The Social Psychology of Social Change (Psy 400 - WWS 341) (undergraduate)
syllabus from Spring 2013
reading response guide from Spring 2013
This course explores how social psychological theory and research have been used in the interest of social change, and how social change has inspired theoretical or methodological developments in social psychology. To do so, it explores major ideas, theories, and findings of social psychology and their applied status. The course is organized around social psychological topics that have been applied to the study of social stasis and change, such as social norms, stigma, belief systems, identity, and situational cues. Research explored within each topic bears on issues including conflict, race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, authority and legitimacy, the environment, health, and economic scarcity and inequality.
Psychology for Policy Analysis and Implementation (WWS 502) (graduate)
The course covers how basic concepts from behavioral research in social psychology and judgment and decision making can shape policy formulation and implementation. Central themes include a detailed analysis of boundedly rational judgment and decision making, how a variety of motives can affect people’s choices, and the forces that cause changes in attitudes and behavior. Combined, these topics have important implications for policy design that affects individuals as well as the functioning of the organizations that determine those policies. Lecture and reading material is primarily drawn from basic psychological research. Students work with faculty and each other to identify the relevance of this material for policy and management through weekly discussion and five written application assignments. Students will continue to explore these issues more in-depth in three larger assignments they will conduct either on their own or in small groups.
Core Seminar: Psychological Aspects of Inequality (WWS 590D) For PhD students enrolled in Social Policy Joint Degree Program
This section of the Social Policy Joint Degree course focuses on psychological processes related to social and economic inequality. We start by reviewing theories and methods in psychological science, including models of decision-making that describe departures from the rational actor framework and that do not assume conscious intent. We then trade off weeks, examining sources of inequality (such as cognitive biases, social interactions, and political ideology) and effects of inequality (such as mental states, cooperative behavior, and health). I loosely categorize sources and effects of inequality within disciplinary subfields (such as cognitive, social, and political psychology), but class discussion will be directed at the many connections among these subfields. By the end of the class we will evaluate proposals to address various forms of inequality based on psychological models of human behavior.
Psychology of Gender (Psy 329 - GSS 329) (undergraduate)