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.

Territorial acknowledgement: As members of the KPU community, we work, study, and live on the unceded traditional and ancestral lands of the Kwantlen, Musqueam, Katzie, Semiahmoo, Tsawwassen, Qayqayt and Kwikwetlen peoples.

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

Office hours: Available virtually or face-to-face (Surrey Main 2881-2). Click here to book a meeting

How best to contact me: Email (rajiv at kpu dot ca)

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.

Moodle site (for grades): Click here

Tentative Course Schedule

Date Topic(s) Reading(s) Notes
May 8 Orientation; The self Syllabus; Chapter 3
May 15 Revisiting the Stanford Prison study Online lecture
May 22 University closed for Victoria day QWW
May 29 Social cognition; Perceiving others Chapter 2; Chapter 5
June 5 Attitudes & persuasion Chapter 4 QWW
June 12 Exam 1; Influencing & conforming Chapter 6 QWW
June 19 Helping & altruism Chapter 8 QWW
June 26 Working groups: Performance & decision-making Chapter 10 QWW
July 3 University closed in lieu of Canada Day; Stereotypes, prejudice, & discrimination Chapter 11 QWW
July 10 Exam 2; Social dilemmas QWW
July 17 Conflict & cooperation; Aggression Chapter 12; Chapter 9
July 24 Social psychology of genocide QWW
July 31 Exam 3
*QWW = Question writing week


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 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 write four questions each week during eight specific weeks of the semester (indicated by QWW above). Click here to access the guidelines for writing and submitting questions. Bonus: The best questions from each week may appear on your exams!

Click here for a brief video tutorial that shows you how you can identify your assigned sub-topics during each question writing week, as well as how you should submit your four questions.

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

In addition to writing questions, you will evaluate multiple-choice questions that have been written and submitted by two of your peers during the previous week. Click here to access the guidelines for evaluating questions and submitting feedback.

Click here for a brief video tutorial that shows you how you can identify your assigned peers during each question evaluating week, as well as how you should craft and submit your peer feedback.

Bonus credits (research & events): 2%

During the semester you will have the opportunity to earn up to 2 bonus percentage points by participating in research studies in the Psychology research pool (click here to register and sign up) or participating in specific events (details TBA). Alternatives to research participation (such as article summaries) are also available.

Bonus credit ( 1%

You may earn an additional bonus percentage point by using the social annotation tool to annotate your open textbook with links to relevant video clips that, for example, depict the psychological theories or concepts in popular culture. Details of this bonus credit option will be discussed in class.

Course Policies


The good news? You are an adult and I am not interested in monitoring your attendance. 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 to have people entering the class very late. So if you realize that you will be more than 10 minutes late to class, please wait until the mid-class break to come in. Also, if you arrive late or must leave early please try to 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 “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 will 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. These are posted online at (see the section for “Students”). These include the following:

ST2 – Student Academic Integrity (Policy and Procedures)

HR15 – Diversity and Inclusiveness (Policy and Procedures)

Important dates

May 14: Last day to add/drop without “W” (70% refund)

June 22: Last day to withdraw with a “W” grade


Click here to download a .pdf copy of this syllabus