2017-2018 Fall/Winter Term/ Section A
DATES: September 07-April 3, 2018
TIME: 11:30 -2:30 Thursday


Ward Struthers (and Joni Sasaki)
Office: 238 BSB
Phone: (416) 736-2100 x66476 (psych office for messages)
Web Site:
Office Hour: 11:30 Tuesday or by appointment


A reading list of theoretical and empirical articles will be provided in class

Course Prerequisite

To enroll in this course, students must have earned a minimum final letter grade of C in PSYCH 1010.

Students who have completed PSYCH 2120 social psychology and a research methods course will be well served.

Course Overview and Objectives

This is an advanced seminar course in social psychology or the study of how individuals think and feel about, relate to, and influence one another based on the actual, implied, or imagined presence of other individuals. During this course students will study and critique theoretical and empirical issues related to the social motivation process. Social motivation is defined as how individuals evaluate others and then interact with them based on those evaluations. Key topics include transgressions, attributions, apology, revenge, grudge, and forgiveness. Students will read assigned theoretical and empirical articles, present summaries and critiques of these articles, discuss key issues in class, present a research proposal, and submit a written research proposal.

Program Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of this course, students should be able to:

  1. Demonstrate in-depth knowledge in social psychology.
  2. Critically evaluate, synthesize and resolve conflicting results in social psychology.
  3. Articulate trends in social psychology.
  4. Locate research articles and show critical thinking about research findings in psychology.
  5. Express knowledge of social psychology in written form.
  6. Engage in evidence-based dialogue with course director and peers.
  7. Demonstrate an ability to work with others.

Specific Learning Objectives

1. Understand theoretical and empirical evidence of the importance of social motivation.
2. Gain experience reviewing literature and applying social motivation to other areas of research.

Grading and Course Requirements

Course requirements

Your final grade in the course will be out of 100% and will be based on: your grade from the fall portion of the course taught by Joni Sasaki (50% of final course grade) and my portion of the course (remaining 50% of your final course grade) based on your class participation (10% total); presentation of an assigned article (5% total); research proposal presentation (17.5% total); and a written research proposal based on the research proposal presentation (17.5% total):

Class Participation: Each student must read all assigned articles before each seminar and come to class prepared to discuss the readings. Students will earn 1% for their participation in seminars for a total of 10%. You cannot earn participation marks if you do not attend class. Also, you must be prepared to discuss the readings and course material each seminar in order to earn participation grades. (10% of final course grade);

Presentation of an Assigned Article: Each week two students will be assigned to summarize and present each of the readings from the reading list. One student will summarize the purpose, key issues, research method and findings (when relevant), and insights, the second student will summarize the strengths and weaknesses of the reading (i.e., theories, ideas, research method and findings, conclusions, etc.). Each student will have 10 minutes to make their case. After each student has made his or her presentation, the presenters will have an opportunity to ask the class questions and the class will have an opportunity to ask the presenters questions, raise their own issues, and discuss the readings. There will be 10 minutes allotted for discussion after each presenter. At the end of the class, I will raise my issues and provide a summary of the material from each week. (5% of final course grade);

Research Proposal Presentation: Each student will make a 15 minute presentation of a research proposal based on a topic relevant to social motivation. Your presentation will involve the use of powerpoint and will include the following topics: description of the problem or issue, a specific statement of the research question, theory, hypotheses (try to use figures), key variables to be manipulated or measures (e.g., independent variables, predictor variables, dependent variables), the design of the research (e.g., nonexperimental, experimental, quasi-experimental), participants, procedures, and proposed statistical analysis. After each presentation, 15 minutes will be allotted for the class to ask questions about the research and clarify issues. The topic for the research proposal will focus on issues associated with the topic of the course. Your topic must be confirmed by me before your presentation and your powerpoint slides must be sent to my email address ( at least 2 days before your presentation. (17.5% of final course grade);

Written Research Proposal: One week after the research proposal presentation, each student will submit a 10 page (excluding title page, abstract, references), typed, APA Style, proposal to my email ( as a word document. The written proposal will involve the following sections: Title page, Introduction (e.g., literature review, statement of the issue, statement of the purpose of the research question, theoretical framework, hypotheses), methods (e.g., participants, design, materials, procedures, potential statistical analyses), and references. There is no results or discussion section for this paper. The paper must be type written in APA Style (6th Edition) and it must also contain a title page, abstract, reference section, and appendix if needed. These sections are in addition to the 10 pages for the primary proposal. (35% of final course grade). Late written research proposals will be docked 5% per day. Written research proposals later than 3 days will be given a grade of 0% on that assignment.

Late Work/Missed Tests or Exams

Students with a documented reason for missing a course test, such as illness, compassionate grounds, etc., which is confirmed by supporting documentation (Attending Physician Statement which can be found at: may request accommodation from the Course Instructor. Further extensions or accommodation will require students to submit a formal petition to the Faculty.

Late written research proposals will be docked 5% per day. Written research proposals later than 3 days will be given a grade of 0% on that assignment.

Grading as per Senate Policy

The grading scheme for the course conforms to the 9-point grading system used in undergraduate programs at York (e.g., A+ = 9, A = 8, B+ - 7, C+ = 5, etc.). Assignments and tests* will bear either a letter grade designation or a corresponding number grade (e.g. A+ = 90 to 100, A = 80 to 90, B+ = 75 to 79, etc.).

(For a full description of York grading system see the York University Undergraduate Calendar - Grading Scheme for 2017-18)


For several reasons, it is important that you attend all of the lectures. First, you will receive a great deal of important information in each lecture. Second, you will be graded on your class participation and if you miss class, you will also miss the opportunity to earn your participation grade. Finally, you will learn about important topics that will form the foundation of your research proposal presentation and written research proposal.

Important information for students regarding access/disability, academic honesty/integrity, student conduct, etc. is available on the CCAS webpage (see Reports, Initiatives, Documents):- cte main pages/ccas.htm.

Course Materials Copyright Information

These course materials are designed for use as part of the HH/PSYC 4020 A course at York University and are the property of the instructor unless otherwise stated. Third party copyrighted materials (such as book chapters, journal articles, music, videos, etc.) have either been licensed for use in this course or fall under an exception or limitation in Canadian Copyright law.

Copying this material for distribution (e.g. uploading material to a commercial third-party website) may lead to a violation of Copyright law. Intellectual Property Rights Statement

Academic Accommodation for Students with Disabilities

While all individuals are expected to satisfy the requirements of their program of study and to aspire to do so at a level of excellence, the university recognizes that persons with disabilities may require reasonable accommodation to enable them to do so. The York University Accessibility Hub is your online stop for accessibility on campus. The Accessibility Hub provides tools, assistance and resources. Policy Statement

Policy: York University shall make reasonable and appropriate accommodations and adaptations in order to promote the ability of students with disabilities to fulfill the academic requirements of their programs.

The nature and extent of accommodations shall be consistent with and supportive of the integrity of the curriculum and of the academic standards of programs or courses.
Provided that students have given sufficient notice about their accommodation needs, instructors shall take reasonable steps to accommodate these needs in a manner consistent with the guidelines established hereunder.

For Further Information please refer to: York university academic accommodation for students with disabilities policy

Add/Drop Deadlines

For a list of all important dates please refer to: Fall/Winter 2017-18 - Important Dates

Last date to add a course without permission of instructor (also see Financial Deadlines) Sept. 20 Sept. 20 Jan. 17
Last date to add a course with permission of instructor (also see Financial Deadlines) Oct. 4 Oct. 18 Jan. 31
Drop deadline: Last date to drop a course without receiving a grade (also see Financial Deadlines) Nov. 10 Feb. 9 March 9
Course Withdrawal Period (withdraw from a course and receive a grade of “W” on transcript – see note below) Nov. 11 - Dec. 4 Feb. 10 - Apr. 6 March 10 - Apr. 6

*Note: You may withdraw from a course using the registration and enrolment system after the drop deadline until the last day of class for the term associated with the course. When you withdraw from a course, the course remains on your transcript without a grade and is notated as "W". The withdrawal will not affect your grade point average or count towards the credits required for your degree.

Course Schedule

Date Seminar Topic Articles
09/01/18 Introduction to the course and reading assignments None Assigned
16/01/18 Transgressions and social pain #s 1-2
23/01/18 Social motivation #s 3-5
30/01/18 Forgiveness and apology #s 6-7
00/00/18 Last day to enroll NA
06/02/18 Theories of forgiveness and apology #s 8-10
13/02/18 The dark side of social motivation #s 11-12
The light side of social motivation
#s 13-14
06/03/18 Research Proposal Presentations NA
09/03/18 Last Day to Drop NA
13/03/18 Research Proposal Presentations NA
20/03/18 Research Proposal Presentations NA
27/03/18 Research Proposal Presentations NA
03/04/18 Research Proposal Presentations NA