PB204      Half Unit
Social Psychology: Individuals, Groups and Culture

This information is for the 2022/23 session.

Teacher responsible

Prof Bradley Franks CON.3.07


This course is compulsory on the BSc in Psychological and Behavioural Science. This course is not available as an outside option nor to General Course students.

Course content

This course builds core knowledge of Social Psychology, studying the way our thinking and behaviour is influenced by the actual, imagined or implied presence of other people. It aims to understand how thinking and behaviour depends on the connections between individuals, the groups of which they are members and the cultural settings of both. These are all understood in evolutionary context. The lectures and classes will discuss a range of social psychology topics, such as social cognition, self and identity, prejudice, group membership, crowds and collective behaviour, and social exclusion. Each topic will highlight the relations between real world problems, social psychological theory and empirical data, and draw connections to behavioural science. This course will foster a critical evaluation of social psychological science and its relation to other areas of psychological and behavioural science.

By the end of the course you should:

  • Be able to present core theories and phenomena in social psychology.
  • Be able to demonstrate that social psychology should be understood as both a social science and a natural science.
  • Be able to draw connections between social psychology and real-world policy.


This course is delivered through a combination of lectures and classes totalling a minimum of 20 hours across Michaelmas Term. There is a reading week in Week 6 of Michaelmas Term.

Formative coursework

Students will complete a number of pieces of formative work to cement learning and prepare for summative assessments:

  • Group presentation on the topic of the week and its application to social issues.
  • Plan for policy proposal.
  • Practice executive summary.

Indicative reading

  • Gilovich, T., Keltner, D., Chen, S., & Nisbett, R.E. (2016) Social Psychology (4th ed.) New York, NY: Norton
  • Hewstone, M., Stroebe, W., Jonas, K. (2015).  An Introduction to Social Psychology (6th ed.). Chichester: BPS Wiley.
  • Hogg, M.A., & Vaughan, G.M. (2018). Social Psychology (8th ed.). Harlow: Pearson. 
  • Steg, L., Keizer, K.,  Buunk, A.& Rottengatter, T. (2017) Applied Social Psychology: Understanding and managing social problems. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 
  • Van Lange, P.A.M., Kruglanski, A. W., & Higgins, E.T., (Eds.) (2012) Handbook of theories of social psychology: Volume 1. London: Sage. 
  • Van Lange, P.A.M., Kruglanski, A. W., & Higgins, E.T., (Eds.) (2012) Handbook of theories of social psychology: Volume 2. London: Sage.


Essay (10%) in the ST.
Other (20%) and proposal (70%) in the MT.

Other (20%) in MT - You will produce a short, non-technical, Executive Summary of your proposal. This will be no more than 500 words.

Proposal (70%) in MT - Using theories and phenomena from the course you will propose a policy or project for an organisation (e.g. charity, for profit, non-profit) to address a social issue. 

Essay (10%) in ST - Students following the BSc in Psychological and Behavioural Science will be expected to submit one 3000 word ‘Integration Essay’ in their second year. The integration essay will count towards 10% of the final mark in PB200, PB201, PB202, PB204 and PB205.  The integration essay will discuss a topic investigated in one course and use its approach to integrate and debate approaches from two other courses taken in Year 2. For example, if you choose to base your integration essay in Social Psychology: Individuals, Groups and Culture (this course) you will use a topic from this course as the basis for debating the treatment of that topic by theories from two of Biological Psychology (PB200), Cognitive Psychology (PB201), Developmental Psychology (PB202) or Individual Differences and Why They Matter (PB205).

Key facts

Department: Psychological and Behavioural Science

Total students 2021/22: 33

Average class size 2021/22: 11

Capped 2021/22: No

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Course selection videos

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Personal development skills

  • Self-management
  • Problem solving
  • Application of information skills
  • Communication
  • Commercial awareness
  • Specialist skills