PSYCH 311 : Advanced Topics in Social Psychology


2022 Semester One (1223) (15 POINTS)

Course Prescription

Focuses on a number of key topics in social psychology. Modules examine interpersonal influence and close relationships, collective behaviour, prejudice and social issues, and social identity and well-being.

Course Overview

The overarching theme of this course is to use social psychology to identify how people can live well together. There will be four modules that examine how people think, feel and behave within social contexts, including within (1) close relationships with family, friends and romantic partners, and (2) intergroup interactions involving strangers, work colleagues and close others who belong to different social groups. By learning and critically evaluating the major theories and research methods in targeted areas of social psychology, the course aims to provide the skills needed to apply social psychology to any relevant area of inquiry or social issue and to improve people's own social experiences. 

Course Requirements

Prerequisite: 45 points at Stage II in Psychology and 15 points from STATS 100-125

Capabilities Developed in this Course

Capability 1: Disciplinary Knowledge and Practice
Capability 2: Critical Thinking
Capability 3: Solution Seeking
Capability 4: Communication and Engagement
Capability 5: Independence and Integrity
Capability 6: Social and Environmental Responsibilities
Graduate Profile: Bachelor of Science

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this course, students will be able to:
  1. Explain and critically evaluate the major theories and research findings in the covered areas of social psychology: close relationships, social support, communication and conflict management, attachment, stereotype processes and factors contributing to social change, and ambivalent sexism. (Capability 1 and 2)
  2. Learn and apply different research methods used in social psychology to test and evaluate an important interpersonal or social process. (Capability 1, 2 and 3)
  3. Explore the application of social psychology to a range of social issues, and use social psychology theory and research to account for real-world phenomena. (Capability 1, 2, 3 and 6)
  4. Apply existing social psychological theory and research to critically evaluate and explain interpersonal experiences during daily life. (Capability 2, 3 and 4)
  5. Apply and evaluate psychological theories on stereotype processes, stigma and social change to a real-world case study. (Capability 2, 3, 4 and 6)
  6. Actively participate in your own learning by working with others in tutorials and being open and responsive to feedback. (Capability 4 and 5)


Assessment Type Percentage Classification
Assignments 25% Individual Coursework
Case Studies 25% Individual Coursework
Final Exam 50% Individual Examination
Assessment Type Learning Outcome Addressed
1 2 3 4 5 6
Case Studies
Final Exam


This course is supported by the Tuākana in Science Programme, which facilitates the success and wellbeing of our Māori and Pacific students. The foundation of the Tuākana Programme is the Tuākana-Teina principle an integral relationship in which older or more expert Tuākana (traditionally brother, sister or cousin) guides a younger or less expert Teina (traditionally younger sibling or cousin). This is a reciprocal relationship which fosters safe learning and teaching environments. Read more here:

Key Topics

Topic 1: Close Relationship Processes (Nickola Overall)
Module 1 will examine the importance of close relationships for the way people think, feel and behave, with a particular focus on: (1) the different ways people can provide and receive support to maximize the health and wellbeing benefits of close relationships, (2) the most effective ways to manage relationship conflict in different contexts, and (3) how attachment insecurities shape these close relationship processes during daily life.
Topic 2: Stereotype Processes and Social Change (Danny Osborne)
Module 2 will examine two related topics focusing on intergroup relations: (1) stereotype processes, including the psychological roots of stereotyping and the impact these biases have on those who are stigmatised, and (2) the psychology of social change, including the processes that both challenge and maintain group-based inequality.
Topic 3: Sexuality and Singlehood (Jessica Maxwell)
Module 3 will examine: (1) sexuality, including the experience of sex in close relationships, open relationships, and casual relationships, and (2) modern dating, including the experiences of individuals who online date, and individuals who are single.
Topic 4: Gender Stereotypes and Ambivalent Sexism (Chris Sibley)
Module 4 will focus on the content of gender stereotypes and ambivalent sexism theory. Lectures will address questions such as: How do different stereotypes predict different forms of discriminatory behaviour? Are subjectively positive attitudes toward women, such as the belief that women should be protected and cherished by men, sexist? How does sexist ideology justify and maintain inequality?

Special Requirements

The tutorials cover material that is directly relevant for the assignments or material that is examinable. It will be very difficult to complete the assignments without attending tutorials. For these reasons, the tutorials are COMPULSORY. Students will not be eligible for plussage if they miss more than one of the tutorials.

Workload Expectations

This course is a standard 15 point course and students are expected to spend 10 hours per week involved in each 15 point course that they are enrolled in.

For this course, you can expect 3 hours of lectures, a 2 hour tutorial every second week, 5 hours of work on assignments and/or exam preparation and 1 hours of reading and thinking about the content.

Delivery Mode

Campus Experience

This course is available to offshore students and students who have been exempted from in-person attendance. Different conditions will apply for these students

Attendance is required at scheduled activities including tutorials to receive plussage.
Lectures will be available as recordings. Other learning activities including tutorials will not be available as recordings.
The course will not include live online events including group discussions/tutorials.
Attendance on campus is required for the exam.
The activities for the course are scheduled as a standard weekly timetable.

Learning Resources

Course materials are made available in a learning and collaboration tool called Canvas which also includes reading lists and lecture recordings (where available).

Please remember that the recording of any class on a personal device requires the permission of the instructor.

There is no specific required textbook for the course. This is an advanced course so a basic knowledge of social psychology as taught in PSYCH 204 will be helpful. However, the lecturers will provide specific readings for each module including background reading if necessary.

See the reading list on CANVAS for the required and recommended readings for each module. Core readings will be available electronically. These will be specific to the content given in lectures and be assigned by the relevant lecturer.

A list of reading material will also be recommended for each assignment and will be available electronically. You will also be expected to source your own material. This is an upper-level course and so we assume that you are able to use the library databases to search for relevant literature. We direct you to library online tutorials if help using the databases is  needed.

Student Feedback

During the course Class Representatives in each class can take feedback to the staff responsible for the course and staff-student consultative committees.

At the end of the course students will be invited to give feedback on the course and teaching through a tool called SET or Qualtrics. The lecturers and course co-ordinators will consider all feedback.

Your feedback helps to improve the course and its delivery for all students.

Past student feedback highlights many positive aspects of PSYCH311 that are helpful for student learning, including the range of modules taught by experts who were passionate about their area, the class discussions and interactive nature of the lectures, the tutorials and office hours to develop assignments, and the feedback on the assignments. Past students also have provided helpful feedback regarding improving the delivery of feedback on the assignments and guidelines for the assignments, which have led to improvements in linking lecture content to the assignments, improving procedures for assignment submission and feedback processes, and clarifying assignment guidelines. 

Academic Integrity

The University of Auckland will not tolerate cheating, or assisting others to cheat, and views cheating in coursework as a serious academic offence. The work that a student submits for grading must be the student's own work, reflecting their learning. Where work from other sources is used, it must be properly acknowledged and referenced. This requirement also applies to sources on the internet. A student's assessed work may be reviewed against online source material using computerised detection mechanisms.

All assignments will be submitted electronically and automatically reviewed against online source material using Turnitin.

Class Representatives

Class representatives are students tasked with representing student issues to departments, faculties, and the wider university. If you have a complaint about this course, please contact your class rep who will know how to raise it in the right channels. See your departmental noticeboard for contact details for your class reps.


The content and delivery of content in this course are protected by copyright. Material belonging to others may have been used in this course and copied by and solely for the educational purposes of the University under license.

You may copy the course content for the purposes of private study or research, but you may not upload onto any third party site, make a further copy or sell, alter or further reproduce or distribute any part of the course content to another person.

Inclusive Learning

All students are asked to discuss any impairment related requirements privately, face to face and/or in written form with the course coordinator, lecturer or tutor.

Student Disability Services also provides support for students with a wide range of impairments, both visible and invisible, to succeed and excel at the University. For more information and contact details, please visit the Student Disability Services’ website

Special Circumstances

If your ability to complete assessed coursework is affected by illness or other personal circumstances outside of your control, contact a member of teaching staff as soon as possible before the assessment is due.

If your personal circumstances significantly affect your performance, or preparation, for an exam or eligible written test, refer to the University’s aegrotat or compassionate consideration page

This should be done as soon as possible and no later than seven days after the affected test or exam date.

Learning Continuity

In the event of an unexpected disruption, we undertake to maintain the continuity and standard of teaching and learning in all your courses throughout the year. If there are unexpected disruptions the University has contingency plans to ensure that access to your course continues and course assessment continues to meet the principles of the University’s assessment policy. Some adjustments may need to be made in emergencies. You will be kept fully informed by your course co-ordinator/director, and if disruption occurs you should refer to the university website for information about how to proceed.

The delivery mode may change depending on COVID restrictions. Any changes will be communicated through Canvas.

Student Charter and Responsibilities

The Student Charter assumes and acknowledges that students are active participants in the learning process and that they have responsibilities to the institution and the international community of scholars. The University expects that students will act at all times in a way that demonstrates respect for the rights of other students and staff so that the learning environment is both safe and productive. For further information visit Student Charter


Elements of this outline may be subject to change. The latest information about the course will be available for enrolled students in Canvas.

In this course students may be asked to submit coursework assessments digitally. The University reserves the right to conduct scheduled tests and examinations for this course online or through the use of computers or other electronic devices. Where tests or examinations are conducted online remote invigilation arrangements may be used. In exceptional circumstances changes to elements of this course may be necessary at short notice. Students enrolled in this course will be informed of any such changes and the reasons for them, as soon as possible, through Canvas.

Published on 09/11/2021 01:17 p.m.