2012-13 Catalog

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Offering Description

The Social Animal


Summer 2013 quarter

Laura Citrin social psychology, gender and women's studies
Fields of Study
psychology and sociology

Because we as human beings spend a good deal of our time interacting with other people—being influenced by them, influencing them, being delighted, amused, saddened, and angered by them—it is natural that we develop hypotheses about social behavior.  In that sense, we are all amateur social psychologists.

Eliot Aronson, The Social Animal , 2012

In this program, we will explore the fundamentals of social psychology, the field that bridges psychology and sociology, to examine how people think, feel, and behave because of the real (or imagined) presence of social others. This program starts with the premise that human beings are inherently social beings—informed, influenced, and constituted by the social world. Using this perspective as a launching-off point, we will investigate everyday life—from the mundane to the extraordinary—as it is lived and experienced by individuals involved in an intricate web of social relationships.  This social psychological view of the self explores the ways that individuals are enmeshed and embodied within the social context both in the moment and the long-term, ever constructing who we are, how we present ourselves to the world, and how we are perceived by others.

Through lecture, workshop, twice-weekly seminar, film, reading, writing, and research assignments, we will cover most of the fundamental topics within the field including conformity, emotions and sentiments, persuasion and propaganda, obedience to authority, social cognition, attitudes, aggression, attraction, and desire. We will also discuss epistemology (the branch of philosophy concerned with how we know what we know) as we learn about and practice social psychological research methods.

Advertised Schedule
9:30a-1p Mon/Tue/Wed/Thu (Jun. 24 - Jul. 25)
Online Learning
Enhanced Online Learning
Greener Store
Offered During

Program Revisions

Date Revision
April 15th, 2013 Class meeting time changed to begin at 9:30am.