After taking this course:
- You have acquired thorough knowledge of the psychological mechanisms involved in attitude change and social influence.
- You are able to recognize existing attempts of social influence, and to analyze these attempts in relation to different theoretical perspectives. Furthermore, you are able to relate and contrast these theoretical perspectives.
- You are able to provide a psychological theoretical perspective on the expected success of influence attempts, such as commercials, educational campaigns, and behavioral change interventions.
- You are able to systematically use relevant psychological theories to devise a strategic influence campaign based on social influence. Furthermore, you are able to present and discuss your ideas in a clear and persuasive manner.
- You are able to reflect critically on the scientific research on social influence presented in the course.
Social influence is omnipresent. Not only in commercial contexts such as advertisements, but also at home, in politics, and at work people are often trying to influence others to say yes, to buy a product, or to change people's opinion. How does social influence work, and which strategies are most effective? These questions are central to this course. To gain more knowledge into these questions you will learn to apply psychological theories and processes pertaining to social influence to examples from everyday life.
To understand social influence it is essential to examine what shapes our attitudes and behavior. Robert Cialdini’s influential book “Influence” provides a good basis of principles that are fundamental to human interaction, and that can be used (and abused) to influence people. We will cover this book in the first half of the course. In the second half of the course, we will dive deeper into several themes, important to social influence, such as unconscious influence, intrinsic motivation, and influence in organizations.
The main goal of this course is to learn to understand social influence, and to gain knowledge on how social influence processes can be applied to everyday life situations. Therefore, the present course will consist of both traditional lectures in which a lecturer will explain theory behind social influence processes, and more interactive lectures in which students will be asked to participate actively.
Links to SDGs:
This course does not connect to a specific Sustainable Development Goal, but one of its aims is to generate knowledge and ideas on how social influence can be used to solve societal, behavioural problems, often related to the SDGs.
The final grade for this course will be a weighted average of the following two course components:|
• Written exam (open questions) (90%)
• Poster assignment (10%).
The grades of both assignments must be a 5.5 minimum to pass the course.
- As room space is limited, a registration cap may apply for this course. Make sure to register at your earliest convenience.
- In case of too many enrollments Psychology students have priority over students from other faculties or universities.