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Theory and Research on Emotion

University of Warwick

Department of Psychology 2021/22

Module Code:


Module Name:

Theories and Research on Emotion

Module Credits (CATS):


Module Convener

Adrian von Muhlenen

Module Teachers

Elisabeth Blagrove

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).

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.

Assessed by:

Seminar exercises, research proposal and exam.

Module Work Load

Module Length

12 Weeks


One two-hour lecture per week


One one-hour seminar per week


Attendance at lectures and seminars is compulsory

Module Assessment

Assessed work:

Research Proposal

Seminar Exercises






Module Programme


The Nature and Measurement of Affect

The Structure of Emotion

The Effect of Cognition on Emotions

The Effect of Emotion on Cognition

Communication of Emotions

Emotion and Individual Differences

Emotion in the Workplace

Emotion, Social Life and Culture

Emotion, Mental Health, and Well-being

Revision Lecture

Revision Lecture

Module Reading List

Damasio, A. (2005). Descartes' Error: Emotion, Reason, and the Human Brain. London: Penguin Books. 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.