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CAS 597 - Special Topic: Personal Influence

Professor: Rachel Smith
Office: 216 Sparks
Email: ras57@psu.edu 

Social influence is a graduate seminar that exams the socially situated nature of persuasion, compliance, and diffusion. The course introduces students to work on the evolution of social living, including kin and group selection. Students examine theories and research about social determinants and outcomes (e.g., social cognition, social power, social norms, and social networks) of attempts to change someone’s attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors. Students also consider research questions about personal transmission (e.g., why do we share influential messages with other people, with whom do we share, what do we share, and how does what we share change with each conversation?). Readings cover both inclusive and exclusive versions of social phenomena (e.g., attraction and ostracism).

Course Objectives

  1. To become familiar with classic and current theoretical and empirical studies of personal and social influence
  2. To evaluate the strengths and weaknesses in existing research

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