuroscience, December, 26, 2010.

Buss, D.M. (2009). An evolutionary formulation of person-situation interactions. Journal of Research in Personality, 43, 241-242.

Ekehammar, B. & Biel, A. (2005). Social psychology in Sweden: A brief look. European Bulletin of Social Psychology, 17, 16-30.

Jost, J.T., & Kruglanski, A.W. (2002). The estrangement of social constructionism and experimental social psychology: History of the rift and prospects for reconciliation. Personality and Social Psychology Review, 6, 168-187.

Krueger, J.I., & Funder, D.C. (2004). Towards a balanced social psychology: Causes, consequences, and cures for the problem-seeking approach to social behavior and cognition. Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 27, 313-327.

Slavich, G. M., & Cole, S. W. (2013). The emerging field of human social genomics. Clinical Psychological Science, 1, 331-348.

Willingham, D. T., & Dunn, E. W. (2003). What neuroimaging and brain localization can do, cannot do, and should not do for social psychology. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 85, 662-671.

Wilson, T.D. (2005). The message is the method: Celebrating and exporting the experimental approach. Psychological Inquiry, 16, 185-193.



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