PSYCH 716 : Social Psychology and Interpersonal Processes


2023 Semester One (1233) (15 POINTS)

Course Prescription

Key empirical and theoretical areas in contemporary social psychology form the basis of this seminar-based course. Topics will include social cognition, interpersonal influence, communication, and close personal relationships. Students will also conduct small research projects investigating central topics covered in the course.

Course Overview

Social psychology is the scientific study of how people’s thoughts, feelings and behaviours are influenced by social interactions. PSYCH716 focuses on applying theory and research in social psychology to understand psychological processes in the context of interpersonal relationships. Social relationships are the foundation of human life, which means most psychological processes are best examined and understood within relational contexts. Using theoretical and empirical work examining close relationships (e.g., intimate relationships, parent-child relationships, other familial relationships), this course will cover an array of key social processes that shape people’s social relationships and their health and wellbeing. Topics are organized around three themes: (1) enduring personal vulnerabilities or resilience factors that shape expectations, perceptions and behaviour within social relationships; (2) the external stress and contexts people face that challenge how people think, feel and behave in social relationships; and (3) processes that determine whether people can adapt to key challenges in social relationships. Students will also have the opportunity to explore these topics in the context of other types of interpersonal relationships (e.g., work, intergroup, caregiving, health) and from the lens of other relevant perspectives and disciplines. This course is suitable for students enrolled in a PGDip or Hons degree in psychology. The course is not part of any specialisation and is relevant to include in any PGDip or Hons programme. 

Course Requirements

No pre-requisites or restrictions

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

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this course, students will be able to:
  1. Review and synthesize theory and research in social psychology and interpersonal processes. (Capability 1 and 2)
  2. Evaluate research methodology and the strength of evidence within a specific area of interest. (Capability 1 and 2)
  3. Discuss theory and research, critically and analytically. (Capability 2 and 4)
  4. Communicate knowledge in a concise, informative and interesting manner. (Capability 4)
  5. Generate clear guidelines for future research and/or design a research study on interpersonal processes. (Capability 1, 2 and 3)
  6. Actively participate in their own learning and the learning of others. (Capability 4 and 5)
  7. Be responsive to questions and criticisms regarding their own work and ideas. (Capability 4 and 5)
  8. Provide constructive feedback on other students’ presentations and research proposals. (Capability 2, 4 and 5)
  9. Apply research and theory in social psychology to understanding how to improve social wellbeing. (Capability 2, 3 and 6)


Assessment Type Percentage Classification
Written Assignment 30% Individual Coursework
Written Assignment 30% Individual Coursework
Seminar Presentation 20% Individual Coursework
Reflection Exercise 10% Individual Coursework
Participation 10% Individual Coursework
Assessment Type Learning Outcome Addressed
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
Written Assignment
Written Assignment
Seminar Presentation
Reflection Exercise


Tuākana Science is a multi-faceted programme for Māori and Pacific students providing topic specific tutorials, one-on-one sessions, test and exam preparation and more. Explore your options at

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

  • Enduring personal vulnerabilities or resilience factors that shape expectations, perceptions and behavior within social relationships (e.g., attachment insecurity, self-esteem, depressive symptoms, sexist attitudes, power, optimism)
  • The external stress and contexts people face that challenge how people think, feel and behave in relationships (e.g., economic instability, work-family spillover, discrimination, health problems, parenting stress)
  • Processes that determine whether people can adapt to key relationship challenges (e.g., biased perceptions, social support, conflict, communication, aggression)

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 each week of this course, you can expect 2-3 hours of lectures, 1-2 hours of reading and thinking about the content, and 6 hours of work on assignments.

Delivery Mode

Campus Experience

  • Attendance is required at the class each week.
  • Each class will not be available as a recording. 
  • The course will not include live online events, including group discussions.
  • 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.

A reading list with primary sources for main topics will be provided, and readings assigned each week depending on the topic. 

For assignments, you will also be expected to source your own material using the library databases to search for relevant literature. 

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 has been very positive. Some of the areas students have most enjoyed of felt was beneficial for their learning involve the range of topics, the detailed feedback provided, the guidelines for the assessments and seminars, and the class discussions. Past students have also provided helpful feedback to make changes to the weight and number of assessments and the balance of student- versus instructor-led activities and discussions. 

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.

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 28/10/2022 11:28 a.m.