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 communication and language means. Specifically, the module will focus on social issues that are the focus of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (e.g., gender inequality). 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 and will use them to identify ways in which language and communication can be used to address social issues. Finally, the module will allow students to be critical of scientific evidence as well as of the strengths and weaknesses of applying theoretical knowledge to social issues.

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): 35

Overall student workload

Independent Learning Hours: 106

Lecture Hours: 22

Guided Learning: 11

Captured Content: 11

Module Availability

Semester 1

Prerequisites / Co-requisites


Module content

Indicative key topics will include:

  • Introduction to language and communication in social psychology

  • Non-verbal communication (e.g., body movement, gestures, face)

  • 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 

These topics will be examined in relation to phenomena such as racism, gender inequality, sexual orientation discrimination, prejudice toward migrants.

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. 

Assessment Strategy

The assessment strategy is designed to allow students to demonstrate that they have successfully met the learning outcomes.

The summative assessment for this module consists of:

Video Abstract and Critical Analysis (40%, learning outcomes 1, 2, 3):
This assignment aims to assess critical thinking, verbal communication skills, and teamwork skills. Video abstracts aim to communicate research to the general public clearly and engagingly. Video abstracts are ways scientific journals use to attract viewers to the papers and disseminate findings. 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, describe the paper (hypotheses, methods, results), critically analyse it, and present a clear take home message. Along with the video abstract, each student will individually submit a 2-page critical analysis presenting critical points of the research identified by the student and not included in the video abstract. The critical analysis will allow the students to show their critical thinking beyond the group work.
Essay – popularizing science (60%, learning outcomes 1, 2, 3, 4):
This assignment aims to assess the understanding of psychological phenomena related to language and communication, critical thinking, and written communication skills. Popularising science articles are ways magazines or blogs use to make research findings popular and reach a broader audience (e.g., InquitiveMind, the Conversation). Students will be asked to identify a topic, review and critically evaluate the literature, while considering related popular culture examples. Next, they will write a 4-page essay for the general public. The essay will need to describe and evaluate the relevant literature while integrating popular culture examples.

Formative assessment
Students will receive formative feedback from both the lecturers and peers through the module during group discussions and ad hoc activities. Examples of video-abstract and popularizing science articles will be provided as part of the guided learning activities. Students will also have the opportunity to engage with the discussion boards on Surreylearn.


Feedback on the summative assignments will be provided via Surreylearn. This will indicate the strengths of the work and areas for improvement. Verbal formative feedback on the assignments will be provided in class during the assignment-related activities.

Module aims

  • Provide students with knowledge about social psychological theories and research on language and communication
  • Recognise the role of language and communication in explaining and addressing social issues that are central to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (e.g., reduced inequalities, social justice).
  • Allow students to critically evaluate theoretical perspectives on the interplay between language and communication and social psychology while considering cultural and linguistic differences
  • Allow students to apply their knowledge to everyday life phenomena while recognising the strength and weaknesses of the scientific evidence.

Learning outcomes

Attributes Developed
001 Demonstrate an understanding of the role of language and communication in explaining social issues K
002 Critically evaluate research and theories referring to language and communication in different contexts and cultures KC
003 Effectively communicate research on the social psychology of language and communication to the general public in a verbal and written form CPT
004 Recognise applications of theoretical perspectives in language and communication to address societal issues that are central to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals CPT
005 Effectively work in teams to discuss ideas and make decisions PT

Attributes Developed

C - Cognitive/analytical

K - Subject knowledge

T - Transferable skills

P - Professional/Practical skills

Methods of Teaching / Learning

 The learning and teaching strategy is designed to:

  • Provide students the foundational knowledge of theories and research of social psychology of language and communication.

  • Allow students to develop critical thinking by discussing theories and research in relation to social issues

  • Allow students to apply the knowledge to create solutions to social issues via language and communication (e.g., interventions, campaigns).

Students will be able to take their knowledge of social psychology theories learned in previous years (Social Psychology with Research Methods 1 and 2) and considered it in the context of language and communication. Moreover, they will have the opportunity to analyse how the social psychology of language and communication can be used to understand and address social issues that are central to the sustainable development goals (e.g., gender equality, reduced inequality, peace and justice). Students will be asked to reflect and analyse how language and communication can be used as strategies in different global contexts and cultures. This will allow them to reflect on their personal experiences and backgrounds while assessing when and how language and communication can be effective. The learning and teaching strategies will give students the to further develop key employability skills (e.g., verbal and written communication, team working, familiarisation and use of different software).

Students will be encouraged to engage in group discussions and demonstrations allowing them to describe the content, promote critical thinking and synthesis of the knowledge, and become more confident. Analyses of social phenomena and everyday life events will be used to stimulate discussion on specific theories and to allow students analysing phenomena through evidence-based lenses. Ad hoc activities will be presented to allow students to apply their knowledge to address social issues. Students will be encouraged to engage with the guided learning activities, materials from the lectures presented in a variety of formats (videos, audios, text), and reading list all available via SurreyLearn site as well as self-reflections on the activities done in class.

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

The School of Psychology is committed to developing graduates with strengths in Employability, Digital Capabilities, Global and Cultural Capabilities, Sustainability, and Resourcefulness and Resilience. This module is designed to allow students to develop knowledge, skills and capabilities in the following areas:


Employability: This module allows students to understand how language and communication can affect social interactions and group dynamics. The in-class discussion and activities will allow students to develop their critical thinking skills and abilities on putting theories in practice. The assessment aims to improve students’ communication skills on how to present research to a non-academic audience while showing their ability to critically evaluate the strength and limits of the scientific evidence. The two assignments will allow students to further improve their abilities to work in a team and independently.


Digital capabilities: The video abstract will equip students will the ability to use different software (e.g., power-point, audio recording) and think about effective ways to communicate. In-class and guided learning activities will allow students to familiarise with different software for collaborative work. The module will also discuss the role of technology in language and communication and how the technological advancement is changing the discipline (e.g., analyses methods, communication exchanges via different types of mass and social media). Students will also be invited to use digital mind and concept maps. These activities will allow students to develop transferable skills that will be useful in a range of different tasks/fields.


Sustainability: The module considers different social issues that are central in the United Nations Sustainability Development Goals (e.g., gender equality, inequality, social class/income, intergroup conflicts). The in-class discussions and activities will focus on these social issues and ways to address them. The assignments will allow students to focus on topics related to those social issues and social psychological research aiming to understand such phenomena.


Global and cultural capabilities: The module will offer the possibility to understand and discuss cultural differences and applications of theories in different contexts. Not only some lectures will focus on cultural and linguistic differences, but discussions and activities will focus on challenging the assumptions of some theoretical models. The activities designed to put theories into practice will involve a discussion of their application to different contexts.


Resourcefulness and resilience: Students will have the opportunity to work in teams and independently and this should allow them to build their confidence. They will also be invited to share their personal experiences in speaking different languages and having different experiences due to their backgrounds. This will allow every student to reflect on their own and others’ experiences as well as the challenges individuals may face in our societies. They will be also invited to think about a potential solution to those challenges and to consider the pro and cons of such solutions.

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 2023/4 academic year.