PS415      Half Unit
The Social Psychology of Economic Life

This information is for the 2015/16 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Frederic Basso, QU.3.14


This course is available on the MSc in Media and Communications, MSc in Media and Communications (Data and Society), MSc in Media and Communications (Media and Communications Governance), MSc in Media and Communications (Research), MSc in Organisational and Social Psychology, MSc in Social Research Methods, MSc in Social and Cultural Psychology and MSc in Social and Public Communication. This course is available with permission as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit.

Students on degrees without a psychology or media component may only attend subject to numbers, their own degree regulations and at the discretion of the teacher responsible.

Course content

The course takes the position that social psychology is the key to understanding real-world economic life by taking in account cognitive, affective and social processes. Cognitive side of economic life (decision-making, bounded rationality, biases, heuristics, framing, mental accounts, animal spirits, emotions, irrationality, metaphors, stories). Social-psychological side of economic life (mind-reading, experimental economics, gift giving, dramaturgy, social roles, face, emotional labour/dissonance, social norms, nudging). Symbolic dimensions of economic life (disenchantment of the economic world, post-modern hyper realities, social exclusion, prosocial behaviour, poverty, stigma, resistance to persuasion (inertia, scepticism, reactance), resistance to consumption (avoidance, minimisation, boycott/active rebellion)).


10 hours of lectures and 10 hours of seminars in the LT.

Formative coursework

Students will be expected to produce 1 piece of coursework in the LT.

Indicative reading

Reading lists will be provided for each topic, the following are of general use; S E G Lea, R M Tarpy & P Webley, The Individual in the Economy, Cambridge University Press, 1987; A Lewis, P Webley & A Furnham, The New Economic Mind: The social psychology of economic behaviour, Harvester, 1995.


Essay (100%, 3000 words) in the ST.

Key facts

Department: Social Psychology

Total students 2014/15: 42

Average class size 2014/15: 14

Controlled access 2014/15: Yes

Lecture capture used 2014/15: Yes (LT)

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Personal development skills

  • Team working
  • Problem solving
  • Commercial awareness
  • Specialist skills