This course introduces students to major psychological theories and research on human social behavior. We look at why humans often help each other but also why they hurt each other. Topics covered include empathy, prejudice, helping, compliance, bullying, conformity, and the development of personality. A variety of psychological methods for predicting and preventing anti-social behavior are discussed.
The course establishes a strong grounding in scientific principles and methodology. Students are encouraged to think about how empirical methods can be used to measure complex social phenomena, to recognize and appreciate experimental rigor, and ultimately to question common assumptions about human behavior found in ordinary discourse and the popular press. The course includes asynchronous work, which students are expected to complete between class sessions.
Alison Jane Martingano, Ph.D., specializes in social, personality and health psychology. Her research investigates how people are able to understand each other. Given the neural complexity of the human brain, trying to comprehend the contents of another person’s mind is likely the most complicated task that any of us undertake regularly. Alison Jane investigates how different types of communication, empathy and stereotypes influence people’s understanding of each other. She also investigates the impact of integrating technological advancements into human interactions.
Alison Jane defended her Ph.D. in Cognitive, Social and Developmental Psychology in 2020 at the New School for Social Research. Alison Jane also holds an M.Phil. and M.A. in psychology from the New School for Social Research and a B.Sc. (hons) from the University of York.
Alison Jane’s research has been published in academic journals such as Proceedings for the National Academy of Sciences, PLoS One, and the Journal of Interpersonal Violence as well as being featured in programs such as BBC Radio 4, The Digital Human. She is the winner of several early career research and teaching awards and is a passionate educator, having held several teaching positions at various higher education institutions.
Specific course details such as topics, activities, hours, and instructors are subject to change at the discretion of the University. Not all instructors listed for a course teach all sections of that course.