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Social Psychology I

Course CodeBPS205
Fee CodeS3
Duration (approx)100 hours
QualificationStatement of Attainment

Study Social Psychology and find out more about how people think and behave in social settings and why!

  • A great course covering fascinating topics such as stereotypes, prejudice, discrimination, how we form attitudes, attraction, aggression, helping behaviour and much...
  • This course will interest you and increase your knowledge of social psychology.
  • 100 hour self paced course
  • Study with highly experienced, friendly tutors


Lesson Structure

There are 9 lessons in this course:

  1. Social Cognition
    • Introduction to social psychology
    • What is social psychology
    • Impression formation
    • Behaviour
    • Appearance
    • Expectations
    • The primary affect
    • Attribution
    • Scemas and social perception
    • Central traits
    • Stereotypes
    • Social inference and decision making
    • Case Study: social psychology and law
  2. The Self
    • Introduction
    • Self concept
    • Present and ideal selves
    • Cognitive dissonance
    • Experiments into cognitive dissonance
    • Reducing cognitive dissonance
    • Self efficacy
    • How does the self develop
    • Self and social feedback
    • Socialisation
    • Types of socialisation
    • How are we socialised
    • Attribution and Perception of Others
    • Attribution theory
    • Attribution and Concensus, consistency, distinctiveness
    • Attribution errors
    • Culture and attributional style
    • Criticisms of the theory
    • Practical uses of attribution theory
  3. Attitudes and Attitude Change
    • Defining attitude
    • Characteristics of attitudes
    • ABC of attitudes
    • Affective elements of attitude
    • Behavioural elements of attitude
    • Self attribution
    • Specificity
    • Constraints
    • Cognitive elements of attitude
    • Attitude formation
    • Factors affecting attitude change
  4. Prejudice, Discrimination and Stereotypes
    • Introduction
    • What is prejudice
    • Functions of prejudice
    • How we measure prejudice
    • In groups and out groups
    • Reducing prejudice
    • Stereotypes
    • Functions of stereotypes
    • Dangers of using stereotypes
    • Changing stereotypes
    • Discrimination
  5. Interpersonal Attraction
    • Introduction
    • Theories of attraction
    • The social exchange theory
    • The reinforcement affect model
    • Factors affecting interpersonal attraction
    • Physical appearance
    • Biological underpinnings
    • Similarity
    • Familiarity
    • Positive regard
    • Mis attribution of emotions
    • Proximity
    • Attachment styles
    • Cultural similarities
    • An evolutionary perspective
    • The cost of sex
  6. Helping Behaviour
    • Bystander intervention
    • Diffusion of responsibility
    • Social facilitation
    • Compliance
    • Obedience
    • Conformity
    • Why do people conform
    • Factors affecting conformity
    • Desire for affiliation
    • Reinforcement and punishment
    • Obedience to authority
    • Why does social influence work
  7. Aggression
    • Introduction
    • Types of aggression
    • Theoretical approaches to aggression: Freudian, Drive theories, Social learning theories, Biological and evolutionary theories
    • Aggrssion against outsiders
    • Aggression in a species
    • Aggression in humans
    • Environmental influences on human aggression
    • Imitation or modelling
    • Familiarity
    • Reinforcement
    • Aggression and Culture
    • Other factors
  8. Groups
    • What is a group
    • Kinds of groups; recreational, social, work, family, sportingFeatures of groups
    • Factors relating to groups: productivity, social loafing, insufficient coordination, social facilitation
    • Group decision making: group think, group polarisation, minority influence
    • Deindividualisation
  9. Cultural Influences
    • Defining culture
    • Culture and social exchange
    • Individualistc vs reciprocal societies
    • Cross cultural psychology vs cultural psychology
    • Culture bound syndromes
    • Trance and possession disorder

Each lesson culminates in an assignment which is submitted to the school, marked by the school's tutors and returned to you with any relevant suggestions, comments, and if necessary, extra reading.

What You Will Do

  • Define ‘social cognition’;
  • Determine the possible impression a jury might have of defendants and the social basis of those impressions;
  • List the three general biases that may affect the jury’s attributions and explanations and briefly describe each one;
  • Different types of schema;
  • Explain why people are motivated to justify their own actions belief and feelings;
  • Explain ‘cognitive dissonance’;
  • Explain how can the desire for self-consistency influences our self-perception;
  • Determine the purposes served by dissonance -reducing behaviour;
  • Identify factors that form self-concept;
  • Describe attribution theory;
  • Describe how discounting principles relate to our perception of others;
  • Identify the fundamental attribution error;
  • Discuss how we use attribution to protect our self esteem;
  • Discuss how consistency, consensus and distinctiveness help to form our explanations of another person’s behaviour;
  • Explain how attitudes develop;
  • Discuss how attitudes affect behaviour;
  • Explain what makes people prejudiced;
  • Explain how physicality influences our behaviour;
  • Discuss the principle of similarity;
  • Explain how familiarity and proximity influence the development of friendship;
  • Explain why people conform;
  • Discuss Millgram’s experiment on obedience;
  • Explain why is a lone person more likely to help than a person in a group;
  • Discuss how conformity, compliance, obedience and diffusion of responsibility influence helping behaviour;
  • List the causes of aggression;
  • Explain the concept of group polarization;
  • Discuss how group decision-making influences conformity;
  • Examine the influence of culture and society on each other.

Learn Why and How Society is so Important to our Well Being

Human beings are very sociable. We like friends around us. 

Social networking has also enabled us to increase our social interactions. Evolutionary processes favoured the development of complex social behaviours in humans.  The human brain is much larger than other primates and mammals of a similar size. In particular, our neo-cortex is larger than other mammals and primates. The neo-cortex is the area of the brain involved in higher social cognition, such as language, emotional regulation, behavioural regulation and conscious thought, and empathy.  So in a way, we are biologically hardwired to interact with others.  We do not know how the social brain of humans evolved in this way as yet, but our social brain has obvious benefits as it enables us to engage in complex social interactions and to maintain relationships with others.  There are obvious benefits to belonging to groups such as protection and support. 

Emotionally and physically we benefit from belonging to groups as long as they are positive situations.

Social Support

The social support offered in relationships is sometimes classified as instrumental support and emotional support. Instrumental support refers to practical help. For example, let's say a close friend of a wife has died, the husband may offer to look after the couple's children whilst the wife attends the funeral. This would be instrumental support. If he offered to accompany her to the funeral as a shoulder to cry on and talked about ways to help her cope with the loss then he would be providing emotional support. These acts of support have been found to help improve an individual's overall sense of well-being both in the short and long term.

In particular, social support has been demonstrated to correlate with improvements in physical and mental health because friends and partners who care will encourage those in their social networks to take better care of themselves. Furthermore, having strong and supportive social networks is a good antidote to stress, and excess stress is linked to a range of health problems. There are a number of models which promote strong social support networks as being good buffers against illness. However, not all evidence supports buffer models of social support and well-being. In fact, some research has found a positive correlation between mental health problems and social support i.e. too much support may encourage problems - perhaps through reliance on others.

Emotional Benefits

Many of the extreme highs and lows we experience throughout life are associated with relationships. Being in the company of friends and family makes life enjoyable and having social relationships would appear to be positively correlated with happiness. In contrast, having few or poorer relationships can have an adverse effect on our psychological well-being. People with few friends are more at risk of experiencing depression and feelings of loneliness.  

  • There is no escaping the fact that we need other people in our lives. This course will help raise your understanding and awareness of how.


Do you want to learn more about social psychology in the comfort of your own home?

 Do you want to find out more about the world around us?

Are you interested in society and why things happen the way they do?

Then find out more with this 100 hour, self paced psychology course.

Why delay? Enrol today!

Enrolling is easy - just go to the "It's easy to enrol" box at the top of this page - this course is available to start at any time.

If you have any questions you can contact us now, by

Phone (UK) 01384 44272, (International) +44 (0) 1384 442752, or

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Meet some of our academics

Lyn QuirkM.Prof.Ed.; Adv.Dip.Compl.Med (Naturopathy); Adv.Dip.Sports Therapy Over 30 years as Health Club Manager, Fitness Professional, Teacher, Coach and Business manager in health, fitness and leisure industries. As business owner and former department head for TAFE, she brings a wealth of skills and experience to her role as a tutor for ACS.
Tracey JonesWidely published author, Psychologist, Manager and Lecturer. Over 10 years working with ACS and 25 years of industry experience. Qualifications include: B.Sc. (Hons) (Psychology), M.Soc.Sc (social work), Dip. SW (social work), PGCE (Education), PGD (Learning Disability Studies).
Gavin ColePsychologist, Educator, Author, Psychotherapist. B.Sc., Psych.Cert., M. Psych. Cert.Garden Design, MACA Gavin is both a highly experienced Psychologist and tutor. Gavin has over 25 years experience in the Psychology industry, and has been working with ACS since 2001. He has worked in both Australia and England, and has been involved in writing numerous books and courses in Psychology and Counselling

Check out our eBooks

Counselling HandbookFull of interesting case studies, this ebook is a wonderful introduction to the complex world of the human psyche. Chapters include: Using Counselling, Seeing Behind the Mask, Emotions and Attitudes, Communicating Better, Theory vs Practice, Diffusing Difficult Situations and Golden Rules for Counselors. 43 pages
How Children ThinkLearn more about child psychology and how children think. Have you ever tried to make a child clean up their mess, stop throwing mud or stop drawing on the walls? Then you will know that children think differently to adults. This book is for parents or students of psychology. Seven chapters cover: developmental stages, the influence of nature and nurture, creating balance, changing behaviours, problems and solutions, and staying up to date. 73 pages 40 colour photos
Psychological ProfilingPsychological profiling is used to assess anyone from potential new staff and school children to serial killers. It helps you to determine someone’s personality, neuroses, mental health and career suitability. This book provides an excellent overview of psychological profiling techniques and pitfalls.
Psychology DictionaryWritten by professional psychologists, this “dictionary of psychology” contains descriptions for common terms used in Psychology. There are many terms used in the area of Psychology alone, that are explained throughout this text. Other terms have been taken from everyday language and used in a different context to describe psychological phenomena. 66 pages