Module code: PSY3117

Module Overview

Please note: This module is part of the Social Psychology stream of Level 6 optional modules and may not be running every year. In some years an alternative optional module within the Social Psychology stream will be offered instead.

This module will offer an advanced overview of topics connected with the social psychology of language and communication. Students will learn how key phenomena of social psychology such as stereotyping, discrimination, interpersonal and intergroup relations are formed, maintained, transmitted and changed through language means. In the process of doing so, students will learn the key theoretical and empirical developments of social psychology of language and communication and will get acquainted with different research approaches. Moreover, they will familiarise themselves with the applications of discussed theories in the media, medical and political communication, policy making, etc. Overall this module will allow students to analyse social psychological phenomena through the lenses of language and communication.

Module provider


Module Leader

FASOLI Fabio (Psychology)

Number of Credits: 15

ECTS Credits: 7.5

Framework: FHEQ Level 6

Module cap (Maximum number of students): N/A

Overall student workload

Independent Learning Hours: 106

Seminar Hours: 22

Guided Learning: 11

Captured Content: 11

Module Availability

Semester 1

Prerequisites / Co-requisites

BSc Psychology Levels 4 and 5 or equivalent. This module has a capped number and may not be available to ERASMUS and other international exchange students. Please check with the departmental exchange coordinator.

Module content

Indicative key topics will include:

  • Introduction to language and communication in social psychology

  • Non-verbal communication

  • Verbal communication

  • Persuasion

  • Mass and social media

  • How language affects and changes the interpersonal and intergroup relations

  • Hate speech and derogatory labels

  • Double-edge sword of humour 

Assessment pattern

Assessment type Unit of assessment Weighting
Coursework Essay 4 pages 60

Alternative Assessment

Alternative for the video abstract: Self-recorded session and a critical analysis. Other specific alternative assessment will be determined on a case-by-case basis. Students who take temporary suspension partway through this module may not be able to complete the remaining classes for this module on their return if it is not running in the following academic year. Such students will have the choice to take a replacement module, or, if they have already completed an assessment for the original module, to attend classes from a new optional module within the same stream (area of psychology) and complete an alternative assessment based on this content that meets the learning outcomes of the original module. 

Assessment Strategy

The assessment strategy is designed to provide students with the opportunity to demonstrate each of the learning outcomes and reflect ability to communicate in different formats (oral and written).

Video Abstract and Critical Analysis

This assignment is on how to communicate research to the general public while showing critical thinking. Groups of students will choose a scientific paper and will be asked to create a short video abstract (5/7 minutes). The video abstract will have to be engaging, to describe the paper (hypotheses, methods, results), to critically analyse it, and to present a clear take home message. Along with the video abstract students will submit a critical analysis showing different limitations that have been identified and why these are relevant. The critical analysis will reflect the process prior to the creation of the video abstract. This part of the assignment will address learning outcomes 1,2,3. 

Essay – popularizing science 

This assignment is on how to communicate research to a general audience. Students will be asked to read on a language related phenomenon in psychological research. They will be asked to evaluate the phenomenon under consideration, the key results provided by research, and the open questions. In doing so, students could refer to specific everyday life and mass media experiences. This assessment will allow to develop communication skills of presenting social psychological research to a broader audience in a written form. Examples of such type of articles will be provided (e.g., InquisitiveMind). This will assess learning outcomes 1, 2, 3, 4.

Formative assessment and feedback

Students will receive verbal formative feedback from both the lecturers and peers. Discussion boards will be available on Surreylearn.

Module aims

  • - Recognise in practice language biases and explain their functions, mechanisms and ways of limiting them
  • - Discuss and evaluate different theoretical perspectives on the interplay between language and social psychology
  • - Synthesize new knowledge on language and communication with knowledge on social psychology
  • - Be familiar with the range of methods used in studying language and communication and with the importance of triangulation of research methods
  • - Recognise strengths and weaknesses of scientific evidence and communicate it to various audiences

Learning outcomes

Attributes Developed
001 Systematically describe and synthesize research on social psychology of language and communication K
002 Critically evaluate research with a focus on methods, measurements and theories referring to language and communication C
003 Communicate critical evaluation of research to various audiences CPT
004 Recognise applications of theoretical perspectives in communication (e.g. mass media such as newspaper, tweets or political speeches) C

Attributes Developed

C - Cognitive/analytical

K - Subject knowledge

T - Transferable skills

P - Professional/Practical skills

Methods of Teaching / Learning

This module will introduce students to the foundational knowledge of theories and research of social psychology of language and communication.

Lectures will be combined with group discussions and demonstrations in order to engage students with described content and promote critical thinking and synthesis of the knowledge. Videos and everyday life examples will be used to stimulate discussion on specific theories and to allow students analysing phenomenon through evidence-based lenses. The course will have a dedicated SurreyLearn site, where the reading list, materials from the lectures, relevant links and workshop materials will be available.

Indicated Lecture Hours (which may also include seminars, tutorials, workshops and other contact time) are approximate and may include in-class tests where one or more of these are an assessment on the module. In-class tests are scheduled/organised separately to taught content and will be published on to student personal timetables, where they apply to taken modules, as soon as they are finalised by central administration. This will usually be after the initial publication of the teaching timetable for the relevant semester.

Reading list
Upon accessing the reading list, please search for the module using the module code: PSY3117

Other information


Programmes this module appears in

Programme Semester Classification Qualifying conditions
Psychology BSc (Hons) 1 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module

Please note that the information detailed within this record is accurate at the time of publishing and may be subject to change. This record contains information for the most up to date version of the programme / module for the 2022/3 academic year.