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PSYC315 Social Psychology

Social processes and their application outside the laboratory.

Social psychology examines the extent to which thought, emotion and behaviour are influenced by our perceived, imagined or direct interactions with the people and society that surround us. In this class, we will specifically focus on how these influences affect intergroup relations.

Paper title Social Psychology
Paper code PSYC315
Subject Psychology
EFTS 0.15
Points 18 points
Teaching period Semester 1 (On campus)
Domestic Tuition Fees (NZD) $1,141.35
International Tuition Fees Tuition Fees for international students are elsewhere on this website.

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PSYC 210 and PSYC 211 and PSYC 212
PEAC 508
Schedule C
Arts and Music, Science

With departmental approval, a student who has achieved a grade of at least B+ in each of PSYC 210 and 212 may take no more than one of PSYC 313-328 concurrently with PSYC 211.

With departmental approval, a student who has achieved a grade of at least B+ in PSYC 211 may take no more than one of PSYC 313-328 concurrently with PSYC 210 and 212.

Teaching staff
Lecturer: Associate Professor Jackie Hunter
Paper Structure

This paper will examine research and theory pertaining to group-based socio-psychological phenomena. Underscoring the importance of identity, motivation and social comparison processes in intergroup relations, the subject matter of the paper will focus on several distinct areas. Topics covered will include diverse theoretical approaches to:

  • The study of social psychology
  • Social influence
  • Cooperation
  • The development of prejudice
  • Attribution
  • Self-esteem
  • Intergroup relations
  • Violence

The paper will consist of lectures, tutorials and laboratory classes.

  • Week 1: The Reality of Groups
  • Week 2: Elementary Processes in Groups
  • Week 3: Social Influence in Groups
  • Week 4: Prejudice and Discontent
  • Week 5: The Development of Prejudice in Children
  • Week 6: Intergroup Conflict and Cooperation
  • Week 7: Social Identity and Intergroup Relations
  • Week 8: Social Motivation
  • Week 9: Social Attribution
  • Week 10: Prejudice from the recipient’s point of view
  • Week 11: Group Violence and Genocide
  • Week 12: Terror Management


  • Internal assessment is 50% of the final grade. There will be two sets of internal assessment: an essay and a laboratory report. Each assessment is worth 25% of the course mark.
  • The final exam is worth 50%.

Terms: A student who completes fewer than 50% of the assignments in a paper will not meet terms and may not sit the final examination in that paper.

Teaching Arrangements

One 1-hour lecture and one 2-hour lecture per week.


Required Reading:
Brown. R. & Pehrson S. (2020). Group processes: Dynamics within and between groups (3rd Ed). Oxford:Blackwell.

Recommended Reading:
Brown, R. (2010). Prejudice:Its social psychology. Oxford: Blackwell.

Course material is provided electronically via Blackboard.

Graduate Attributes Emphasised
Communication, Critical thinking.
View more information about Otago's graduate attributes.
Learning Outcomes

Students who successfully complete this paper will acquire:

  • Knowledge and understanding of the theories and methods used to study intergroup relations
  • The ability to apply the scientific method and challenge myths and stereotypes
  • The ability to communicate one's ideas orally and in writing

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Semester 1

Teaching method
This paper is taught On Campus
Learning management system


Stream Days Times Weeks
A1 Wednesday 14:00-15:50 9-14, 16-22
Thursday 13:00-13:50 9-14, 16-22