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PS358-15 Theories and Research on Emotion

Undergraduate Level 3
Module leader
Adrian von Muhlenen
Credit value
Module duration
12 weeks
33% coursework, 67% exam
Study location
University of Warwick main campus, Coventry
Introductory description

The aim of this module is to provide a broad overview of theories and studies on emotions.

Module web page

Module aims

Many different disciplines have produced work on emotions. This module will look at emotions mainly from a psychological perspective, where emotions are seen as mental processes, and it will refer to the underlying physiological and neurological processes where adequate. The module will work out differences between emotions and other similar constructs such as mood, well-being, stress, and emotional intelligence. At the end the module will also cover other areas where emotions play an important role, such as in mental health, in psychotherapy, in the workplace, or in other aspects of everyday life. For the seminars, groups of students will choose a research paper, on which they will give a short presentation and generate a handout. Topics might include specific emotions (such as happiness, shame, aggression, compassion), or areas where emotions play an important role (such as sport, culture, leadership, mobbing).

Outline syllabus

This is an indicative module outline only to give an indication of the sort of topics that may be covered. Actual sessions held may differ.

  1. Introduction
  2. The Nature and Measurement of Affect
  3. The Structure of Emotion
  4. The Effect of Cognition on Emotions
  5. The Effect of Emotion on Cognition
  6. Communication of Emotions
  7. Emotion and Individual Differences
  8. Emotion in the Workplace
  9. Emotion, Social Life and Culture
  10. Emotion, Mental Health, and Well-being
  11. Revision Lecture
  12. Revision Lecture
Learning outcomes

By the end of the module, students should be able to:

  • A systematic understanding of the major concepts and terms used in the current research on emotion.
  • A coherent and detailed knowledge of different methodological approaches and to be able to review, consolidate, extend and apply this to current problems in emotion science.
  • The ability to critically evaluate arguments, assumptions, and abstract concepts in emotion science, such as the complex role of cognition on emotion, and vice versa.
  • A good all-encompassing understanding of how the brain and other body parts are involved in the elicitation and experience of emotions.
  • A detailed comprehensive understanding of the role emotions play in the aetiology of psychological dysfunctions and disorders.
  • The ability to reveal and assess the role of emotions in everyday situations.
Indicative reading list

Damasio, A. (2005). Descartes' Error: Emotion, Reason, and the Human Brain. London: Penguin
Ekman, P. (1994). The nature of emotion: fundamental questions. New York: Oxford Univ. Press.
Fox, E. (2008). Emotion Science: An Integration of Cognitive and Neuroscientific Approaches.
Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.
Goleman, D. (2005). Emotional Intelligence. New York: Bantam Books.
Jenkins, J.M. (1998). Human Emotions: A Reader. Cambridge: Blackwell.
Kringelbach, M. L. & Phillips H. (2014). Emotion: Pleasure and pain in the brain. Oxford: OUP.
Lazarus, R. S. (1991). Emotion and adaptation. New York: Oxford Univ. Press.
Lewis, M., Haviland-Jones, J. M., & Feldman Barrett, L. (2008). Handbook of Emotions. New York:
Guilford Press.
Niedenthal, P. M., Krauth-Gruber, S., & Ric, F. (2006). Psychology of Emotion: Interpersonal, Experiential and Cognitive Approaches. New York: Psychology Press.
Oatley, K., Keltner, D., & Jenkins, J.M. (2006). Understanding Emotions (2nd edition). Cambridge: Blackwell. Parkinson, B., Fischer, A., & Manstead, A. (2004). Emotion in Social Relations: Cultural, Group, and Interpersonal Processes. New York: Psychology Press
Strongman, K.T. (2003) The Psychology of Emotion: From Everyday Life to Theory Fifth edition. Maidenhead: Wiley. Dekker, S. (2006). The Field Guide to Understanding Human Error. Brookfield: Ashgate Publishing Company.

View reading list on Talis Aspire

Subject specific skills

knowledge of different methodological approaches in psychology
understanding of how the brain and other body parts are involved in the elicitation and experience of emotions.
assessment of the role of emotions

Transferable skills

critically evaluation of arguments, assumptions, and abstract concepts
effective communication skills to develop a cogent argument supported by relevant evidence and being sensitive to the needs and expectations of an audience
familiarity with collecting and organising stored information found in library book and journal collections, and online
effective personal planning skills

Study time

Type Required
Lectures 12 sessions of 2 hours (16%)
Seminars 10 sessions of 1 hour (7%)
Private study 116 hours (77%)
Total 150 hours
Private study description

116 hours guided student study


No further costs have been identified for this module.

You do not need to pass all assessment components to pass the module.

Students can register for this module without taking any assessment.

Assessment group D4
Weighting Study time
Seminar Exercises 3%

Credit for seminar participation will include work preparing for and participating in seminar sessions, as well as submitting short pieces after each session.

Research proposal 30%

Write a 1500-word (maximum) research proposal in which you outline the main theoretical and empirical background to, and rationale for, your proposed study (approx. 1000 words), and describe an experimental study that investigates your chosen area of human emotion (approx. 500 words).

Online Examination 67%
  • Online examination: No Answerbook required
Feedback on assessment

Academic guidance form for assessed work; Structured feedback on presentation and discussion \r\nskills during seminars; Academic feedback form for research proposal; exam results online.

Past exam papers for PS358


This module is Optional for:

  • Year 1 of TPSS-C8P9 Postgraduate Taught Psychological Research
  • Year 3 of UPSA-C800 Undergraduate Psychology
  • Year 4 of UPSA-C801 Undergraduate Psychology (with Intercalated year)
  • Year 3 of UPSA-C804 Undergraduate Psychology with Education Studies

This module is Option list A for:

  • Year 3 of UPSA-C804 Undergraduate Psychology with Education Studies

This module is Option list B for:

  • Year 3 of UPHA-VL78 BA in Philosophy with Psychology
  • Year 4 of UPHA-VL79 BA in Philosophy with Psychology (with Intercalated year)
  • Year 1 of TPSS-C8P9 Postgraduate Taught Psychological Research

This module is Option list C for:

  • Year 3 of UPSA-C802 Undergraduate Psychology with Linguistics