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

Undergraduate Course: Identities and Collective Behaviour (PSYL10162)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 10 (Year 3 Undergraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryDrawing from the social identity approach, this course will focus on how theories of intra- and inter-group dynamics help us to understand collective behaviour. Specifically, this course will explore the cognitive, relational, emotional, and behavioural effects shared social identities can have, and how social identities emerge and develop. A fundamental question is what makes collective behavior possible in a variety of situations, and how examples from recent empirical research on collective behavior can enhance our knowledge of existing identity theories. This course will critically review the scope and limitations of identity theories through different crowd contexts: mass gatherings, collective action, and responses to mass disasters. It will provide students with a strong understanding of key theories in identity research, and the ability to critically evaluate their strengths and weaknesses through recent high-impact empirical research drawing on a range of methodologies.
Course description In this course, we will explore the reasons that people come together as crowd and the processes that underlay collective behaviour. We will cover fundamental theories used in identity research, particularly the social identity approach, and how they can be used to understand collective behaviour based on empirical evidence using a range of methodologies.

We will focus on a variety of crowd contexts to examine phenomena such as the emotional and relational effects that being in a crowd can have (e.g. in festivals and mass gatherings), norm creation and empowerment (e.g. in protests and riots), and social support and resilience in disasters (e.g. flooding and emergency evacuations). Throughout the course, we will assess current myths of collective behaviour such as irrational panic behaviour and mindless violence. Crucially, we will use research on collective behaviour as an analytic lens to measure the strengths and weaknesses of current identity theories.

The course will consist of lectures, seminars, and large and small group discussions and debates to fully engage with the course content. The assessments will focus on knowledge and understanding, writing skills, with a particular emphasis on critical evaluation and independent learning. Through this course, students will develop their critical evaluation skills, knowledge and understanding of core theories in social psychology, ability to analyse contrasting theories and empirical evidence, and communication skills in both verbal discussions and written assessments.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Students MUST have passed: Psychology 2A (PSYL08011) AND Psychology 2B (PSYL08012)
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Information for Visiting Students
Pre-requisitesVisiting students should be studying Psychology as their degree major, and have completed at least 3 Psychology courses at grade B or above. We will only consider University/College level courses.

Enrolment is also at the discretion of the course organiser, and students must contact the course organiser for the course to seek their permission to enrol in the course, then send that written confirmation to the Visiting Student Office for consideration.

Applicants should note that, as with other popular courses, meeting the minimum does NOT guarantee admission. **Please note that upper level Psychology courses are high-demand, meaning that they have a very high number of students wishing to enrol in a very limited number of spaces.** These enrolments are managed strictly by the Visiting Student Office, in line with the quotas allocated by the department, and all enquiries to enrol in these courses must be made through the CAHSS Visiting Student Office. It is not appropriate for students to contact the department directly to request additional spaces.
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Not being delivered
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Understand and identify how collective behaviour is possible based on a social identity perspective
  2. Explain the relational, emotional, and cognitive influences of social identification and the implications these have for collective behaviour
  3. Summarise empirical literature, including methodology and results, and critically analyse the conclusions based on the research and broader literature
  4. Understand the dynamic aspects of collective behaviour, including how group norms can change, how certain behaviour can come to be perceived as (un)acceptable, and how social support can emerge
  5. Apply and assess knowledge from empirical research on collective behaviour to critique current theories in social psychology, and use empirical research as an analytic tool for theories
Reading List
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills BPA areas covered: Social, Cognitive
KeywordsPsychology,Social Identity,Collective Behaviour
Course organiserDr Anne Templeton
Tel: (0131 6)51 7112
Course secretaryMiss Chloe Anderson
Tel: (0131 6)50 9870
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