10 Things I Learned from Coursera’s Social Psychology

As much as I love learning, I just can’t seem to enjoy online courses. Maybe it’s because it doesn’t stimulate me enough and posting on discussion boards seems recreational to me (because online forums are just my tambayan).


It is for this reason that even when I’ve tried attending a number of Coursera courses, I’ve never finished anything. Until now.

A few weeks back, I joined Social Psychology. I know I have way too much on my plate. I have a full-time job, I have a sideline project, and I’m taking two subjects for my Master’s. But there’s something about social psychology that fascinated me and so I joined the class. Kumuha lang ako ng batong pinukpok ko sa sarili ko.

Admittedly, I only watched the videos and didn’t read the readings. I downloaded the pdfs, however, because I felt these would be good resources when I do my masteral thesis.

That’s our professor: Scott Plous from Wesleyan University. Brilliant and funny guy!

I still don’t know what my final grade is but I enjoyed the several weeks I’m studying it. Anyhoo, here are the 10 things I learned from the class:

1. Situations can bring out the best and worst in people.

2. People can make judgments in a blink of an eye. When you feel that someone you met first time is sizing you up, he probably is.

3. Judgments can change but it takes time. Give people the benefit of the doubt.

4. Attitude is not usually reflected in your behavior. When you say that you are compassionate, sometimes it doesn’t show in your actions.

5. People usually obey authority but be mindful. You might be following orders that may potentially hurt people or go against your values.

6. Group pressure is real so be mindful. If you think something is wrong, speak up and don’t be swayed by the majority.

7. When people are faced with situations that are in total opposite of their beliefs, they try to justify to minimize dissonance. Hence the phrase, “Kung sabagay, baka naman mas okay…”

8. Sometimes, everyone in the group does not want to do something but does it, anyway. They fear that if somebody speaks up, they’ll become social pariahs. Speak up, anyway.

9. Prejudice is human nature but try to minimize being prejudiced, anyway. There’s a whole world out there that we don’t know and understand so learn to listen.

10. When you see something is wrong, when you see someone is being attacked violently, speak up and do something. Don’t be a victim of the bystander effect.