Social Psychology

by Robbie Sutton and Karen Douglas

Video overviews

The following videos provide you with a broad overview of the content of each part of your textbook. The authors outline the key topics covered and what is so important about them, and expand on fascinating examples from the book in order to kick-start your thinking.


Part One: Thinking And Feeling

This part contains Chapter 2: The social self: understanding ourselves which outlines what the self is, what it is for, and how it defines what we think, feel and do, Chapter 3: The social perceiver: understanding the social world which considers two key social cognitive processes – how people explain events in their lives (causal attribution), and how they form impressions of other people (person perception) as well as the nature (and ‘social nature’) of social cognition, and finally Chapter 4: The social judge: attitudes, emotions and behaviour which discusses the nature of attitudes, values and ideologies, considers how and why attitudes form and change, and highlights different types of attitudes.

The video below provides more detail on the topics covered in this part and also points to fascinating examples in the textbook on the narcissism epidemic (pp. 81-82) and narcissistic leaders (p.98) to help you make sense of key concepts.


Part Two: Relating

This part contains Chapter 5: Communication which provides an overview of the social psychology of communication, including an outline of the rules of language and its important social functions and of the study of nonverbal communication, conversation and discourse, Chapter 6: Persuasion which discusses some of the factors that determine when persuasion will be effective and the key models that explain it, and finally Chapter 7: Close relationships which outlines the factors that determine when people are attracted to each other, reviews some of the key social psychological theories of attraction and talks about love and romantic relationships.

The video below provides more detail on the topics covered in this part and also highlights a Blind Spot in Social Psychology feature (p.253) in which you are asked to think about the communicative logic of celebrity culture and to describe how you would adapt an existing methodology to assess how celebrities’ level of fame predicts how likely people are to talk about them.


Part Three: Belonging

This part contains Chapter 8: The social group which explains why groups are so important to people, how the norms or ‘rules’ of group behaviour develop and the negative consequences for people who are left out of groups, Chapter 9: Social influence which covers the effect that others have on our thoughts, feelings and behaviours and how minorities are able to influence majorities, Chapter 10: Group behaviour which examines how group members are influenced by each other through the processes of social facilitation, social loafing and deindividuation, and Chapter 11: Intergroup relations which reviews the bases of stereotypes, prejudice and discrimination.

The video below provides more detail on the topics covered in this part and highlights the Student Project feature in chapter 10 (p.470) in which a student talks about his research into the link between feeling like you belong in society and your belief in conspiracy theories.


Part Four: Applying

This part begins with Chapter 12: Improving intergroup relations which considers the major strategies to do so, Chapter 13: Understanding and controlling aggression which outlines the causes of aggression and discusses the means by which aggression may be reduced, and Chapter 14: Altruism and justice in which some of the positive aspects of social behaviour are examined, along with a consideration of what leads people to perform acts of kindness and generosity towards others.

The video below provides more detail on the topics covered in this part and points to a Critical Focus feature in chapter 12 (pp.528-532) in which some unanswered questions on and reservations about contact theory are discussed along with an example of how people of different races behave on beaches in South Africa.


Chapter 15: Social Psychology: An Overview

The final chapter in the textbook considers the wisdom of social psychology. In doing so, it outlines some overarching principles you can apply not only to your study of the discipline but to your future lives. It considers the major limitations of the discipline and the challenges confronting it, as well as future directions. The chapter ends by highlighting some of the many skills and benefits that students of social psychology take away with them and by discussing career options and opportunities for those studying the subject.

The video below provides more explanation of the chapter’s aims and highlights some of the key ‘takeaways’ from studying social psychology (pp.664-674), such as the need to study the subject scientifically and to remember that reality is a social construction.