new link as of April 1, 2019
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
Improving study skills - Michael Britt has created this nice demo of the value of certain study strategies that can be used in class or online.
Helping students learn - Here are two recent articles on powerful methods to promote student learning that are primarily student directed. This is the link to the second article.
Review activity for social psychology
Why sleep deprivation also hurts our social processes
Spacing practice in the classroom - teaching your students the benefits of spaced practice
Speed reviewing - Ziv Bell shared a technique he uses in his courses to help students review material that is based on the concept of speed dating. Sometimes he gives them a time limit for each pairing, and sometimes he does not. He says it works both ways.
Ziv says, "What I do find helps (and you can feel free to re-word this as you see fit) is (1) for the instructor to participate as well, (2) to make sure that students have a list of terms/concepts they can review, which could come from a study guide, the glossary/summary of the book chapter, etc., (3) to have students move to a part of the classroom they can easily move around, which could be the front or sides of a traditional lecture hall, for example, and (4) for the instructor to model introducing themselves to another student, asking "Can you tell me about ..." and saying thank you before parting ways and introducing themselves to another student. I find in a class of about 60 students this activity works well for between 5-10 minutes."
Using pre-questions - This study found that the simple use of pre-questions before students watch a short video significantly increased their memory for information in the video, even information unrelated to the pre-questions.
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
a course on the psychology of social media - [added
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]
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
of activities/demos for social influence - a large collection
of annotated references to classroom activities including group influence
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
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
students' ethical behavior" - some good tips in this essay
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.
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
search and discover activity - This comes from Chuck Schallhorn
through the excellent Teaching High School Psychology blog. [added
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?
Psychology Rocks - Brian Johnson passed along this interesting
"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."
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
for the inclusion of social class in psychology curricula"
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
- 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
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]
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]
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:
you believe your attitudes shape your behaviors more or do your
behaviors shape your attitudes more?
there such a thing as a truly altruistic behavior?
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)."
Resources (Audio / Video / Images)
Podcasts - This document lists a number of regular psychology podcasts that includes social psych ones.
of speakers on a variety of topics including social psychology -
collections of psychology-related podcasts - [added
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.
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]
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
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.
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]
archives in Canada - a large, searchable collection of audio and
video from Canadian Broadcasting Corporation radio and television [added
- 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
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
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]
from the Twentieth Century -
Historicalvoices.org 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]
Collection of movies - Here is a large collection of short and full-length films on many topics, including examples of propaganda.
Opinion Rhapsody (5:54) - What a fun music video! A nice parody song addressing how polarized we have become online.
The National Screening Room - The Library of Congress is now providing access to many historic films, commercials, and other video that can be downloaded or streamed. Many social psychology-relevant videos can be found here.
The art of the elevator speech (5:42) - A nice, brief video from SPSP that describes and illustrates what a brief, engaging summary of your work (“elevator speech”) looks like
Famous social psychologists share their insights
SPSP videos - The Society for Personality and Social Psychology has started offering some short videos from personality and social psychologists.
Many collections of images and videos - The University of Masschusetts Dartmouth library has organized links to many large collections of open video and image resources available for viewing.
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.
advice from professors and grad students - [added
interview with Albert Bandura - [added 1/20/15]
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
assignments - The site The Sociological Cinema contains a growing
database of videos as well as a few assignments. [added
TV News archive - Search
375,000 TV News broadcasts. [added 12/07/12]
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
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]
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
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]
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]
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.
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
of free video clips from CBSNews.com - For example, there
is a (2004) video clip available on the politics of gay marriage.
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
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]
archives in Canada - a large, searchable collection of audio
and video from Canadian Broadcasting Corporation radio and television
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]
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
Mediasite.com - "a growing
library of expert presentations and lectures" [added
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
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.
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
United Nations webcast
- 24 hours a day, streaming and on-demand video from the U.N. security
council, general assembly and press briefings! [added
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
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]
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
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]
Motion Pictures in American Memory Collections"
old films from The Library of Congress - most are historical in
nature but you may find something of interest or relevance [added
Animated gifs - Need some? The U.S. National Archives has plenty for you.
Many collections of images and videos - The University of Masschusetts Dartmouth library has organized links to many large collections of open video and image resources available for viewing.
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
Gallery - nearly 200,000 portraits and photos [added
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."
Posters/images of psychology from Flickr photostreams -
of Chicago images - large collection of 20th century scenes
and people you might find useful [added 12/16/10]
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."
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
collection from the New York Public Library [added
domain images - a large list of links to freely available
images you can use in your lectures or elsewhere [added
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]
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
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
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
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]
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.
assignments ask students to apply course concepts through the
analysis of movies, television shows, novels and other works
of fiction or non-fiction.
analysis resources - The best aspect of this site is the
set of links to many other good content analysis sites. [added
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]
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
- 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
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
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]
for conducting a content analysis [added
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
article - students analyze an article of their choosing
in terms of course concepts
conflict article - students analyze article in terms of
assignments typically ask students to summarize a research article
to develop and demonstrate an ability to read and interpret
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]
proverbs - students select a social proverb from list
and review a few relevant articles
Putting social psychology in action - Kim McClure Brenchley provides her students with a variety of ways to try social psychology out in the world.
Group work - A very nice evidence-based overview of how to effectively conduct group work in your courses
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."
'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]
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
your own IAT - FreeIAT lets you or your students create
your Implicit Association Tests. [added
positive psychology into action - a service learning project
psychology of sustainable behavior: Three action teaching projects
- [added 8/1/10]
education for refugees - a field experience [added
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."
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]
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]
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 email@example.com. [added 7/6/07]
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 email@example.com.
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
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]
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]
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
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]
learning experience - Students in Mark Covey's Social Psychology
course participate in a significant service learning requirement
which includes a service learning journal. [added
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
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."
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
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
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."
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.
welcome any feedback on
this assignment. [added 7/21/03]
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
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
assignment - same as above - a few sample entries are given
questions - set 1 - set
2 - set 3 - from
Jean Mandernach's social psych course - practice essay questions
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
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.
essay questions - scroll down to review questions
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 - students analyze a single experiment article given
rubric for poster and PowerPoint presentations - from Bill
Altman [added 1/26/10]
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]
presentation evaluation sheet
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
discussion grading rubric - a very good, detailed rubric
from Lynn Sprott [added 9/2/05]
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
in the Classroom
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:
you believe your attitudes shape your behaviors more or
do your behaviors shape your attitudes more?
there such a thing as a truly altruistic behavior?
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)."
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."
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 Shelby4087@aol.com"
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 email@example.com Mott Community College"
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
I will share them on this page. [added 7/5/06]
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]
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 psychologys
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.
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.
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
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
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
design scoring guide; Final
paper scoring guide; Thesis/hypothesis
paper rubric; Source paper
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
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
- This simple-to-use tool by Michael Birnbaum allows you or
your students to create surveys for use on the Web or elsewhere.
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
- 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:
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]
assignments - The site The Sociological Cinema contains
a growing database of videos as well as a few assignments.
in psychology classes" - some good advice and examples
Analysis Assignment - [added
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
of assignments - Mark Stasson offers a variety of assignments
in his Social Psychology syllabus. [added 3/6/10]
short essays - several interesting essay assignments from
Kevin Grobman's graduate Social Psychology course [added
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
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
paper - interesting
assignment in Michael Milburn's Social Attitudes and Public
Opinion course [added
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
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]
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]
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]
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]
analysis paper and peer review
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.
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.
Assignments - several short, interesting assignments for
Lisa Schulte's social psych students [added 2/1/03]
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 its important." [added 11/7/02]
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
of Course Concepts
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]
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
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]
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]
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
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]
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
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]
reasons why you should ask!" - good essay discussing the
advantages of making a request [added 1/20/15]
on cultural influences - Larry White is writing an interesting
blog that addresses a variety of social psych topics. Check it out.
-- good or bad? Discuss. - Blog entry reviews some of the research
on beards. [added 8/30/13]
social psych tidbits - I had missed this nice little collection
of some of David Myers' favorite studies over the last couple years.
history of Boston Marathon - an interesting description of some
of the past history of the marathon [added
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).
of music - This blog entry provides an interesting discussion
of a number of social psychological elements within music.
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
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
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
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
on Abraham Maslow - [added 7/4/12]
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
psychology-related links - The Research Digest blog
provides some links to psychology-related items regarding 9/11.
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
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
brain, and behavior - Nalini Ambady reviews research on cultural
influences on the brain and behavior. [added
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
Week in Sociology - This is a new website that provides sociological
commentary on current events, people, and ideas. [added
neurons and social behavior - interesting review of what we
know so far about mirror neurons and their relation to social behavior
figures in social psychology - [added 6/12/11]
on the subway - interesting article about how sociologists and
psychologists study human behavior as it is occurring on the subway
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
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
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.
10 social psych studies - a review of ten classic studies in
social psychology -- would they be in your top ten? [added
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]
study of the obvious - good essay on how psychology just seems
to be common sense to many people [added 10/27/07]
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]
our French readers out there, Sylvain Delouvée has pointed
me to an excellent resource for social psychology instructors:
Prejuges & Stereotypes
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]
Katrina - a series of essays from social scientists from the
Social Science Research Council [added 1/9/06]
- 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]
is a Personality/Social Psychologist? - from SPSP [added
and sufficient conditions
- excellent explanation of these concepts with good examples and
practice exercises from Norman Swartz
Social Psychology textbook
- by Edward Alsworth Ross - courtesy of the Mead Project
Gergen - manuscripts on social psychology as social construction
and other topics
Books, and Book Chapters (available online)
Edward Alsworth. (1919). "Social
Psychology" textbook courtesy of The Mead Project, Department
of Sociology, Brock University, St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada L2S
S. (2011). Situations matter: Understanding how context transforms
your world. Riverhead Books.
Excerpts of Situations Matter can be read here
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.
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.
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.
Nave, G., Nadler, A., Zava, D., & Camerer, C. (2017). Single dose testosterone administration impairs cognitive reflection in men. Psychological Science, 28, 1398-1407.
G. M., & Cole, S. W. (2013). The
emerging field of human social genomics. Clinical Psychological
Science, 1, 331-348.
2000-2019. This site was created and is maintained by Jon
Mueller, Professor of Psychology at North
Central College, Naperville, IL. Send comments to Jon.