Learn Social Psychology Fundamentals

Learn the basics of social psychology - how we think about people, make decisions and navigate the social world.
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  • Lectures 19
  • Length 1.5 hours
  • Skill Level Beginner Level
  • Languages English
  • Includes Lifetime access
    30 day money back guarantee!
    Available on iOS and Android
    Certificate of Completion
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About This Course

Published 8/2015 English

Course Description

Finally I'm offering another free psychology course! My other free course, 5 Amazing Psychology Experiments, has more than 2000 students and 50 positive reviews.

For ages, psychologists have wondered about the origins of thought and the structure of the mind. Using solid scientific methods and statistical analysis, we've started to get some answers.

This course serves as a quick introduction to the fundamentals of social psychology. In this introductory course, you'll learn about three major areas of psychology:

1. Accessibility and Priming: How is the mind organized and how can our brains trick us into perceiving the world in biased ways? We cover the notion of a schema and look at several studies on the power of priming.

2. Heuristics and Biases: What are the shortcuts that are brain takes? Whenever we make a decision or form a judgment, we like to think we're being careful and rational, but our minds want quick answers. Sometimes, these shortcuts can lead us astray.

3. Attribution: When we see other people, we often wonder why they do the things they do. Are they responsible for their choices or do we think that they're subject to environmental pressures? Attribution theories try to make sense of it.

In this series of lectures, you'll learn from a trained social psychologist and come to understand the essentials of social psychology. With quiz questions that reinforce your learning and examples that connect the research to your own life, this course is designed to help you quickly master this information. So enroll now and start learning about this fascinating field of social psychology!

**Please note that this is one part of the full introduction to social psychology course (Be a People Expert with Social Psychology) on Udemy. If you want to learn about psychology, and you're not ready to take the plunge for the full social psychology course, this is a great place to start!

What are the requirements?

  • A willingness to learn and apply research in psychology to your own everyday life.

What am I going to get from this course?

  • Understand research in psychology
  • See social influences on everyday behaviors
  • Develop greater understanding of other people
  • Implement psychological research to meet one's own goals
  • Perform better in a social psychology class

Who is the target audience?

  • Salespeople, teachers, customer service representatives...if you work with people, an understanding of psychology is essential.
  • If you are currently taking a class in social psychology, this course could help you do better by providing a secondary instructor with an engaging teaching style.
  • Anyone who is interested in people and power of social situations should take this course to better understand their social world.

What you get with this course?

Not for you? No problem.
30 day money back guarantee.

Forever yours.
Lifetime access.

Learn on the go.
Desktop, iOS and Android.

Get rewarded.
Certificate of completion.


Section 1: Introduction
Defining Social Psychology
Section 2: Schemas & Accessibility: The Structure of the Mind

A schema is a "mental framework" that organizes social information into easy-to-remember and easy-to-use chunks. In this lecture, we discuss more about what schemas are, why we have them, and what effects they can have.


We see schemas at work all the time. In the last lecture, I briefly mentioned the kinds of effects that schemas can have, but in this follow-up video, I'll describe the one particularly pervasive consequence of schemas: self-fulfilling prophecy. I'll go over a classic study that showed how the self-fulfilling prophecy indirectly changed the grades of real students in the 60s and mention a few other instances of this effect at work.

If you're interested in knowing more about the study about self-fulfilling prophecy and attractive (vs. unattractive) people, you can find more details in a free course I have on Udemy featuring 5 experiments in social psychology.


Different schemas come to mind for various reasons. Here we'll discuss what it means for a schema to be "accessible" and how a schema can become accessible. Through this, we'll come to understand the phenomenon of "priming."


To further understand the power of priming a particular schema, we'll look at some classic studies in social psychology that demonstrate how simple priming can be and what effects it can have.


Although I mentioned in the previous lessons that priming can be "subliminal," you may wonder how that works, exactly, and whether it's really effective. In this video, I explain how psychologists have been able to prime schemas subliminally and document the subtle, real effects that it can have.

Schemas & Accessibility QUIZ
1 question
Section 3: Heuristics & Biases

Moving right along in our social thinking patterns, in this lecture we bring up the notion of "heuristics," which are mental shortcuts that ease social judgments and decisions. In particular, we discuss the availability heuristic, the representativeness heuristic, and the anchoring heuristic. I'll give an example of each and talk about how they can bias our judgments of other things and people even though they're generally helpful.


When we estimate how much something happens in the world, the anchoring heuristic can make us come to irrational conclusions. This heuristic is all about using how easily things come to mind as a signal for how frequently they occur in the world.


The availability heuristic can be a little tricky to get a grasp on. Here's another example of how people depend on this heuristic to make judgments, and it comes from my own life.


You can think of representativeness as a kind of "reverse stereotyping." This heuristic is how we judge the probability of something being true. Because people use this heuristic, they often ignore real probability information and instead rely on simple stereotypical cues to make estimates.


As with a lot of heuristics, representativeness becomes easier to understand with some examples. In this quick video, I use the example of a coin toss to show you how people depend on the representativeness heuristic to make judgments.


Although anchoring can be useful, people often come to biased answers because of it. This heuristic is how people make numerical estimates, and surprisingly, they over-rely on meaningless "anchor" numbers when making their final guesses.

Heuristics & Biases QUIZ
2 questions
Section 4: Attribution

"Attribution" is all about how we explain other people's behaviors. In this lecture, we'll see that people can explain behavior by looking for personal causes ("dispositional attributions") or by looking for envrionmental causes ("situational attributions"). According to the fundamental attribution error, people are pretty quick to go the route of drawing dispositional attributions.


We can understand the fundamental attribution by looking at some relevant examples, including people's perceptions of actors. Because people tend to mistakenly assume that actors have the same qualities as the characters they play, it's further proof of how automatically people draw dispositional attributions.


Now that we know the two main types of attributions that people can draw, we'll ask the question: do people always draw dispositional attributions? Surely people can see that there are external influences on behavior! Yes, that's true, and in this lesson we'll look at Gilbert's 3-Stage Model to understand which conditions are most liklely to bring out situational attributions. Then we'll cover two common biases in attribution that can sometimes lead people to account for the situation: the actor-observer effect and self-serving attributions.

Attribution QUIZ
1 question
Section 5: Conclusion
Conclusion and Farewell
Bonus: More Psychology from Andrew Luttrell
Bonus: Get a Free Psychology PDF Ebook

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Instructor Biography

Andrew Luttrell, Ph.D., Social Psychologist

I am a social psychologist. My expertise is in the domain of attitudes and persuasion, but I have extensive experience with all corners of the social psychology world. The research in this field is so interesting that I can't help but want to share it! I look forward to the chance to share the world of social psychology with you.

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