Social Psychology: Understanding Human Behavior

III. August 8–12, 2022
Day & Time:
Monday–Friday, 9:10–11:00 a.m. and 1:10–3:00 p.m.
Kate Jassin, Sara Konrath, Kimberly Muellers

“I was able to engage in a lot of meaningful conversations and gained a deeper understanding of my subject.” – Ethan K. | Great Neck, New York

Course Description

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.

Students typically spend a portion of each day in lecture and a portion in learning activities such as group work, discussion, and hands-on experimentation. Outside of class, in addition to doing assigned reading participants complete homework assignments in which they apply what they have learned to real-world social situations. For example, they observe helping behavior on campus, complete personality assessments, and survey their family and friends. The data they collect is be pooled, analyzed, and discussed by the whole class.


Kate Jassin

Kate Jassin holds an MA and a PhD in social psychology from the New School for Social Research, where she is currently a Postdoctoral Fellow, and a BA in psychology from Colgate University. She specializes in intergroup relations and prejudice, and is particularly interested in understanding how biases in intergroup perception contribute to political polarization and support for social inequality in public policy. She has been teaching psychology for the past decade at various colleges as an adjunct assistant professor, visiting lecturer, and postdoctoral fellow.  

Sara Konrath

Dr. Sara Konrath is an expert on the science of empathy and prosocial behaviors like giving and volunteering. A social psychologist, she directs the Interdisciplinary Program on Empathy and Altruism Research ( Konrath’s research examines changes over time in empathy and related personality traits, and health and well-being implications of them. She has recently developed two mobile-phone based programs to help increase empathy in youth. Konrath has published dozens of papers in top scientific journals and has given over 200 presentations, including at SouthXSouthwest. Konrath writes a popular Psychology Today blog and is regularly featured in national and international media. She received her BA in psychology from the University of Waterloo and her MS and PhD in social psychology from the University of Michigan. Konrath is an Associate Professor at the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy.

Kimberly Muellers

Kim Muellers is a doctoral student in clinical psychology at Pace University. Her research focuses on the impact of multiple intersecting forms of discrimination on sexual and reproductive health among women of color in the U.S. Kim earned her Master's in Public Health from Columbia University and her BA in psychology and environmental studies from Wesleyan University. She currently teaches social psychology at the undergraduate level at Pace University and CUNY.

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Specific course detail such as 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.