Eötvös Loránd University

Faculty of Social Sciences

Department of Social Psychology

Academic year of 2006-2007, Spring Semester

Course title: Introduction to Social Psychology

Instructor: György Csepeli

Time and Place: Friday, 12.00-13.30 am, Room 6.85

Course Description:

Social psychologists have accumulated significant knowledge of belief and illusion, love and hate, conformity and independence. Considering that we have barely begun, we can now offer partial answers to such questions as: Will people act in other ways if we can first persuade them to adopt new attitudes? Do males and females differ? When are people most likely to help or hurt each other? Learning even tentative answers to such questions can stimulate our thinking about social behavior. Moreover, becoming sensitive to the forces at work upon as can help free us from susceptibility to manipulation and alienation. This course will present social psychology as an intellectual adventure leading into ourselves living in the Western world.

It aims to be reasonably comprehensive in its coverage of the disciplne, yet it wants to be stimulative. The course will provide a summary of important phenomena of everyday life, and of how such phenomena have been investigated and explained. It would cultivate student’s abilities to think like competent social psycholigists- to inquire, to analyse, to relate principles to theis real life experiences-

Requirements: Class attendance. Active participation. Oral exam.

Required reading:

Myers, D.G. 1987. Social Psychology. Second edition. McGraw Hilll Book Company

1-150, 183-361, 441-569

Suggested Reading:

McGarty, C., Haslam, S.A. (Eds.) 1997. The Message of Social Psychology. Perspectives on Mind in Society. London: Blackwell

Course Schedule


Social Psychology and the Other Disciplines

Although social psychologists are keenly interested in how people think about, influence, and relate to one another, thely are not the only people with these interests. Socioligists, psychologists, historians, even novelists and philosophers share these concerns.


Human Attraction

Who lkes whom, and why? Few of social psychology’s questions have been more paramount intrest. Four powerful influences upon liking will be discussed. Proximity, physical attractiveness, similarity of attitudes and romatic love.


Aggression: Hurting Others

Aggression manifests itself in two forms: hositle aggression and instrumental aggression. Both forms will be investigated including three broad theories of aggression (Lorenz, Freud, Bandura)


Altruism: Helping Others

Social exchange theory, social norms and natural selection principles will, be explored in order to explain altruistic behavior among human beings.


Communication and Persuasion

The role of the communicator, the message, the channel and the audience in the communication process will be discussed with special emphasize on persuasion and trust.



A role is a set of norms associated with a given social position. The expectation associated with a role sometimes conflict as do some roles as well. Consequently, intrarole and interrole conflicts can be distinguished.


Group Influence

Much of our lives we spend in groups, without knowing the influences which groups tend to exert upon us. Social facilitation, crowding, social loafing, deindividuatiuon, polarization and minority influence wuill be examined in the class.



Compliance and acceptance will be discussed as two major manifestations of conformity. Asch, Sherif and Milgram were the leading social psychologists doing research on conformity.


Behavior and Attitudes

Our attitudes will predict our behavior provixded that there is a connection between we think and feel and what we fo. Theories of self-presentation, dissonance and self-perception will be discussed.


Social Beliefs

How we process information in living social relations? Cognitive social psychology has turned the attention to the errors we typically make when processing information. Since we are generally unaware of how errors entered ourt thinking an examination of our illusory thinking can be revealing.



Cognitive products of discriminatory behavior such as stereotypes, prejudices have long poisoned our social exostence. Prejudice against various outgroups has grown.  Prejudice arises from an intricate interplay of social, historical, emotional and cognitive sources.