Social Psychology Theory and Methods

Course content

Social psychology concerns the connection between the individual and their social world, and therefore explores all ways in which individuals function socially. The subject area covers psychologically-oriented approaches that focus on individual thought, feelings and actions and how these guide their relationships with others and participation in groups and society, as well as societally-oriented approaches that examine the structures of social relations, prevailing social and cultural values and discourses, and the processes of individualisation that follow from this. Through this course, a wide range of core topics are introduced, including how psychological functioning is socially embedded; the influence of social and societal structures on the behaviour of individuals, groups and institutions; the importance of attitudes and norms for social action; individualisation and identity development; social integration and participation in social institutions and groups. The purpose of the course is to introduce students to classic and contemporary theories and empirical research in social psychology, as well as to the historical-embeddedness and development of  the subject area’s themes. Various methodological traditions are also introduced, along with their capabilities and limitations.

Learning outcome


  • Account for selected social psychological concepts, theories and empirical data.
  • Demonstrate knowledge of fundamental, both newer and classical, theories and empirical research within social psychology.
  • Account for their historical embedding, contemporary debates, and overall contribution of areas of theory/ research to the subject area’s themes.



  • Analyse central similarities and differences between reviewed terminology, theory and empirical data in relation to specific social psychological themes and problematics.



  • Understand methods used in social psychology.
  • Analyse the possibilities and limitations of different methods in relation to specific theoretical or social problems.
  • Assess and critically reflect on one’s own empirical work in light of methodological and ethical principles.

The classes consist of lectures (theory, methodology and empirical studies) and seminar classes (theory)



Baumeister, R. F., & Leary, M. R. (1995). The need to belong: desire for interpersonal attachments as a fundamental human motivation. Psychological Bulletin, 117(3), 497 - 529.


Bechmann Jensen, T: (2011). ”Ensomhed – er det prisen for velstand”? i Psykologisk Set nr. 81 (pp. 29-38) Frydenlund.     


Bicchieri, C., & Mercier, H. (2014). Norms and beliefs: How change occurs. In M. Xenitidou & B. Edwards, The complexity of social norms (pp. 37-54). Springer.


de Dreu, C. K. W. (2010). Social conflict: The emergence and consequences of struggle and negotiation. In S. T. Fiske, D. T. Gilbert, & G. Lindzey, Handbook of social psychology (5th ed.). Wiley.


Devine, P. G. (1989). Stereotypes and prejudice: Their automatic and controlled components. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 56(1), 5–18.


Doise, W., & Valentim, J. P. (2015). Levels of Analysis in Social Psychology A2-Wright, James D International Encyclopedia of the Social & Behavioral Sciences (pp. 900-904).


Ellemers, N. (2013). Connecting the dots: Mobilizing theory to reveal the big picture in social psychology (and why we should do this). European Journal of Social Psychology, 43(1), 1-8.


Gaertner, L., Sedikides, C., Luke, M., O'Mara, E. M., Iuzzini, J., Jackson, L. E., ... & Wu, Q. (2012). A motivational hierarchy within: Primacy of the individual self, relational self, or collective self?. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 48(5), 997-1013.


Gergen, K. J. (1973). Social psychology as history. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 26(2), 309-320.


Gibbons et al. (1994). Massification of Research and Education. In Gibbons et al.: The New Production of Knowledge (pp. 70-88). Sage.


Goldstein, N. J., Cialdini, R. B., & Griskevicius, V. (2008). A room with a viewpoint: Using social norms to motivate environmental conservation in hotels. Journal of Consumer Research, 35(3), 472-482.


Greenfield, P. M. (2017). Cultural change over time: Why replicability should not be the gold standard in psychological science. Perspectives on Psychological Science, 12(5), 762-771.


Haney, C., Banks, C., & Zimbardo, P. (1973). Interpersonal dynamics in a simulated prison. International Journal of Criminology & Penology.


Haslam, S.A. & Reicher, S.D. (2012). Contesting the 'Nature' of Conformity: What Milgram and Zimbardo's Studies Really Show. PLoS Biology, 10 (11).


Hegarty, P., & Pratto, F. (2010). Interpreting and communicating the results of gender-related research. In Handbook of gender research in psychology (pp. 191-211). Springer, New York, NY.


Heider, F. (1958). The naive analysis of action. In F. Heider, The psychology of interpersonal relations (pp. 79–124). John Wiley & Sons.


Henrich, J., Heine, S. J., & Norenzayan, A. (2010). The weirdest people in the world?. Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 33(2-3), 61-83.


Holzkamp, K. (2005) Mennesket som subjekt for videnskabelig metodik. I Nordiske Udkast 33, vol. 2 (pp. 5-34)


Hopkins, N., Reicher, S., Stevenson, C., Pandey, K., Shankar, S., & Tewari, S. (2019). Social relations in crowds: Recognition, validation and solidarity. European Journal of Social Psychology, 49(6), 1283-1297.


Jartoft, V. (1996) Kritisk Psykologi. I Højholt, C. & G. Witt, Skolelivets Socialpsykologi – Nyere socialpsykologiske teorier og perspektiver (pp. 181 -208)


Kunst, J. R., & Obaidi, M. (2020). Understanding violent extremism in the 21st century: the (re)emerging role of relative deprivation. Current opinion in psychology, 35, 55–59.


Markova, I. (2019). ‘La dissidence d’un seul’: Relations between Social Representations and Minorities’ Innovation. In N. Kalampalikis, et al. (Eds.) Serge Moscovici: Un regard sur les mondes communs (p.117-132). FMSH Edition. Open Access Online:


Markus, H. R., & Kitayama, S. (1991). Culture and the self: Implications for cognition, emotion, and motivation. Psychological review, 98(2), 224.


McLeod, S. A. (2007). Moscovici and minority influence. Retrieved from


Meleady, R., Crisp, R. J., Hodson, G., & Earle, M. (2019). On the Generalization of Intergroup Contact: A Taxonomy of Transfer Effects. Current Directions in Psychological Science : a Journal of the American Psychological Society, 28(5), 430–435.


Milgram, S. (1963). Behavioral Study of Obedience. Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology, 67


Moscovici, S. (1981). On social representations. In: J.P. Forgas (ed.) Social Cognition: Perspectives in Everyday Understanding. London: Academic Press.


Nissen, M. (2012) The subjectivity of Participation - Articulating Social Work Practice with Youth in Copenhagen. In Position: A Critical Psychology Accomplice (Chapter 2: pp. 18-45), Palgrave macmillan.


Obaidi, M.,  Kunst, J. R.,  Kteily, N.,  Thomsen, L., and  Sidanius, J. (2018)  Living under threat: Mutual threat perception drives anti-Muslim and anti-Western hostility in the age of terrorism. Eur. J. Soc. Psychol.,  48: 567– 584. doi: 10.1002/ejsp.2362.


Open Science Collaboration. (2015). Estimating the reproducibility of psychological science. Science, 349(6251), aac4716.


Pearson, A. R., Dovidio, J. F., & Gaertner, S. L. (2009). The nature of contemporary prejudice: Insights from aversive racism. Social and Personality Psychology Compass, 3, 314-338.


Pehrson, S., & Leach, C. W. (2012). Advancing the social psychology of racism and anti-racism: moving beyond ‘old’and ‘new’prejudice. Beyond prejudice: Extending the social psychology of conflict, inequality, and social change, 116-134.


Phoenix, A. (2022). Humanizing racialization: Social psychology in a time of unexpected transformational conjunctions. British Journal of Social Psychology.


Qvortrup, L: (1998). ”Det hyperkomplekse samfund, 14 fortællinger om informationssamfundet”, kap. 11: ”De irriterende massemedier, det offentlige blik” (pp. 232-249). Gyldendal.


Shweder, R. A., & Sullivan, M. A. (1993). Cultural psychology: Who needs it?. Annual review of psychology44(1), 497-523.


Sullivan, D. (2020). Social psychological theory as history: Outlining the critical-historical approach to theory. Personality and Social Psychology Review24(1), 78-99.


Sutton, R. & Douglas, K. (2019). Social Psychology (2nd Edition).  Macmillan International. Chapters 1, 2, 3, 4, 9, 10, 11, 12, & 14.


Tajfel, H., & Turner, J. C. (1979). An integrative theory of intergroup conflict. In W. G. Austin, & S. Worchel (Eds.), The social psychology of intergroup relations (pp. 33-47). Monterey, CA: Brooks/Cole.


Thaler, R. H., & Sunstein, C. R. (2003). Libertarian paternalism. American Economic Review, 93(2), 175-179.


Turner, J. C., Oakes, P. J., Haslam, S. A., & McGarty, C. (1994). Self and collective: Cognition and social context. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 20(5), 454–463.


Van Lange, P. A. M., De Cremer, D., Van Dijk, E., & Van Vugt, M. (2007). Self-interest and beyond. In A. W. Kruglanski & Higgings, E. T. (Eds.), Social Psychology: Handbook of Basic Principles (pp. 540-561). New York: Guilford.


Wagoner, B. (2018). From the age of the crowd to the global age.  In B. Wagoner, F.H. Moghaddam, & J. Valsiner (Eds.), The psychology of radical social change. Cambridge University Press.


Wagoner, B. & Oldmeadow, J. (2008). Review of Psychoanalysis: Its image and its public by Serge Moscovici. Social Psychological Review, 10(1), 55-57


Weiner, B. (2018). The legacy of an attribution approach to motivation and emotion: A no-crisis zone. Motivation Science, 4(1), 4-14.


Wu, J., Balliet, D., & van Lange, P. A. M. (2016). Gossip versus punishment: The efficiency of reputation to promote and maintain cooperation. Scientific Reports, 6(1), 1-8.


Total amount of pages


Continuous feedback during the course of the semester
Type of assessment
Written assignment, 72 hours
Type of assessment details
FORM OF EXAM: Final compulsory written 72-hour take-home assignment.
GROUP REGULATIONS: The written take-home assignment can only be taken individually.
EXTENT: The extent of the written take-home assignment is a maximum of ten standard pages.
Exam registration requirements

Approved active participation in the various exercises, activities, assignments, presentations, etc., as specified in the course catalogue, is a prerequisite for participation in the exam.

  • Active participation in seminar classes: 3 response papers.


All aids allowed
Marking scale
7-point grading scale
Censorship form
No external censorship
Exam period




Criteria for exam assessment

See Leaning Outcome

Single subject courses (evening/weekend)

  • Category
  • Hours
  • Lectures
  • 56
  • Class Instruction
  • 42
  • English
  • 98


Course number
Programme level
Bachelor choice
Bachelor’s minor subject

1 semester

14 weeks starting week 36

800,00 kroner pr. ECTS

C And B
Department of Psychology, Study Council
Contracting department
  • Department of Psychology
Contracting faculty
  • Faculty of Social Sciences
Course Coordinator
  • Thomas Morton   (13-796d74726678337274777974734575787e33707a336970)
    Thomas Alan Morton
Saved on the 21-02-2024

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