Module Information

Module Identifier
Module Title
Emotion & Mood: a Historical and Applied Perspective
Academic Year
Semester 2
External Examiners
  • Dr Jane Morgan (Principal Lecturer - Sheffield Hallam University)
Other Staff

Course Delivery

Delivery Type Delivery length / details
Seminar 2 x 1 Hour Seminars
Lecture 12 x 2 Hour Lectures


Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment Essay 1200 words  40%
Semester Exam 2 Hours   written exam  60%
Supplementary Assessment Essay 1200 words  40%
Supplementary Exam 2 Hours   Resit failed component or as determined by the exam board Essay (1200 words) Exam (2 hours)   60%

Learning Outcomes

On completion of this module, students should be able to:

1. Describe the history of the study and conceptualisation of emotion and mood from Descartes to the present day
2. Discuss and critique functional accounts of emotion and mood
3. Describe and critique the concept(s) of emotional intelligence
4. Describe methods by which emotion and mood may be regulated and managed, and the relationship between these processes and self control
5. Critically appraise research methods used in the study of emotion and mood, from self report and introspection through to physiological and neuroimaging techniques

Brochure Text

The study of emotion and mood, often referred to by psychologists as ‘affect’, has historically been overshadowed by the study of cognition and behaviour. Recent developments in neuroscience, allied to an increasingly comprehensive understanding of the role of emotion and mood in cognition and behaviour relating to decision making, physical and mental health, interpersonal relationships/social harmony, and human performance, has led to a resurgence of interest in affective phenomena. The module will provide students with the unique opportunity to adopt a historical, scientific, critical and applied perspective towards emotion and mood. It will also maintain throughout a strong critical focus on methods of data collection and analysis used in relevant research. It will contribute substantially to students’ understanding of human thought and behaviour.

Brief description

Affect, behaviour and cognition have been termed ‘the ABC of Psychology’. Whilst 20th century psychology was arguably characterised by the study of Behavioural and Cognitive Psychology, a resurgence of interest in emotion and mood suggests that the study of affect might similarly characterise psychology in the early 21st Century. Many argue that this interest in emotion and mood, which are after all often cited as defining characteristics of what it is to ‘be human’, is long overdue and could usher in new approaches to the treatment of mental and physical pathology, could help societies to better understand deviant behaviours, and could lead scientists to a greater understanding of human potential. The module will address historical and conceptual issues relating to emotion and mood and will address debates relating to function and definition. It will then focus on specific phenomena such as emotional factors in intelligence, perception and decision making, health and psychopathology, and performance. It will conclude with a focus on applications such as emotion regulation, self control, and mood management. In fact throughout the modules a strong emphasis will be placed on application of emotion and mood theory to real world problems, in for example physical and mental health, interpersonal relationships/social harmony, and human performance. Whilst by no means a ‘self help’ course, it is anticipated that students will, on completion, have acquired a greater understanding of relationships between their emotions and moods and various aspects of their lives, as well as a clear evidence-based understanding of strategies used in modifying emotion and mood towards desired outcomes. The module is led by an academic with numerous publications in the field, many of which will directly inform the module content.


The module aims to provide students with a clear understanding of the history of the study of emotion (based as much in philosophy as in psychology), to examine and critique functional accounts, to understand the strengths and limitations of emotion and mood research, and to become familiar, and even adept in, recognising and regulating both normal and disordered emotions and mood. It will have a strong applied focus that will enable students to better understand their own emotions and moods and how best to modify each towards better physical health, mental health and academic performance.


Week 1. Introduction to affect, emotion, & mood
Week 2. The past history of emotion & mood: Descarte’s Error to Darwin’s Evolution
Week 3. Modern functional accounts of emotion: Damasio, LeDoux and Pinker
Week 4. Emotional intelligence: science or pseudoscience?
Week 5. Emotion & mood in health: the placebo effect and psychoneuroimmunology
Week 6. Emotion & mood in performance: flow, anxiety, reversals & catastrophes
Week 7. Disorders of emotion and mood
Week 8. Emotion regulation and coping
Week 9. Self Control, will power and ego depletion
Week 10. Mood Management
Week 11. The future history of emotion & mood? From philosophy to neurophysiology
Week 12. Summary

Module Skills

Skills Type Skills details
Application of Number Not directly applicable although students will be introduced to the key concepts of psychometric instruments statistical analysis as they apply to emotion and mood
Communication Students will be required to communicate often complex relationships between emotion, behaviour and outcomes. They will be expected to describe and discuss emotion and mood using academic/scientific language and terminology, avoiding the pitfall of lay explanations for emotional phenomena.
Improving own Learning and Performance The module aims to promote self-management but within a context of assistance from both the facilitator and the fellow students alike. Students will be expected to improve their own learning and performance by undertaking their own work and to exercise their own initiative, including searching for sources, and deciding the direction of their essay. The need to meet an essay deadline will focus students’ attention on the need to manage their time and opportunity resources well.
Information Technology Good use of word processing, database, search engine and reference management programmes will be required.
Personal Development and Career planning Whilst not a self-help course, the course will emphasize the range of evidence based strategies used in the regulation of emotion and self control and used in the prevention and management of mood disorder. Many of these will enable students to adopt a self help approach to the management of these processes both during and beyond their undergraduate years.
Problem solving Students will be required to solve problems of the form ‘how might emotion x be useful, how might it have evolved, and how might it be regulated?’.
Research skills Students will be required to identify key writings and data relating to emotion and mood and to synthesise these into coherent arguments relating to specific questions, for example “Anxiety is often considered to be an undesirable emotion. However, functional accounts of anxiety suggest that there are situations in which it is useful. With reference to theory and research address the contention that anxiety might be a useful emotion.”
Subject Specific Skills Students will acquire an understanding of emotion regulation, mood management and self-control skills
Team work


This module is at CQFW Level 5