Core course in Social psychology:

Psychology 385P

Fall, 2001: Tuesday, Mezes 402, 2:00-5:00 PM

Instructor: Bill Swann, Benedict 402, 471-3859
Office hours by appointment

September 4 Introductory remarks and video, “The Power of the Situation”

September 11 Social Influence

Asch, S. E. (1955). Opinions and social pressure. Scientific American, 193, 31-35.

Darley, J. M., & Latane, B. (1968). Bystander intervention in emergencies: Diffusion of responsibility. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 8, 377-383.

Sherif, M. (1956). Experiments in group conflict. Scientific American, 195, 54-58.

September 18 Attribution theory

Ross, L. (1977). The intuitive psychologist and his shortcomings: Distortions in the attribution process. In L. Berkowitz (Ed.), Advances in experimental social psychology (Vol. 10, pp. 174-214). New York: Academic Press.

Ross, L., Amabile, T. M., & Steinmetz, J. L. (1977). Social roles, social control, and biases in social perception processes. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 35, 485-494.

Gilbert, D. T. (1995). Attribution and interpersonal perception. In A. Tesser (Ed.) Advanced Social Psychology. New York: McGraw Hill.

September 25 Social Cognition

Bruner, J. S. (1951). Personality dynamics and the process of perceiving. In R. R. Blake & G. V. Ramsey (Eds.), Perception: An approach to personality. New York: Ronald Press.

Fiske, S. T. (1995). Social Cognition. In A. Tesser (Ed.) Advanced Social Psychology. New York: McGraw Hill.

Swann, W. B., Jr. (1984). The quest for accuracy in person perception: A matter of pragmatics. Psychological Review, 91, 457-477.

October 2 Attitudes

LaPierre, R. T. (1934). Attitudes vs. Actions. Social Forces, 13, 230-237.

Olson, J. M & Zanna, M. P. (1993). Attitudes and attitude change. Annual Review of Psychology, 44, 117-154.

Greenwald, A. G., & Banaji, M. R. (1995). Implicit social cognition: Attitudes, self-esteem, and stereotypes. Psychological Review, 102, 4-27.

October 9 Stereotypes, prejudice, and discrimination

Allport, G. W. (1954). The nature of prejudice. Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley. Chapter 2: The normality of prejudgement; Chapter 10: The cognitive process.

Hamilton, D. L., Sherman, S. J., & Ruvolo, C. M. (1990). Stereotype-based expectancies: Effects on information processing and social behavior. Journal of Social Issues, 46, 35-60.

Macrae, C.N., Bodenhausen, G.V., Milne, A.B., & Jetten, J. (1994). Out of mind but back in sight: Stereotypes on the rebound. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 67, 808-817.

October 16 Stereotypes vs. the kernel of truth hypothesis

Allport, G. W. (1954). The nature of prejudice. Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley. Chapter 7: Racial and ethnic differences.

Oakes, P. J., Haslam, S. A. & Turner, J. C. Stereotyping and social reality. Oxford: Blackwell, Chapter 8, 186-21

D'Souza, D. (1995). The End of Racism: Principles of a multiracial society. New York: The Free Press. Chapter 7, 245-287.

October 23 Exam 1

October 30 Social communication

Freud, S. (1958). Remembering, Repeating and Working through. In J Strachey (Ed.), The Standard Edition of the Complete Works of Sigmund Freud, vol. 12. London: Hogarth (original work published in 1914).

Pennebaker, J.W. & Graybeal, A. (2001). Patterns of natural language use: Disclosure, personality, and social integration. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 10, 90-93.

Pennebaker, J.W. & King, L.A. (1999). Linguistic styles: Language use as an individual difference. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 77, 1296-1312..

November 6 The nature and acquisition of self-knowledge

Rosenberg, M. (1979). Conceiving the self. New York: Basic Books. Chapter 2.

Lepper, M. R., Greene, D., & Nisbett, R. E. (1973). Undermining children's intrinsic interest with extrinsic rewards: A test of the "overjustification" hypothesis. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 28, 129-137.

Nisbett, R.E., & Wilson, T.D. (1977). Telling more than we can know: Verbal reports on mental processes. Psychological Review, 84, 231-259.

November 13: Stereotypes and the self

Major, B., Spencer, S., Schmader, T., Wolfe, C., & Crocker, J. (1998). Coping with negative stereotypes about intellectual performance: The role of psychological disengagement. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 24, 34-50.

Steele, C. M., & Aronson, J. (1995). Stereotype threat and the intellectual test performance of African Americans. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 69, 797-811.

Fein, S., & Spencer, S. (1997). Prejudice as self-image maintenance: Affirming the self through derogating others. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 73, 31-44

November 20 Consequences of self-knowledge

Taylor, S. E., & Brown, J. D. (1988). Illusion and well being: Some social psychological contributions to a theory of mental health. Psychological Bulletin, 103, 193-210.

Swann, W. B. Jr., Kwan, V. S. Y., Polzer, J. T., Milton, L. P. (submitted). Capturing the elusive “value in diversity” effect: Individuation, self-verification and performance in small groups

Swann, W.B., Jr., Rentfrow, P. J., & Guinn, J. (in press). Self-verification: The search for coherence. In M. Leary and J. Tagney, Handbook of self and identity: Guilford, New York.

November 27 Relationships and attraction

Berscheid, E., Dion, K., Walster, E., & Walster, G. W. (1971). Physical attractiveness and dating choice: A test of the matching hypothesis. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 7, 173-180.

Langlois, J. H., Kalakanis, L. Rubenstein, A., Larson, A. Hallam, M. & Smoot, M. (1997). The myths of beauty: a meta-analytic and theoretical review. Unpublished manuscript.

Buss, D. & Schmitt, D. P. (1993). Sexual strategies theory: An evolutionary perspective on human mating. Psychological Review, 100, 204-232.

December 4 Emerging trends

Markus, H. R., & Kitayama, S. (1991). Culture and the self: Implications for cognition, emotion, and motivation. Psychological Review, 98, 224.

Gosling, S. D. (2001). From mice to men: What can we learn about personality from animal research? Psychological Bulletin, 127, 45-86.

Bargh, J. A. and Chartrand, T. L. (1999) “The Unbearable Automaticity of Being.” American Psychologist, 54, 462-479.

December 14, Friday 2-5 PM: Final Exam

Discussion Questions

Each class will consist of a lecture (approximately one hour) and a discussion period (approximately 1.5 hours). Each student will prepare for the discussion period by doing all the readings and preparing one or two discussion questions. The discussion questions are due each Monday at 4 PM. Please email your questions to me ( Failure to hand the questions in on time will lower your class participation grade by 1 grade point/day.

The discussion questions are so named because they should tend to promote discussion. Although there are no hard and fast rules for formulating questions, my experience has told me that the most successful questions are integrative (i.e., they ask the respondent to relate ideas in different readings to one another). These questions are extremely influential determinants of the success of the class and your class participation grade; please spend some time on them.

Each student will also be expected to prepare a series of brief, 2-5 minute, critiques of designated readings during the course of the semester. Please refrain from giving extensive summaries of the material—I am most interested in having you provide a few incisive remarks about the quality of the arguments offered in the reading.


Students will write two essay exams, a mid-term and final. The final exam will not be cumulative.

Grading scheme

Final grades will be determined in the following manner:

20% Discussion questions, summaries, and class participation

40% Exam 1

40% Exam 2

Note: The University of Texas at Austin provides upon request appropriate academic accommodations for qualified students with disabilities. For more information, contact the Office of the Dean of Students at 471-6259, 471-4641.

Readings are available at Paradigm on 24th street just west of Guadalupe. 472-7986