Credit points


Campus offering

No unit offerings are currently available for this unit



Unit rationale, description and aim

Central to a four year undergraduate degree in psychology is the ability to understand and critically analyse core knowledge areas in psychology, to apply the values and ethics of the discipline and to communicate effectively in various formats. In this unit, you will be introduced to specialised research topics in the core knowledge area of social psychology. Topics may be drawn from one or more distinct aspects of social psychology focussing on key topics or approaches (e.g. moral psychology, social cognition). The material you will be introduced to in this unit is of an advanced nature. The aim of this unit is to offer critical engagement with cutting edge research and in-depth examination of contemporary perspectives on, and interpretation of recent trends in, the field of social psychology, as well as an awareness of its historical and philosophical underpinnings.

Learning outcomes

To successfully complete this unit you will be able to demonstrate you have achieved the learning outcomes (LO) detailed in the below table.

Each outcome is informed by a number of graduate capabilities (GC) to ensure your work in this, and every unit, is part of a larger goal of graduating from ACU with the attributes of insight, empathy, imagination and impact.

Explore the graduate capabilities.

On successful completion of this unit, students should be able to:

LO1 - articulate relevant and current knowledge of the relevant research topic(s) in social psychology (GA3, GA4, GA5, GA8, GA9); 

LO2 - articulate an informed understanding of the issues of current debate in the field of social psychology and modes of investigation in the topic area(s) (GA3, GA4, GA5, GA8, GA9); 

LO3 - critically evaluate the contributions of research to our theoretical understanding of the topic(s) in social psychology (GA3, GA4, GA5, GA8, GA9); 

LO4 - enunciate promising possibilities for future research in the topic(s) in social psychology (GA2, GA3, GA4, GA5, GA8, GA9); 

LO5 - describe some of the main implications and applications of knowledge of the topic(s). (GA2, GA3, GA4, GA5, GA8, GA9, GA10). 

Graduate attributes

GA2 - recognise their responsibility to the common good, the environment and society 

GA3 - apply ethical perspectives in informed decision making

GA4 - think critically and reflectively 

GA5 - demonstrate values, knowledge, skills and attitudes appropriate to the discipline and/or profession 

GA8 - locate, organise, analyse, synthesise and evaluate information 

GA9 - demonstrate effective communication in oral and written English language and visual media 


Specific topics or a range of topics can be drawn from the following themes: 


Aggression; Altruism and Helping Behaviour; Attraction; Attributions; Attitudes; Business and  

Applied Social Psychology; Collective and Group Processes; Communication; Compliance and Conformity; Confirmation Biases; Evolutionary Psychology; Emotion; Health and Applied Social Psychology; Intergroup Conflict; Law and Applied Social Psychology; Morality and Justice; Obedience; Prejudice, Racism, and Stereotypes; Relationships; Self-Esteem; Self-Preservation; Self-Concept; Sex and Gender Issues; Social Cognition and Social Perception; Social Influence; Social Judgment; Social Psychology and Culture. 

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

The unit will be delivered in a face-to-face mode with 2 contact hours per week. Each week there will be a 2 hour lecture that will incorporate student discussion, as well as individual and group activities. This mode of delivery is designed to enhance discussion and engagement in the content covered in the unit. Learning and teaching strategies include a range of in-class and online activities such as active learning, case-based learning, individual and group activities, cooperative learning, web-based learning, and reflective/critical thinking activities, delivered over 12 weeks. This range of strategies will provide students with appropriate access to required knowledge and understanding of unit content. These strategies will allow students to meet the aim, learning outcomes and graduate attributes of the unit. Learning and teaching strategies will reflect respect for the individual as an independent learner. Students will be expected to take responsibility for their learning and to participate actively within group activities.  

Assessment strategy and rationale

In order to successfully complete this unit, you will need to complete and submit all of the assessment tasks listed in the table below. In addition to this, you must obtain an aggregate mark of at least 50% to pass the unit.   


In order to best enable you to demonstrate unit learning outcomes and develop graduate attributes, standards-based assessment is utilised, consistent with University assessment requirements. The assessment strategies are used to encourage deep learning in the specialised topic(s) under consideration and will be consistent with University assessment requirements. The assessments comprise: (a) a pair or small group presentation which is designed to acquire knowledge of current topics in the literature and refine the ability to critique published literature, and; (b) two written synopses of research topics to demonstrate your understanding, consolidation, and application of the specialised content covered in the unit. 

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning OutcomesGraduate Attributes

Pair or small group oral presentation (with PowerPoint slides) (20 min.) 

The purpose of this assessment is to allow you to describe and critically analyse a contemporary topic in social psychology. 


LO1, LO2, LO3, LO4, LO5 

GA2, GA3, GA4, GA5, GA8, GA9 

Written synopsis of research topic I (1500 words)  

The purpose of this assessment is to demonstrate a critical understanding of contemporary research in social psychology 


LO1, LO2, LO3, LO4, LO5 

GA2, GA3, GA4, GA5, GA8, GA9 

Written synopsis and proposal of research topic II (1500 words) 

The purpose of this assessment is to demonstrate a critical understanding of contemporary research in social psychology and to develop a proposal for future research to extend this work. 


LO1, LO2, LO3, LO4, LO5 

GA2, GA3, GA4, GA5, GA8, GA9 

Representative texts and references

Required text(s) 

There is no prescribed textbook for this unit, but suggested readings will be posted on LEO when necessary.  


REPRESENTATIVE JOURNALS (Specific references will be provided by Lecturer-in-charge and they are dependent on the topic selected) 


  • European Review of Social Psychology 
  • Journal of Experimental Social Psychology 
  • Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 
  • Journal of Social Issues 
  • Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin 
  • Social Cognition 
  • Social Development 
  • Social Psychological and Personality Science 
  • Social Psychology Quarterly 

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