This course focuses on attitudes and social behaviour. The aim is to provide students with a good understanding of the major theories and research trends on this topic. Specifically, the course will address two main themes. The first concerns the concepts of compliance and conformity. The principles and processes underlying a target’s susceptibility to outside influences will be considered in light of three goals fundamental to rewarding human functioning. Specifically, targets are motivated to form accurate perceptions of reality and react accordingly, to develop and preserve meaningful social relationships, and to maintain a favorable self-concept. Consistent with the current movement in compliance and conformity research, we will emphasizes the ways in which these goals interact with external forces to engender social influence processes that are subtle, indirect, and outside of awareness.The second concerns the pervasive effects of death awareness on affect, cognition, and behaviour. Professor Tom Pyszczynski from the University of Colorado (Colorado Springs), has developed with his colleagues Jeff Greenberg and Sheldon Solomon the Terror Management Theory, one of the most influential theories in Social Psychology. The course is research based, namely the contents of the course are mostly derived from empirical research in Social Psychology. Therefore, students will be asked to study not only theories, but also experimental and correlational studies that demonstrate the validity of these theories. By the end of the course students will develop intellectual skills, such as critical reflection, analysis, and interpretation of human behaviour, as well as practical skills, such as critical analysis of dysfunctional behaviors.
Readings include the volume:
Mucchi Faina A., Pacilli M.G., Pagliaro S. (2012) L’influenza sociale, Il Mulino, Bologna
And two social psychology articles, which can be downloaded from http://universe.univr.it.
1. Pyszczynski, T., Greenberg, J., & Solomon, S. (1999). A dual-process model of defense against conscious and unconscious death-related thoughts: An extension of Terror Management Theory. Psychological Review, 106(4), 835-845.
2. Goldenberg, J. L., & Arndt, J. (2008). The implications of death for health: A Terror Management Health Model for behavioral health promotion. Psychological Review, 115(4), 1032-1053.
>20 students : written examination
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