HISTORY AND SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY - 2017/8

Module code: PSY3105

Module provider

Psychology

Module Leader

HEGARTY PJ Prof (Psychology)

Number of Credits

15

ECT Credits

7.5

Framework

FHEQ Level 6

JACs code

C880

Module cap (Maximum number of students)

N/A

Module Availability

Semester 2

Overall student workload

Assessment pattern

Assessment type Unit of assessment Weighting
Coursework AN 8 PAGE GENEALOGICAL ANALYSIS OF A SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGICAL CONCEPT 50%
Coursework A 6 PAGE RESEARCH PROPOSAL 50%

Alternative Assessment

N/A

Prerequisites / Co-requisites

BSc Psychology Levels 4 and 5 or equivalent.  

Module overview

The module introduces students to diverse perspectives on the tension between social psychologists’ search for generalizable laws of social behaviour and historians’ emphasis on the particular nature of social change.  The module will prepare students to engage the problems and possibilities created by this interdisciplinary tension by (1) developing an understanding of the history of the tension between history and social psychology, (2) conducting critical historical analysis of concepts in social psychology and (3) developing empirical projects to address historical change and continuity in the past and present.

Module aims

To equip students to engage with historical and social psychological scholarship, and to understand and appreciate the differences and overlaps between them

To develop students' capacity to research and to think critically about the historicity of the social psychological constructs that they employ and research

 To develop students' capacity to develop original research proposals about historical change and continuity

To develop students' capacity for independent research on social psychology and history

Learning outcomes

Attributes Developed
The intellectual history of social psychology K
Contemporary social psychological research on historical processes K
Critical thinking skills C
Skills of interdisciplinary thinking, argumentation, and analysis C
Research development skills C
Skills of interdisciplinary thinking, argumentation, and analysis P
Familiarity with contemporary information science resources. P
Communication skills T
Statistical and analytical skills T
Critical analysis of concepts and historical processes T

Attributes Developed

C - Cognitive/analytical

K - Subject knowledge

T - Transferable skills

P - Professional/Practical skills

Module content

The module will consist of 2-hour sessions divided between lecture and seminar formats which will focus on the following topics:


The Crisis in Social Psychology and the Problem of History.
Genealogy and Ethics.
Making People Measurable: The History of Attitudes and Personality Traits
Defining “Difference” and “Similarity”: The History of Statistical Significance Testing in Social Psychology.
Race and Racism: The History of Applying Social Psychology to Real Social Issues
The History of Being Well-Adjusted
The History of Culture in Social Psychology
Studying Lives in Changing Historical Times
Rechoning with the Past in Contemporary Intergroup Relations
The Empirical Study of Historical Memory
Using Records of Language use: Digital History and Social Behaviour 

Methods of Teaching / Learning

The learning and teaching strategy is designed to:


Develop an understanding of the differences in conceptual understanding of key concepts in social psychology over the historical life of the field.
Acquire knowledge about the history of social psychology
Enhance students’ capacity to engage in interdisciplinary debate
Develop verbal and written skills of analysis, critique and argumentation.
Sharpen students’ appreciation of the nature of social psychological research and problem formation.
Expand students’ capacity to use historical material in their research in regard to historical processes.


 

[1] The Crisis in Social Psychology and the Problem of History.

This lecture focuses on the recognition that historical change troubles the pursuit of universal generalizable laws of social behavior and its place in crises of confidence in social psychology’s status as a science. Studnets will discuss the value of generalizability in social psychological theory and research.

[2] Genealogy and Ethics

This lecture will introduce the practice of ‘genealogy’ that emphasises discontinuities in concepts. The reading will introduce students to Foucault’s notion of genealogy and the lecture will develop students’ understanding of the history of ethics and ethical practice in social psychological research.

[3] Making People Measurable: The History of Attitudes and Personality Traits

This lecture examines examples of genealogical analysis of personal attributes that became measurable, and became central to social psychological theorizing in the interwar period. Students will discuss the extent to which such genealogical research troubles the claim that attitudes and personality “exist” as properties of individuals, prior to their measurement.

[4] Defining “Difference” and “Similarity”: The History of Statistical Significance Testing in Social Psychology.

Drawing on contemporary debates about NHST (null hypothesis statistical testing) and  the importance of replication in social psychology, this lecture will examine the shifting role of statistics in stabilizing knowledge in the history of social psychology. Students will discuss the extent to which statistics can be described as „historical“ by virtue of changes in practice.

[5] Race and Racism: The History of Applying Social Psychology to Real Social Issues.

The use of social psychological evidence of prejudice to inform the de-segregation of American schooling in 1954 constituted a historic change in the importance granted to social psychological research by modern governments. This lecture examines the history of the uses of social psychological evidence to address race and racism. Students will discuss whether social psychological research on “prejudice” has been an adequate response to the complexity of racism in the 20th and 21st century.

[6] The History of Being Well-Adjusted

Using the example of sexual and gender minorities, this lecture will examine how changing social norms have affected what is considered to be well-adjusted, healthy, normal in social psychology. Students will debate the extent to which psychologists’ who assess well-being among stigmatized groups should strive to change history through their research.

[7] The History of Culture in Social Psychology

This lecture examines the historical legacy of a narrow research base in social psychology that is confined to Western cultures – typically the United States. Students will debate the extent to which social psychology requires change or continuity in its methodologies to escape the limits of past sampling strategies

[8] Studying Lives in Changing Historical Times

Most social psychologists are concerned with the interaction between personality variables and situational context. Fewer have examined how those interactions are nested within processes of historical change. Using the example of changing norms for paid employment for women in the late 20th century, this lecture will allow students to critically evaluate empirical studies that allow interactions between personality and context to be placed in history.

[9] Reckoning with the Past in Contemporary Intergroup Relations

Contemporary struggles for power often invoke the past as a way of articulating how things should be, naturally are, or traditionally have been. This lecture examines contemporary social psychological research on historical memory and its role in power struggles in the present. Students will critically evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of this social psychological understanding of history.

[10] The Empirical Study of Historical Memory

Critical historians emphasise the difference between the past and historical memory about the past. In this lecture we will consider contemporary research examining the extent to which past events are remembered, explained and narrated. Students will critically evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of this social psychological understanding of history.

 [11] Using Records of Language Use: Digital History and Social Behaviour

Increasing digitisation of newspapers, books and other elements of literary culture has made records of linguistic behaviour far more accessible to social psychologists, and made historical processes more visible. By examining the use of Google Books to assess historical change in language practices, this lecture will allow students to critically evaluate the use of bibliometric records to ask and to answer questions about historical change.

All lecture and workshop notes, the reading lists, and additional learning materials are uploaded on SurreyLearn.

 

Assessment Strategy

Assessment 1: Genealogical Analysis (8 pages, 50%, submission deadline in Week 8)

Students will write a genealogical essay that describes historical discontinuities in the definition and understanding of a social psychological concept. Students will examine three pivotal theoretical or empirical papers that have defined or employed the concept that have been published in different decades. Drawing on the critical examination of concepts in weeks 1-7 of the module, students will critical analyse the historical change in the concept and critically evaluate its relevance for the present.  

Learning Outcomes Assessed: 

Subject Knowledge


The intellectual history of social psychology


Cognitive/Analytical Skills


Critical thinking skills
Skills of interdisciplinary thinking, argumentation, and analysis


Transferable Skills


Communication skills
Critical analysis of concepts and historical processes


Professional/ Practical skills


Skills of interdisciplinary thinking, argumentation, and analysis
Familiarity with contemporary information science resources.


 

Assessment 2: Research proposal (6 pages, 50%, submission deadline in Week 12)

Students will propose an original feasible study that examines a process of historical change as its object. Students will draw on some of the materials and methods showcased in weeks 8-11 to propose an original study that asks an original research question. The research proposal will be supported by an account of relevant literature that evidences the originality of the proposal, a detailed account of the study’s methodology, and a description of the theoretical significance of its possible results. 

Learning Outcomes Assessed: 

Subject Knowledge


Contemporary social psychological research on historical processes


Cognitive/Analytical Skills


Critical thinking skills
Skills of interdisciplinary thinking, argumentation, and analysis
Research development skills


Transferable Skills


Communication skills
Statistical and analytical skills
Critical analysis of concepts and historical processes


Professional/ Practical skills


Skills of interdisciplinary thinking, argumentation, and analysis
Familiarity with contemporary information science resources.


Formative assessment

Formative assessment will be provided to students during each workshop through discussion focussed on students’ understanding of the essential reading.

Feedback

Students will be invited to submit 1-page proposals of both assignments for formative feedback 2-3 weeks in advance of the assignment deadline. 

Reading list

Reading list for HISTORY AND SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY : http://aspire.surrey.ac.uk/modules/psy3105

Please note that the information detailed within this record is accurate at the time of publishing and may be subject to change. This record contains information for the most up to date version of the programme / module for the 2017/8 academic year.