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Social Psychology: A College-Level, Online, Professor-Guided Course

Presented by Bo Bennett, PhD

This is a college-level course designed to introduce students to the field social psychology, helping students better understand why and how the way we feel, behave, and think is is largely a result of our social worlds.

Significantly Improve Your Relationships by Understanding Social Psychology

Better understand business and consumer behavior
Better understand health and behavior
Better understand law
Improve your relationships
Think like a social psychologist

Learn the Foundations of Social Psychology

Social psychology is the study of the social influences that cause us to think, feel and behave as we do. In this course, we will explore the factors that determine whether people conform to social norms versus deviate from them, help one another or behave violently toward one another, and make rational versus irrational decisions and judgments. We will also explore the ways in which we view ourselves and others, the social causes and consequences of stereotyping and prejudice, and the social underpinnings of attraction. As much as we might like to believe otherwise, we don’t know ourselves as well as we think we do and we do not always behave in a rational manner. Over the course of the semester, we will see that our attitudes do not always predict or determine how we will behave, and we will explore the ways in which we are influenced by the situation, by those around us, and by what we see in the media. We will also learn that we are prone to numerous errors, biases and over-generalizations in our judgments, and that our memories are more fallible than we might imagine. Lastly, we will learn to challenge ourselves to actively re-evaluate the sources of and influences on our own attitudes, behaviors and judgments as well as those we see in the world around us.

By the end of this course, students will be far wiser when it comes to human feelings, behavior, and thought.


This course was designed for with a high school diploma as an undergraduate-level course.

Personalized Feedback

Unlike most online courses unaffiliated with a university, each lesson in this course includes assignments that are manually evaluated by the instructor with detailed feedback provided (instructor evaluated course option only).

Learning Resources

For this course, text, audio, and video resources are used. All of the resources are compatible with virtually all modern web-browsers and mobile devices.

Instructor Availability

The instructor is available for students to discuss course-specific content via e-mail, online chat, Skype, and telephone for the first six months of the course.


There are no prerequisites for this course, but it is strongly suggested that students have a good understanding in the basics of psychology. My other course is strong recommended: https://www.introtopsych.com.

Required Resources

All required reading material is freely available online. The Online Course Text can be found at http://2012books.lardbucket.org/books/social-psychology-principles/index.html.

Optional Resources

The Psych Files Podcast: http://www.thepsychfiles.com.
( Ideally, you will subscribe to this podcast and download the episodes we use in the course, otherwise, you can access each episode on the website.)

Course Organization

This course begins with an introduction lesson, then the other lessons presented are in no particular order. You are free to skip around to the lessons that interest you most at the time and complete the lessons in any order.


This course is graded on a pass/redo scale. When lessons are reviewed, the student will either get a "pass" or a "redo". Students can redo assignments as many times as they like. All of the lessons are evaluated by both manual review of lesson-specific assignments and automatic grading of quizzes.

Student Evaluation

This course contains instructor-reviewed assignments, self-evaluated assignments, and multiple choice quizzes. There are no due dates or time limits on any of the assignments or quizzes.

Student Expectations

As a self-paced course, there are no time expectations. However, student support is limited to 6 months from the start of the course date. Students are expected to communicate with instructors and other students in a professional and respectful manner.

This Syllabus May Be Updated

The contents of this syllabus may change from time to time. All students will be notified by e-mail of any significant changes.

Lessons in this Course

Click on any lesson below to see the lesson details. If you are a student and logged in, or if the lesson is a sample lesson, you will be able to go to the lesson.

Lesson #1: Introducing Social Psychology

Lesson #1: Introducing Social Psychology

Social psychology is the scientific study of how we feel about, think about, and behave toward the people around us and how our feelings, thoughts, and behaviors are influenced by those people. In this lesson, we will cover an introducing social psychology.
Lesson #2: Social Learning and Social Cognition (sample lesson)

Lesson #2: Social Learning and Social Cognition

This chapter is about social cognition, the mental activity that relates to social activities and helps us meet the goal of understanding and predicting the behavior of ourselves and others. A fundamental part of social cognition involves learning—the relatively permanent change in knowledge that is acquired through experience. We will see that a good part of our learning and our judgments of other people operates out of our awareness—we are profoundly affected by things that we do not know are influencing us. But we also consciously think about and analyze our lives and our relationships with others, seeking out the best ways to fulfill our goals and aspirations.

Go To Lesson

Lesson #3: Social Affect

Lesson #3: Social Affect

Although a good part of our social behavior is determined by cognitive, thoughtful, and rational processes, another part—and particularly those behaviors that have substantial impact on our health and happiness—is the result of affect. Our everyday experiences arouse in us a wide range of moods and emotions, both positive and negative, and these feelings have profound consequences for our lives.
Lesson #4: The Self

Lesson #4: The Self

At the foundation of all human behavior is the self—our sense of personal identity and of who we are as individuals. Because an understanding of the self is so important, it has been studied for many years by psychologists and is still one of the most important and most researched topics in social psychology.
Lesson #5: Attitudes, Behavior, and Persuasion

Lesson #5: Attitudes, Behavior, and Persuasion

One of the most central concepts in social psychology is that of attitudes. In this lesson we will focus on attitude formation, attitude change, and the influence of attitudes on behavior. We will see that attitudes are an essential component of our lives because they play a vital role in helping us effectively interact with our environment.
Lesson #6: Perceiving Others

Lesson #6: Perceiving Others

In this chapter, we will consider how we make sense of other people, including the initial and often intuitive impressions that we rely on so heavily, the all-important nonverbal cues, and the more telling personality traits. Then we will turn to the process of causal attribution, with the goal of understanding how we infer what other people are really like by observing their behaviors. Finally, we will consider how accurate we are in making our determinations about others and will examine the differences among people in their person-perception styles. When we are finished, you will have a better idea of how we make our judgments about other people, and this insight may enable you to perceive others more accurately.
Lesson #7: Influencing and Conforming

Lesson #7: Influencing and Conforming

This chapter focuses on the social influence that leads individuals, sometimes against their will, to adopt and adhere to the opinions and behaviors of others. The outcome of this social influence, known as conformity, refers to the change in beliefs, opinions, and behaviors as a result of our perceptions about what other people believe or do.
Lesson #8: Liking and Loving

Lesson #8: Liking and Loving

In this chapter, we will consider the benefits that come from our close relationships, the principles that lead people to become attracted to others, and the variables that help create stable, healthy, and happy close relationships. In addition to being vitally important to us in an evolutionary sense (effective child rearing requires committed and effective parents), close relationships bring us health and happiness when we are able to create successful ones; they may produce a profound sense of loneliness and sadness when we are not.
Lesson #9: Helping and Altruism

Lesson #9: Helping and Altruism

Because we spend so much time in the presence of others, we have the opportunity to react to them in either positive or negative ways. To some people we are friendly, caring, and helpful; to others we are wary, unfriendly, or even mean and aggressive. The goal of this chapter is to understand why people engage in prosocial behaviors.
Lesson #10: Aggression

Lesson #10: Aggression

Social psychologists define aggression as behavior that is intended to harm another individual who does not wish to be harmed. In this chapter we will study the causes of aggression and make some suggestions for how we might be able to reduce it. Most importantly, we will see that—consistent with our analysis of human behavior more generally—aggression is not so much about the goal of harming others as it is about the goal of protecting the self.
Lesson #11: Working Groups: Performance and Decision Making

Lesson #11: Working Groups: Performance and Decision Making

In this chapter, we will first consider how social psychologists define social groups. We will see that effective group decision making is important in business, education, politics, law, and many other areas. We will close the chapter with a set of recommendations for improving group performance.
Lesson #12: Stereotypes, Prejudice, and Discrimination

Lesson #12: Stereotypes, Prejudice, and Discrimination

In this chapter, we will study the processes by which we develop, maintain, and make use of our stereotypes and our prejudices. We will consider the negative outcomes of those beliefs on the targets of our perceptions, and we will consider ways that we might be able to change those beliefs, or at least help us stop acting upon them.
Lesson #13: Competition and Cooperation in Our Social Worlds

Lesson #13: Competition and Cooperation in Our Social Worlds

In the last section of this chapter, we will consider the ways that we can work to increase cooperation and to reduce competition, discussing some of the contributions that social psychologists have made to help solve some important social dilemmas.
Lesson #14: Course Summary and Final Assignment

Lesson #14: Course Summary and Final Assignment

In this lesson, we review some of the important points of this course. Additional resources are provided for learning more about psychology, and the final paper is discussed.

About Your Instructor

Bo Bennett, PhD. Bo Bennett's personal motto is "Expose an irrational belief, keep a person rational for a day. Expose irrational thinking, keep a person rational for a lifetime." Much of his work is in the area of education—not teaching people what to think, but how to think. His projects include his books, The Concept: A Critical and Honest Look at God and Religion, Logically Fallacious, the most comprehensive collection of logical fallacies, and Year To Success, a full year course in success. Bo has a podcast/blog called "The Dr. Bo Show" at http://www.TheDrBoShow.com where he takes a critical thinking-, reason-, and science-based approach to issues that matter with the goal of educating and entertaining.

Bo holds a PhD in social psychology, with a master's degree in general psychology and bachelor's degree in marketing. His complete bio along with current projects can be found at BoBennett.com.

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Course Information

Self-Evaluated Course Option:

  • 14 lessons
  • 16 videos
  • 229 narrated slides
  • 185 discussion questions
  • 271 terms and definitions
  • 15 self-evaluated assignments
  • 70 multiple-choice quiz questions
  • upon successful completion of this course, students will receive an authenticated certificate of completion

A total of approximately 49 hours of student learning.

Limited Time Offer: $14.99

Instructor-Evaluated Course Option:

Everything in the self-evaluated course option, PLUS...

  • 14 instructor-evaluated assignments
  • direct access to the instructor for one-on-one, personalized learning
  • upon successful completion of this course, students will also receive a more personalized letter of achievement that can be added to any resume or CV.

A total of approximately 79 hours 45 minutes of student learning.

Why Take the Instructor-Evaluated Course?
Let me be your college professor for this course. I will give you assignments that really help you to learn the material, then I will evaluate your assignments and give you feedback.

- Bo Bennett, PhD, Instructor

Limited Time Offer: $299.00

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