Social Psychology

This course is about the psychology of everyday life–about the numerous and interesting ways in which our thoughts, emotions, and behaviours are affected by those around us and the situations we find ourselves in. You will learn about how and why we think about ourselves and other groups of people as we do, as well as about the scientific study of attitudes, persuasion, conformity, obedience, helping behaviour, group dynamics, aggression, prejudice, conflict and cooperation, and even genocide.

Meetings: Mondays from 1-4pm in Surrey Main 3830

Moodle site (for quizzes and grades): Click here

Office hours: Available virtually or face-to-face. Click here to book a meeting

How best to contact me: Email or Twitter

Required textbook:  Textbooks are needlessly overpriced and I won’t support a system that preys on economically fragile students. Instead of a commercial textbook we will use an open textbook that I co-authored. It is available here in a variety of digital formats (entirely free for you to use or print as needed), but if you prefer you can also order a professionally-bound print copy. Note that I don’t receive any royalties because the textbooks are printed and bound at cost and shipped to our campus for free (if you select the campus pickup option).

Course format: This course includes weekly interactive lectures in addition to weekly readings, assignments, and three exams. Note that the lectures cannot cover all of the material in the readings; rather, the goal of the lectures is to 1) highlight the more significant aspects of the readings, 2) discuss topics not well-covered by the readings in more detail, 3) focus on real-world applications of psychological theory, and 4) have a whole lot of fun as we engage in active learning.

Course Schedule

May 8: Orientation; The Self

May 15: Revisiting the Stanford Prison study (online)

May 22: University closed for Victoria Day

May 29: Social CognitionPerceiving Others

June 5: Attitudes & Persuasion

June 12: Exam 1; Influencing & Conforming

June 19: Helping & AltruismAggression

June 26: Working Groups: Performance and Decision Making

July 3: University closed in lieu of Canada Day; Stereotypes, Prejudice, & Discrimination (online)

July 10: Exam 2; Social Dilemmas

July 17: Conflict & CooperationAggression

July 24: Special topic: Social Psychology of Genocide

July 31: Exam 3


Exams x 3 (25%, 25%, 10%): 60%

There will be three non-cumulative exams over the semester. Each will include multiple-choice and short answer questions. The multiple-choice questions will predominantly assess your ability to apply concepts and theories from the preceding topics to a variety of real-world contexts.

Question writing assignment x 8 (2.5% each): 20%

During the semester, you will write (create) multiple-choice questions that assess comprehension of concepts and theories from the assigned textbook readings. You will be asked to write four questions each week during eight specific weeks. Guidelines on how to write these questions and the question-writing schedule will be posted to this site. Note that the best questions from each week may appear on your class exams!

Question evaluating assignment x 8 (2.5% each): 20%

In addition to writing questions, over the course of the semester you will also evaluate multiple-choice questions that have been written and submitted by your peers. Once again, guidelines on how to evaluate questions and the question-evaluation schedule will be posted to this site.

Course Policies


The good news? You are an adult. So if “life happens” or you are juggling too many things and need to miss a class, so be it. You don’t need my permission or even to inform me. The bad news? I will treat you as an adult. In other words, you are responsible for all material covered in class, whether or not you were present. If you do miss a class I recommend you try and obtain notes from at least two classmates.


I don’t mind you being a little late to class, but I do mind you being very late because it is disruptive to the learning environment. So if you realize that you will be more than 10 minutes late to class, please wait until the break to come in. Also, if you arrive late or must leave early please sit towards the rear of the classroom in order to minimize the disruption to the rest of the class.

Missed exams

I don’t reschedule exams except in the absence of supporting medical documentation. If you are ill and have to miss an exam, you or a caregiver must (1) notify me before the exam start time and then (2) provide valid medical documentation within one week. Unless both conditions are met, you will receive a zero. If you are granted a make-up exam, it may be of a different format than the regularly scheduled exam.

YouTube playlist

When possible, I post the video clips that I show in class to the YouTube playlist I have set up for this course.

Email communication

I usually reply to emails pretty quickly. Please type your course and section number in the subject line of any email you send to me (it helps me to identify you more quickly). I would appreciate your emails to me beginning with something closer to “Dear Dr. Jhangiani” than “Hey Prof.” Note that questions appropriate for email are those that can be answered with 1-2 sentence replies. Anything longer than this (e.g., an explanation of a concept) probably requires a face-to-face or virtual meeting.

University email

From time to time I may send emails to your university email address. If you do not intend to check this email address, please make sure that you forward your email to an address that you check regularly (otherwise you might miss an important announcement!).

Student rights and responsibilities

You are responsible for being aware of your rights and responsibilities, including those specified in the policy on student conduct (C.21). These are posted online at and-responsibilities. Plagiarism and cheating will not be tolerated. Any instances will result in penalties ranging from a grade of zero on the assignment to a failing grade in the course to expulsion from the university. You are responsible for understanding the university policies on cheating and plagiarism, available online at:

Wow, you read to the end. I am impressed.

Download a .pdf copy of this syllabus by clicking here.