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Sep 27, 2011

PSYC 424 - The Psychology of Communication & Persuasion

Every day you are surrounded by people telling you what to think, feel and do. Advertisers relentlessly pray on your needs, desires and motivations in order to sell their products and services. Signs and instructions from various ‘authorities’ dictate what you can and cannot do. You regularly face overt and covert influence from family, friends, groups and strangers. In fact, you are being manipulated right now. 

Why learn about the psychology of persuasion? Simple… because understanding the science of influence arms you with the tools to evaluate and resist undesired attempts at persuading you, and even better, the tools to be more successful in your personal life. In this course we will explore the processes that underlie the creation and shifting of our attitudes, thought and behavior and the research-based techniques that operate on those processes.

Click here to download the complete syllabus from a previous semester.

What will I get to do?

Your learning will go far beyond assessments in this course, as you will work with your peers to select a social cause, develop an evidenced-based public service announcement video, evaluate its psychological impact with a controlled experiment and defend your work in front of a panel of psychologists and university administrators.  There is simply no better way to prepare you to use what you have learned, and you will leave knowing that you have the knowledge, skills and experience to put it to good use.

Why is permission required to register?

Before you sign up I want to make sure that you know exactly what you can expect to gain from taking this course and what will be expected of you.  I want to be very upfront about the fact that this will be a challenging, demanding and time-intensive course, so the online permission process will walk you through everything you need to know.  On the first day, everyone in the room will already be on the same page and we can get right down to business.

How to I obtain permission to register?

In order to register you will have to complete an online module that reviews the syllabus and project assignment.  Here are the steps involved... please be sure that you do this well in advance of your registration date so that we can remove the block and your can enroll in time.

 STEP 1: Download, save and carefully read the following documents: 
Sample Individual Performance Contract

 :STEP 2: Complete the online permission request module 

With those documents in front of you, complete the online module ( that assesses your understanding of the course format, requirements and expectations.
After you successfully complete the module an email will automatically be sent to the Department of Psychology's Office of Undergraduate Studies indicating that you have my permission to enroll in PSYC 424.  Please allow up to 72 hours for the office to process the request and to remove the registration block.  If you have not received an email after 72 hours please email with your name, ID and the date you completed the module.
 STEP 3: Register! 

Once the block has been removed you will receive an email indicating that you may now register for the course.  Please keep your eye out for that email and contact if you do not receive it within 72 hours.

 STEP 4: Get Ready 

Get ready for an engaging, challenging and rewarding semester learning about the science of social influence.  As you develop your skills and apply your knowledge towards your group's social cause you'll quickly see that you have the power and experience to make a positive impact on anything you feel is personally important.

When is PSYC 424 offered?

Typically the course is offered every Spring.  For current course offerings visit UMD's Schedule of Classes on Testudo