PSY 252 covers the scientific study of the way ordinary people think about, feel, and behave in social situations. It involves understanding how people influence, and are influenced by, others around them. In the 1st half of the course, we examine how people think and feel about others and about themselves; then we explore how they induce others to conform, to comply, to obey, and occasionally to see the world differently. In the 2nd half of the course, we examine how groups influence individuals and how individuals influence groups, how members of different groups relate to one another, and the seeds of attraction, altruism, and aggression.
Adversity is a powerful force in the human experience. From scarcity, to disasters, to marginalization, experiences of adversity play a pivotal role in how people think, feel, and act. This seminar will explore the psychological consequences of adversity, including its effects on beliefs, attitudes, decision-making, morality, self and identity, health and well-being, close relationships, and communities. We will consider not only the deleterious effects of adversity, but also how it can foster resilience, strengthen ties, and spark creativity. The course will balance psychological theories and research with personal and historic narratives.