Social Psychology - Course Map and Recommended Resources



How to Use this Guide

This guide provides information and resources on introducing the topic of Social Psychology. All resources are Open Access and can be downloaded or added to a Course Management System (LMS) via the hyperlinks


Social Psychology can be one of the more interesting sections covered in the Introduction to Psychology Class.  In Introduction to Psychology, Social Psychology falls within Pillar 4: Social and Personality, which also includes Social, Personality, Emotion, Multicultural, Gender, and Motivation.  Social and Personality are both required topics under the Ohio TAG, so instructors should plan to cover this along with personality, and other topics in this Pillar if time permits. There are several areas that can be covered in this section so faculty will have to be selective in how are what they cover in the Intro course.  

Instructors might note that the full-length Introduction to Social Psychology course is also part of the Ohio TAG Module; looking at the objectives for the full-length course might also help you determine your focus and emphasis in terms of what to cover in this unit.

Learning Objectives

Social Psychology 

  1. Define social psychology
  2. Define culture
  3. Social Cognition
  4. Explain attribution and fundamental attribution error
  5. Discuss the self-fulfilling prophecy
  6. Understand social identity theory and sources of group conflict
  7. Understand stereotype and stereotype threat
  8. Define implicit bias and understand the Implicit Association Test (IAT)
  9. Discuss prejudice and discrimination

Attitudes and Persuasion

  1. Understand attitudes
  2. Discuss cognitive dissonance
  3. Recognize and apply  principles of persuasion

Social Influence

  1. Define conformity and obedience
  2. Recognize historic social psychology experiments
    1. Aschch’s conformity experiment
    2. Milgram’s obedience study
    3. Stanford Prison Experiment


  1. Understand deindividuation
  2. Recognize and differentiate social facilitation and social loafing
  3. Recognize and apply principles of group decision making (e.g., group polarization, groupthink)
  4. Understand the bystander effect
  5. Distinguish altruism and egoism in prosocial behavior
  6. Understand sources of aggression

Cross Cutting Themes

Social and Cultural Diversity

  1. Discuss differences between collectivist and individualistic cultures
  2. Discuss some real life impacts of cultural differences in attribution given that research suggests that Western cultures lean more toward dispositional attributions and Eastern cultures lean more toward situational attributions
  3. Explain the concepts of prejudice, stereotypes, and discrimination
  4. How do gender roles differ across cultures


  1. Discuss the ethical considerations when doing research that involves deception (what are some of the costs and rewards)
  2. Discuss some of the ethical considerations of conformity and obedience (appropriate and inappropriate situations of both)
  3. What are some of the ethical considerations of choosing to intervene in a helping situation

Variations in Human Functioning

  1. Discuss what research tells us about how a few people can influence larger groups (e.g., minority influence).  Provide examples
  2. Give examples of behaviors that are acceptable in one culture but may be viewed as symptomatic of a psychological disorder in another.
  3. Discuss how the self-fulfilling prophecy could be beneficial in everyday life


  1. Discuss what research tells us about how a few people can influence larger groups.  Provide examples
  2. What are the dangers of “groupthink” in a business environment?  What are the dangers of “groupthink” in doing a group project with students for another class.  How can group think be avoided
  3. Have students apply the lessons learned in the classic social psychology research to their other classes, jobs, hobbies, and relationships with friends and family
  4. Discuss how cognitive biases can be applied to Fake News
  5. Discuss implicit bias in the setting of law, health care and the environment

Recommended Resources

An Introduction to the Science of Social Psychology

This is an excellent summary of the field of social psychology.  It is a chapter from the NOBA project called An Introduction to the Science of Social Psychology by Robert Biswas-Diener   

Social Psychology

This is the next best source for the section on social psychology.  This is the chapter from the OpenStax OER. It is not as detailed as the previous source, but will work well for an introduction course. 

Principles of Social Psychology

Another alternative, although not as good as the two previous, is the introduction chapter in the Principles of Social Psychology open text published through the University of Minnesota Libraries   

Supplemental Resources

Social Thinking (Video)

Crash Course video on Social Thinking (it is just over 10 minutes long)   

Social Influence (Video)

Crash Course video on Social Influence (it is a 10 minute video)   

Predjudice & Discrimination (Video)

Crash Course video on Prejudice & Discrimination (It is just under 10 minutes long)

Aggression V. Altruism (Video)

Crash Course video on Aggression and Altruism (It is just under 11 minutes long)   

A Class Divided (Video)

This is the video from PBS entitled “A Class Divided”, which discusses the Jane Elliot experience of separating Brown eye and Blue eye children into groups to teach prejudice.   

Stanford Prison Experiment

The site kept by Phil Zimbardo on the Stanford Prison experience, including updated information on the criticisms of the study   

Asch Conformity Experiment (Video)

Classic video of the Ashch conformity study with an introduction by Phil Zimbardo   

The Bystander Effect (Video)

Bystander effect is discussed with a staged helping situation.   

Milgram Obedience Study (Video)

Classic video from the Milgram obedience study   

Social Psychology Questions

The test prep site for the Khan Academy section on psychology for an AP psychology course.  There are several resources in here for several topics in social psychology.

Social Psychology Studies Human Interactions

Information from the American Psychological Association on Psychology in Action—How social psychology research can be related to real world situations.   

Social Psychology

A nice short history of social psychology   

Why we love repetition in music (Video)

A TEDED video with questions and review to demonstrate the mere-exposure effect.   

The Costs of Racial “Color Blindness”

This is an article and video from Harvard Business Review talking about ignoring racial differences and the perception of racism   

Shopping While Black - Social Experiment (Video)

This is an episode of the TV series “What Would You Do?”.  This one shows a staged racial discrimination and the extent to which others might intervene.  This could be used for diversity or for the diffusion of responsibility by bystanders.

Social Conformity - Brain Games (Video)

Brain Game video on conformity    

Don't get Hangry - Feed Your Brain (Video)

Brad Bushman TED talk on the psychology of anger

Class Activities

Social Psychology Teaching Resources

This is from the Social Psychology Network on resources for teaching social psychology.  This is a resource for faculty who are teaching social psychology, but Introduction faculty could adapt this for their student needs.     

Resources for the Teaching of Social Psychology

This is a great resource for faculty who teach social psychology, but some of the things can be adapted for the Introduction course.

Teach Psych - Social Psychology

Two teaching activities from the Society for the Teaching of Psychology on Prejudice.    

The Police Officer's Dilemma 

This is an interactive site that allows students to test if implicit bias happens in a shoot-don’t shoot scenario. Research suggests that people are more likely to shoot an African-American person holding an object that is not a weapon than a White person holding an object that is not a weapon. This demonstration could give teachers the opportunity to discuss implicit bias with students.   

Harvard's Implicit Bias Test

Harvard’s Implicit Association Test. Students could take the test with various groups to explore their hidden biases.   

Robbers in the Classroom

Ask students to imagine they can be invisible for a day, and they will have no consequences for anything they do in that day. Give them a few minutes to anonymously write down (or submit electronically) what they would do. Notice patterns of antisocial/non-normative behaviors once the typical constraints on behavior are loosened. Source: Dodd, D. K. (1985). Robbers in the classroom: A deindividuation exercise. Teaching of Psychology, 12, 89–91.

Teaching Contentious Classics

Carol A. Tavris offers advice for teaching about Milgram and other "contentious classic" studies in this APS article     

Outsmarting Human Minds

Interactive website on activities related to social psychology