BSc Psychology / Course details

Year of entry: 2023

Course unit details:

Course unit fact file
Unit code PSYC37111
Credit rating 20
Unit level Level 3
Teaching period(s) Semester 1
Offered by Division of Psychology and Mental Health
Available as a free choice unit? No


We will explore fundamental questions about emotion, such as: What are emotions? How are they measured? How many emotions are there? Are emotions innate or learned? Are they universal or culturally determined? How are emotions related to bodily sensations and expressions of the face, voice or body? What is the role of ‘thinking’ in ‘feeling’, and of ‘feeling’ in ‘thinking’? Does damage to the body or the brain alter the emotional experience?  What happens when emotional processing goes wrong?

We will link empirical findings to the main theoretical frameworks in the scientific study of emotion. Understanding these theories of emotion and the type of research studies that support them will allow us to examine these fundamental questions.

This is an optional Year 3 course unit on the BSc Hons Psychology that falls within the Mind and Brain theme.


This unit aims to:

Enhance students’ knowledge of emotion science and their capacity to evaluate empirical data and current emotion theories.  Show how findings from a range of methodologies contribute to our understanding of emotion and strategies for enhancing emotional wellbeing. Enable students to discuss and evaluate contemporary research in written and oral formats, both independently and in groups.




Teaching and learning methods

This unit will be delivered via lectures and seminars.

Knowledge and understanding

Describe current theories of emotion and conceptualisations of what emotions are

Intellectual skills

  • Evaluate the empirical basis for  theories of emotion
  • Understand how we apply multidisciplinary methods to elicit and measure emotion, and to interpret empirical findings
  • Apply understanding of theories of emotion and empirical research to answer current questions in Emotion science

Practical skills

  • Independently and collaboratively gather and organise material from various sources, including library and electronic sources
  • Present arguments coherently orally and in writing

Transferable skills and personal qualities

  • Teamwork
  • Independent research
  • Effective communication

Assessment methods

Discussion board engagement worth 16%, reading group engagement worth 4%, Video presentation worth 30% and exam worth 50%.

Feedback methods

Discussion Board Engagement - Students will receive credit for submission of summary.

Reading Group Engagement - Students will recieve grade.

Video presentation - Students will receive a grade and written feedback.

Exam - Students will receive a grade and written feedback provided after the Semester 1 exam board.

Recommended reading

There will not be a single recommended text book as the core course material will be recent journal articles. Some examples of references covered in the course:

E. Fox (2008). Emotion Science: An Integration of Cognitive and Neuroscientific Approaches. Palgrave Macmillan.

Chwalisz K, Diener E, Gallagher D. (1988). Autonomic arousal feedback and emotional experience: evidence from the spinal cord injured. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 54(5), 820-8.

Folkman S & Lazarus, R.S. (1985). If it changes it must be a process: Study of emotion and coping during three stages of a college examination. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 48 (1), 150-70.


Study hours

Independent study hours
Independent study 168

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Elizabeth Lewis Unit coordinator

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