PSYCH 1280 Personality and Social Psychology: The Individual in the Social World
This course is only offered in the Summer Session.
This intensive introduction to psychology deals with how we, as individuals, understand and get along in the broader social world. Humans are a social species and our connection to others is a core element of our experience. The course will examine how and why different people act differently in the same situation, sometimes as a result of the culture in which they were raised, the family in which they grew up, or the genetic make-up they inherited. The course will also examine how and why different situations, especially social situations, channel behavior in particular directions, minimizing and overcoming differences between individuals. In discussing these themes, the course will address such questions as: Why do we hold stereotypes? How do we decide what motivates other people's actions? How are beliefs and attitudes formed and changed? How do invisible social norms influence our behavior? What factors determine whom we like and love? What is the nature of emotional experience? Why are people capable of great cruelty and inspiring altruism? Along the way, students will learn how these questions can be scientifically studied, so that our knowledge of human behavior can rest on a solid foundation and go beyond the speculations offered by philosophers, poets, and other astute observers for millennia.