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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences : Psychology

Undergraduate Course: Class: The Psychology of Wealth, Poverty, and Social Rank (PSYL10123)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences CollegeCollege of Humanities and Social Science
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 10 (Year 4 Undergraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits10 ECTS Credits5
SummaryThis course will take a psychological approach to examining class. We will examine both material wealth (being rich or poor) and relative social rank (being richer or poorer). We will look at how class relates to multiple areas of psychology - the brain, cognition, development, and social interactions - with a particular emphasis at the social and cultural level. The focus will be on understanding how the material environment and our position in a hierarchy can powerfully shape our psychology, and vice versa.
Course description All societies possess some form of hierarchy (richer and poorer), and people in all societies vary in their access to wealth (rich and poor). In this course, we will focus on how wealth and rank (collectively, 'class') can alter our psychology. The course will examine the impact of class from neurons to neighborhoods, encompassing the brain, cognition, development, and social relations. In doing so we will incorporate major theories and findings primarily from cognitive psychology (attention, executive control), social psychology (social comparison, prejudice, stereotyping), and cultural psychology (socioecology, climato-economics).

Each week will explore how class influences a different aspect of human psychology. We will cover how being rich or richer than others, and how being poor or poorer than others can fundamentally alter our psychological functioning. The classes will consist of a mixture of lectures, large and small group discussions, and presentations.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites It is RECOMMENDED that students have passed Research Methods and Statistics 2 (PSYL10126) AND Research Methods & Statistics 3 (PSYL10127)
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Information for Visiting Students
Pre-requisitesDegree major in Psychology and passes in Psychology courses at least to the equivalent of Junior Honors level in Edinburgh. Prior agreement with the 4th Year Honors Course Organiser.
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2017/18, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  59
Course Start Block 2 (Sem 1)
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 100 ( Lecture Hours 10, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 2, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 88 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) Assessment will consist of two pieces of written work.
Piece 1 (1000 words, 30%) will require students to select an area of psychology and connect that to core class concepts discussed already.
Piece 2 (2000 words, 70%) requires students to develop a research question related to class. This will include both the theoretical and methodological approaches to this question
Feedback Provided weekly in the form of brief discussion questions covered in class
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Acquire a deep understanding of how class affects psychology
  2. Demonstrate a clear understanding of the how social rank influences human interactions
  3. Be able to critically evaluate existing research from a class perspective
Reading List
Indicative but not exhaustive bibliography

Davidai, S., & Gilovich, T. (2015). Building a more mobile America - one income quintile at a time. Perspectives on Psychological Science.
Hackman, D., & Farah, M. (2009). Socioeconomic status and the developing brain. Trends in Cognitive Sciences.
Jones, O. (2011). Chavs: The demonization of the working class. Verso Books.
Kraus, M., et al (2012). Social class, solipsism, and contextualism: How the rich are different from the poor. Psychological Review.
Stephens, N., et al (2014). Social class culture cycles: How three gateway contexts shape selves and fuel inequality. Annual Review of Psychology.
Wilkinson, R., & Pickett, K. (2009). The Spirit Level: Why more equal societies almost always do better. Allen Lane, London.
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Not entered
KeywordsNot entered
Course organiserDr Stephen Loughnan
Tel: (0131 6)50 9861
Course secretaryMs Catherine Renton
Tel: (0131 6)50 3602
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