Module Description

Module Description

Overview

The ability to experience emotions has numerous consequences, both desirable and undesirable, as emotions can colour our perception, drive or deter our daily pursuits, and, in the long run, shape whether we feel satisfied or disgruntled with life. This module focuses on the roles that emotions play in various areas of life, such as arts, religion, and material consumption. There will be multi-disciplinary, reflective discussions, grounded on rigorous psychological research that enables a deeper appreciation of abstract theories and sound application of these theories in real life.

Objective

  • Good understanding of the issues in emotion psychology.
  • Critical analysis. Are theories and findings in emotion science sound and reliable? If not, why not? Develop the ability to make sound critiques.
  • Insight. Does an idea give a different perspective to a familiar issue or incident? Does it enable you to predict what may happen next? Insight also means having the discernment to see through a concept for what it really is. Sometimes, an idea sounds simple, but behind its subtlety are profound implications. Other times, an idea sounds deep, but hidden beneath its convoluted exposition is just a simple and unimpressive notion.
  • Generating new ideas/knowledge. Can you push an idea further and make it better? If you are research-inclined, can you propose a new research question that can bring the field to the next level or suggest ways to improve the methodological design of a past study?
  • Application. How might you use this idea in everyday life (e.g., sell your product, inspire your employees, or motivate yourself to complete that marathon)? The knowledge you learn in class is not meant to be discarded after an exam and left to decay in the deep recess of your mind.
  • Communication. Share what you know. It is not just about being to write a good term paper with the usual academic sophistication. It is also about being able to communicate complex concepts clearly to any one and have the person feel excited.
  • An appreciation of research findings. Research findings will inevitably be discussed, but there is no requirement for prior research background to appreciate them. Research discussions will be guided by the instructor, pitched at a level that is clear even to the general public.
  • Above all, inspiration. Leave each class wanting to know more. Develop an intellectual entrepreneurship to create, test, evaluate, communicate, and apply new ideas.

Approach

This is a 4-hr, largely seminar-style, class. In most weeks, I will do some lectures which are important to give students a basic exposure to the issues which should be helpful particularly to non-Psychology majors. These aren’t meant to be passive lectures in which students just listen, because several questions will be thrown out for students to reflect and debate on. More of such lecturing will be done on the 1st three weeks, following weeks, the module will become more and more seminar-like where students participation will increase. These latter weeks will discuss the role of emotions in applied contexts such as art, religion, and material consumption. Students are expected to participate in interactive, generative, and vigorous discussions, mainly of the assigned weekly readings but can also be of other materials selected by the students. Students also present research papers (in groups) in these few weeks.

Assignment

Individual Participation: 10%
Presentation of Research Article: 20%
Midterm paper: 25%
Research Proposal Paper: 25%
Presentation of Applied Project: 20%