Psychology 408 – Human Emotions

Summer 2001

Instructor: Carien van Reekum

Office: 392 Psychology

Office Hours: W 12.00-1.00 pm or by appointment (or send your questions by email)

Office Phone: 262-9937


Class Time: MTWR 8:55-10:10, Room 121 Psychology

Texts: 1) Cornelius, R. R. (1996). The science of emotion. Upper Saddle River NJ: Prentice Hall. This textbook is available at Canterbury Bookstore, 315 W. Gorham Street (just west of State Street), phone: 258-9911

2) Copies of

will be placed on reserve in the 4th floor reading room of the Psychology building.

Course objectives

- to gain an understanding of the main questions the field of emotion research has and needs to address

- to explore what a "good" theory of emotion needs to account for

- to discuss possible functions of emotions

- to better understand the numerous aspects of emotion which occur in addition to subjective experience

- to understand the implications of emotion in social settings, for health, well-being, and psychopathology

Important Dates & Grading

T 7/3 Exam 1 100 pts.

Th 7/19 Exam 2 100 pts.

Th 8/9 Exam 3 (non-cumulative) 100 pts.

300 pts.


The three exams will consist of short answer questions. The last exam will NOT be cumulative. Each exam will be worth 30% of your grade. There will be NO make-up exams. If you have a legitimate conflict with a scheduled exam, you may arrange to take that exam in advance. Such arrangements must be made with the course instructor at least two weeks prior to the scheduled exam date. Otherwise, no make-up exams will be given.

Extra Credit

It is possible to earn up to 10 points of extra credit by completing reaction papers for upcoming class readings. Each reaction paper is worth a maximum of five points and you can do up to two papers. A sign-up sheet will be passed out at the beginning of the course & you can sign up for 0, 1, or 2 papers. These reaction papers should be about 2 double-spaced pages (with reasonable margins and font size). The content of these papers is quite flexible, but the paper should consist of your reactions to the reading, for example, what you found most interesting or important, and why, what questions remain unanswered and how researchers may want to answer them, or any critique you may have of the reading.

Attendance and Class Participation

Class attendance is not mandatory. However, for the optimal educational experience class attendance is highly encouraged. A substantial portion of the material covered in lecture will NOT be in the required readings. If you miss class notes will not be provided by the instructor, so you are encouraged to get notes from another student in class. In addition, the course schedule below is tentative and changes in the schedule are likely. Schedule changes will be announced in class. It is your responsibility to be aware of such changes and to find out what material you missed.

Topics and readings

Week 1 (June 18 – June 21)

M-T What is an emotion?

Cornelius, Ch. 1

Nature of Emotion, Q. 2

W-Th Historical perspectives on emotion and the function of emotion

Oatley & Jenkins, Ch. 1

Nature of Emotion, Q. 3 Frijda

Cornelius, p. 18-31

Week 2 (June 25 – June 28)

M-T Facial expression

Cornelius, Ch. 2

Hock, p. 166-174 on Ekman & Friesen (’71)

W-Th Peripheral psychophysiology

Cornelius, p. 220-224

Cornelius, ch. 3 until p. 97

Nature of Emotion, Q. 6 Levenson

Week 3 (July 2 – July 5)

M Peripheral psychophysiology (continued), summary of responses



Th Facial feedback

Cornelius, ch. 3, p.97 to end

Week 4 (July 9 – July 12)

M Vocal expression

Johnstone & Scherer (2000)

T Emotion regulation

W-Th Brain and emotion

Cornelius Appendix

Oatley & Jenkins, ch. 5





Week 5 (July 16 – July 19)

M Brain and emotion (continued)

T Development of emotion

Oatley & Jenkins, ch. 6

W Individual differences in the development of emotionality


Week 6 (July 23 – July 26)

M-T Appraisal theories

Cornelius, ch. 4

W-Th Emotion, attention, and memory

Oatley & Jenkins, 263-277

Week 7 (July 30 - Aug 2)

M-Th Social and cultural perspectives on emotion

Cornelius, ch. 5

Week 8 (Aug 6 – Aug 9)

M-T Review of emotion theories

Cornelius, ch. 6

W Summary and discussion




Course announcements will sometimes be made via email (e.g., changes in exam dates, ore reading assignments, etc.). Thus, students are responsible for making sure their email accounts are active and working. To obtain an email address, registered students can go to the following website: Once you are there, click on "Activate Account" and proceed through the steps. To verify that your email is working properly, just send yourself an email. Next, to get on the Class List, you must be registered for this course and your email address must be on file with the Registrar. To make sure your email address is on file with the Registrar, go to If your email still isn’t working or you find that you are not getting class list emails, call the Do-It Help Desk at 264-4357.


The department will take steps to expel any student found guilty of cheating, including looking at notes or other students’ papers during exams, changing answers once exams are marked, or plagiarizing written work.

Where to take complaints about a Teaching Assistant or Course Instructor

Occasionally a student may have a complaint about a T.A. or course instructor. If that happens, you should feel free to discuss the matter directly with the T.A. or instructor. If the complaint is about the T.A. and you do not feel comfortable discussing it with him/her, you should discuss it with the course instructor. If you do not feel the instructor has resolved the matter to your satisfaction, then you should speak to the Psychology Undergraduate Advisor, Ms. Arlene Davenport (room 428 Psychology) or the Department Chair, Professor Janet Hyde (room 238 Psychology). You should also speak to either of these individuals if the complaint is about the instructor and you do not feel comfortable discussing it directly with him/her.

If you believe the T.A. or course instructor has discriminated against you because of your religion, race, gender, sexual orientation, or ethnic background, you also may take your complaint to the Affirmative Action Office (room 175 Bascom Hall). If your complaint has to do with sexual harassment, you may also take your complaint to Ms. Arlene Davenport, the Psychology Department sexual harassment contact person.