PS464 Half Unit
This information is for the 2017/18 session.
Prof Martin Bauer QUE.3.04
This is taught jointly with Dr Gordon Sammut, Lecturer at University of Malta, and Visiting Fellow to the Department of Psychological and Behavioural Science.
This course is available on the MSc in Health, Community and Development, MSc in Organisational and Social Psychology, MSc in Psychology of Economic Life, 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.
The course is primarily intended for MSc and PhD students in Social Psychology, in particular those who follow PS429 Social Psychology of Communication or equivalent core modules in Social Psychology. But, conditional to available space, it will be open to any interested MSc or Research Student from across the school.
This course explores the many modes and modalities of social influence which social psychology has studied and developed concepts for. Modalities of social influence cover processes by which social groups and actors normalise, assimilate and accommodate private and public opinion, attitudes, social stereotypes, institute normative expectations and ways of life, and achieve recognition and social change. We will discuss the social psychological traditions such as rhetoric, crowd behaviour, public opinion, leadership, norms, opinion and attitude formation, majority and minority influence, resistance and obedience to authority, dual-processes of persuasion, mass media effect models; fait-accompli, inter-subjectivity and inter-objectivity. This discussion will unfold under three parallel perspectives: 1) the theoretical and empirical grounding of influence models; 2) the socio-historical context of their formulation, many models came out of WWII and Cold War; and 3) in the mirror of current formulations which often deploy new language without necessarily treading new ground. The course will discuss current ideas and models in comparison with canonical paradigms in order to assess 'real progress' of what often seems 'old wine in new bottles'. The course builds a theoretical integration of modalities of influence in the 'cycle of normativity and common sense' including the normalisation, assimilation and accommodation of social diversity (Sammut & Bauer, 2011). The moral ambiguity of social influence treads a fine line between promoting wellbeing and social recognition, and manipulating beliefs, opinion and attitudes. This raises ethical issues involved in the study and exercise of social influence in the modern public spheres.
10 hours of lectures and 10 hours of seminars in the LT.
Teaching arrangement: the course will be taught as a combination of weekly lecture and discussion seminar. Participants are expected to prepare at least one seminar discussion.
Students will be expected to produce 1 essay and 1 presentation in the LT.
Participants will contribute to the reading seminars with a presentation, and they will be able to present an essay plan for formative feedback before the end of term.
Some key references:
- Billig M (1987) Arguing and thinking – a rhetorical approach to social psychology, Cambridge, CUP;
- Gigerenzer G (2007) Gut feelings, New York: Viking;
- Habermas J (1989) The structural transformation of the public sphere, Cambridge, Polity Press;
- Kahnemann D (2011) Thinking, fast and slow; London: Penguin Books.
- Paicheler G (1988) The psychology of social influence, Cambridge, CUP;
- Pratkanis AR (2007) The Science of Social Influence, NY, Psychology Press;
- Sloane T O (Ed) (2001) Encyclopedia of Rhetoric, Oxford, OUP [various entries: logos, pathos, ethos, argumentation, audience, classical rhetoric, persuasion, rhetorical situation];
- Sammut G and MW Bauer (2011) Social influence: modes and modalities, in: D W Hook, B Franks & M W Bauer (Eds) The Social Psychology of Communication, London, Palgrave, pp87-106.
Each session will have its own particular readings, separated in essential texts and additional readings. This will be revised on an annual basis. No one book covers the entire syllabus; students' will be expected to read widely in appropriate journals, and a list of references will be provided at the start of the course.
Essay (100%, 3000 words) in April.
Department: Psychological and Behavioural Science
Total students 2016/17: 25
Average class size 2016/17: 9
Controlled access 2016/17: Yes
Lecture capture used 2016/17: Yes (LT)
Value: Half Unit
Personal development skills
- Team working
- Problem solving
- Application of information skills