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Theory and Research on Emotion

University of Warwick

Department of Psychology 2019/20

Module Code:


Module Name:

Theory and Research on Emotion

Module Credits (CATS):


Module Convener

Adrian von Muhlenen / Elisabeth Blagrove

Module Teachers

Elisabeth Blagrove

Module Aims

The aim of this module is to provide a broad overview of theories and studies on emotions. Many different disciplines have produced work on emotions. This course 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 course will work out differences between emotions and other similar constructs such as mood, well-being, stress, and emotional intelligence. The course 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. In the seminars we will read and discuss research and overview papers, on topics that 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 demonstrate:

  • 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:

  • Assessed work & exam
  • Assessed work
  • Exam
  • Exam
  • Exam
  • Assessed work & exam

Module Work Load

Module Length

12 weeks


One two-hour lecture per week


One one-hour seminar per week


Attendance at lectures is compulsory

Module Assessment

Assessed work:

Seminar exercises

one research proposal writing assignment (1500 words)



Exam: One two-hour unseen examination


Module Reading List

The module is based on the following textbook:

Kringelbach, M. L. & Phillips H. (2014). Emotion: Pleasure and pain in the brain. Oxford: OUP.

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

Illustrative Reading

Coan, J.A., & Allen, J.J.B. (2007). Handbook of Emotion Elicitation and Assessment. New York: Oxford University Press.

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.

Goleman, D. (2005). Emotional Intelligence. New York: Bantam Books.

Jenkins, J.M. (1998). Human Emotions: A Reader. Cambridge: Blackwell.

Lazarus, R. S. (1991). Emotion and adaptation. New York: Oxford Univ. Press.

Lewis, M., Haviland-Jones, J. M., & Feldman Barrett, L. (2010). Handbook of Emotions (3rd ed.). 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 ed.). 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 (5th ed.) Maidenhead: Wiley.