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Principles of Social Psychology

(8 reviews)

Pub Date: 2015

ISBN 13: 9781946135209

Publisher: University of Minnesota Libraries Publishing

Language: English

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Reviewed by Dylan Selterman, Lecturer, University of Maryland, College Park on 2/2/18

This is a very comprehensive textbook that includes not only the essential topics in social psychology (attitudes, persuasion, prosocial behavior, prejudice), but a good overview of the history of social psychology and various theoretical... read more


Reviewed by Deborah Deemer, Associate Professor, University of Northern Iowa on 2/16/17

Social psychology is a vast interdisciplinary enterprise making any attempt to provide a comprehensive overview of the research a daunting task. The author wisely identifies and takes on a small slice of the field, the interactionist perspective.... read more


Reviewed by Dan Graham, Assistant Professor, Colorado State University on 1/8/16

This text covers all of the topics covered in the other social psychology texts I have used. (Some topics, such as emotions and happiness, are not presented in their own unique section within this text, as they are in others, but these topics are... read more


Reviewed by Meara Habashi , Lecturer, University of Iowa on 1/8/16

I do believe that this text covers all the major areas of social psychology, and all the content that I would teach in a related course. I even think it goes a little beyond. To my knowledge, this is the first time I have seen a text that includes... read more


Reviewed by Chris Montoya , Tenured Senior Lecturer , Thompson Rivers University on 10/10/13

I compared "Introduction to Social Psychology" openstax college TM to three exemplar textbooks that I had previously taught from. Those texts were: Robert S. Feldman (2001), Social Psychology 3rd Edition, Prentice Hall New Jersey ISBN: 0 – 13 –... read more


Reviewed by Jennifer Walinga, Associate Professor and School Director, Royal Roads University on 10/10/13

Charles Stangor, author, frames the text around the two human motivations of self-concern and other-concern then uses this frame to focus discussions on a variety of individual and social dimensions including altruism, aggression, prejudice,... read more


Reviewed by Rajiv Jhangiani, Instructor, Capilano University on 10/10/13

On the whole, this text covers all of the topics one would expect to see within a social psychology textbook. However, the author has made some interesting choices that reflect his pedagogical goals and biases. For example, instead of including... read more


Reviewed by Dawn-Louise McLeod, Course Editor, Thompson Rivers University - Open Learning on 10/10/13

The textbook is very through regarding all areas and ideas of the subject. Further, the author presents a clear pedagogical framework: the text applies cognitive load theory, moving, as the writer tells us in the Preface that it will be,... read more


Table of Contents

Publisher Information
About the Author

Chapter 1: Introducing Social Psychology
1.1 Defining Social Psychology: History and Principles
1.2 Affect, Behavior, and Cognition
1.3 Conducting Research in Social Psychology
1.4 Chapter Summary

Chapter 2: Social Learning and Social Cognition
2.1 Sources of Social Knowledge
2.2 How We Use Our Expectations
2.3 Thinking Like a Social Psychologist About Social Cognition
2.4 Chapter Summary

Chapter 3: Social Affect
3.1 Moods and Emotions in Our Social Lives
3.2 Emotions, Stress, and Well-Being
3.3 How to Feel Better: Coping With Negative Emotions
3.4 Thinking Like a Social Psychologist About Social Affect
3.5 Chapter Summary

Chapter 4: The Self
4.1 The Cognitive Self: The Self-Concept
4.2 The Feeling Self: Self-Esteem
4.3 The Social Self: The Role of the Social Situation
4.4 Thinking Like a Social Psychologist About the Self
4.5 Chapter Summary

Chapter 5: Attitudes, Behavior, and Persuasion
5.1 Exploring Attitudes
5.2 Changing Attitudes Through Persuasion
5.3 Changing Attitudes by Changing Behavior
5.4 Thinking Like a Social Psychologist About Attitudes, Behavior, and Persuasion
5.5 Chapter Summary

Chapter 6: Perceiving Others
6.1 Initial Impression Formation
6.2 Inferring Dispositions Using Causal Attribution
6.3 Individual and Cultural Differences in Person Perception
6.4 Thinking Like a Social Psychologist About Person Perception
6.5 Chapter Summary

Chapter 7: Influencing and Conforming
7.1 The Many Varieties of Conformity
7.2 Obedience, Power, and Leadership
7.3 Person, Gender, and Cultural Differences in Conformity
7.4 Thinking Like a Social Psychologist About Conformity

About the Book

Have you ever had trouble teaching the various topics of social psychology and fitting them together to form a coherent field? Unnamed Author felt like he was presenting a laundry list of ideas, research studies, and phenomena, rather than an integrated set of principles and knowledge. He wondered how his students could be expected to remember and understand the many phenomena that social psychologists study? How could they tell what was most important? It was then that he realized a fresh approach to a Social Psychology textbook was needed to structure and integrate student learning; thus, Principles of Social Psychology was born. This textbook is based on a critical thinking approach, and its aim is to get students thinking actively and conceptually – with a greater focus on the forest than the trees. Yes, there are right and wrong answers, but the answers are not the only thing. What is perhaps even more important is how students get to the answers – the thinking process itself. To help students better grasp the big picture of social psychology, and to provide you with a theme that you can use to organize your lectures, Unnamed Author's text has a consistent pedagogy across the chapters. The presentation is organized around two underlying principles that are essential to social psychology:

Person and Situation (the classic treatment)
The ABCs of social psychology (Affect, Behavior, and Cognition)

The author believes these dimensions are fundamental, that they are extremely heuristic, and that they are what he hopes your students (and his) will learn and remember. You may find that this organization represents a more explicit representation of what you're already doing in your lectures. Although the pedagogy is consistent, it is not constraining. You can and will use these dimensions more in some lectures than in others, and you will find them more useful for some topics than others. But they will always work for you when you are ready for them.

Perhaps most important, a focus on these dimensions helps us bridge the gap between the textbook, the real-life experiences of our students, and our class presentations. It is almost impossible to can't cover every phenomenon in your lectures – you can naturally let the textbook fill in the details. The goal of Principles of Social Psychology is to allow you to rest assured that the text has provided your students with the foundations– the fundamental language of social psychology – from which you can build as you see fit. And when you turn to ask students to apply their learning to real life, you can know that they will be doing this as social psychologists do – using a basic underlying framework.

A note about the organization of this text: it moves systematically from lower to higher levels of analysis – a method that makes sense to students. On the other hand, Unnamed Author insists, the chapter order should not constrain you – choose a different order if you wish. Chapter 1 presents an introduction to social psychology and the research methods in social psychology, Chapter 2 presents the fundamental principles of social cognition, and Chapter 3 focuses on social affect. The remainder of the text is organized around three levels of analysis, moving systematically from the individual level (Chapters 4-6), to the level of social interaction (Chapters 7-10) to the group and cultural level (Chapters 11-13).

Rather than relying on “modules” or “appendices” of applied materials, this text integrates applied concepts into the text itself. This approach is consistent with the underlying theme that if students learn to think like social psychologists they will easily and naturally apply that knowledge to any and all applications. The following applications are woven throughout the text:

  • Business and Consumer behavior
  • Environment
  • Health
  • Law

It is the "thinking like a social psychologist" theme, structured approach and new pedagogy (like research foci and Social Psychology in the Public Interest), that will make teaching and learning Social Psychology from this textbook an even more exciting and rewarding endeavor.