Yale University - Psychology 131 - Human Emotion
Dr. June Gruber - Yale Psychology - Research Methods in Happiness - Psych 231


Course Description

Welcome! This course will introduce students to a diverse array of theoretical and empirical issues related to the study of human emotion. Some questions the course will address include: What are our emotions? What purpose do they serve? How do emotions relate to our thoughts, memories, and behaviors towards others? What happens when our emotional responses go awry? Although these questions date back to early philosophical texts, only recently have experimental psychologists begun to explore this vast and exciting domain of study. The course will begin by discussing the evolutionary origins of distinct emotions such as love, anger, fear, and disgust. We will ask how emotions might color our cognitive processes such as thinking and memory, emotion and the brain, development of emotions in childhood, and how emotions shape our social relationships. We will also consider how these methods can be applied to studying mental illness in both children and adults. We conclude by studying the pursuit of happiness and well-being, trying to understand what makes us happy.

Course Structure

1. Videotaped Lectures: Conceptual Foundation in the Science of Emotion

You will be required to watch a series of videotaped lecture by Professor Gruber. Each lecture video is approximately one-hour long, split up into 3 smaller ~20- minute modules. Each week, you will be expected to watch 4 lectures (i.e., or 4 lectures x 3 brief modules = 12 modules total) totaling approximately 4-5 hours per week of video lectures. There are a total of 20 lecture videos for the entire course. The videotaped lectures contain presentation of background material via slides, videos and exercises; and conclude with take-away questions at the end. It is critical that you view all videotaped lectures in order to do well in this course. It is important that you take notes during each lecture to ensure successful comprehension of the material.

2. Background Readings: Scientific Exposure to the Study of Emotion

To get the most out of this course, it is important that you understand the readings. The lectures will be coordinated to complement your readings. Please read the assigned chapters and/or articles before watching the assigned lecture video. This will allow for a better understanding of the lecture and also give you the opportunity to ask questions. Readings will be drawn from a textbook and empirical journal articles.

Course Requirements & Grading

1. Course Material Comprehension - 2 Exams (30% each x 2 exams = 60% total)

There will be 2 non-cumulative exams in this course. Each exam will cover approximately 1/2 of the course material covered in lectures and readings. Exams may consist of multiple-choice, short-answer, and essay questions that involve critical thinking about concepts drawn from the readings and lectures. The purpose of the exams is two-fold. First, you should be able to demonstrate that you have read and watched the material and understood the factual points and arguments. Second, you should be able to synthesize and integrate the material such that this knowledge can be applied in a broader context. Unfortunately, there will be no exam make-ups given the accelerated summer course schedule.

2. Critical Thinking - Weekly Response (1 posted response per week x 5 weeks = 5 total; 5% each = 25% total)

To encourage active engagement and critical thinking about the course material, you are required to submit one weekly response for a total of 5 responses. The goal is to spark critical thinking and consideration of the theoretical issues or common themes raised in the science of emotion. Question prompts will be available for that week's lectures at the beginning of the week (i.e., available Monday at 12:00am MT). You will have until the end of that same week to submit your response corresponding to that week's lectures (i.e., Friday at 11:59pm MT). For example, during week 1 discussion sample question prompts for Lectures 1-4 will be available, and you should submit your response no later than the end of that week, for a total of 1 total discussion responses submitted each week. For each week, you will be provided with several options to choose from each week's lecture and are required to select only 1 question per week to respond to (we want to give you intellectual freedom to choose!). Your response should Posted on the online discussion post section on the D2L course website. The response should be roughly ½ page in length, single-spaced, 12-pt font, with your full name and student ID at the top. Examples will be provided. Answers will be assigned one of the following three grades: '1' (full credit), '1⁄2' (half-credit), or '0' (no credit). For each calendar day it is turned in late, you will have 10% of your score deducted.

3. Class Participation -- Peer Responses (5 weeks x 2% each = 10% total)

Your participation in this course is vital to your success. As such, we expect that each of you contribute meaningfully to class online discussion posts. Specifically, each week you will respond to least one classmate's post by the end of the week (i.e., Friday by 11:59pm MT) for a total of 5 posted responses by the end of the term. Please do not wait to submit all 5 at the end of the semester, but follow the above guidelines for 1 response posted per week. Your response should Posted on the online discussion post section on the D2L course website. These responses should be approximately 2-3 sentences and no longer than ½ page total. Answers will be assigned one of the following three grades: '1' (full credit), '1⁄2' (half-credit), or '0' (no credit). For each calendar day it is turned in late, you will have 10% of your score deducted.

Extra Credit Opportunity

Extra credit opportunities are available for interested students. Extra credit is worth 5% maximum of your total grade. This is the only extra credit opportunity available so take advantage!

Online Interviews with Emotion Experts. Each lecture in class is paired with a ~15-minute "Experts in Emotion Interview" containing a videotaped conversation with Professor Gruber and an expert scholar in emotion from the field. These are noted at the end of each video lecture, and freely available for viewing: (http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLh9mgdi4rNew731mjIZn43G_Y5otqKzJA). For extra credit, you have the option to submit a 1-page, single-spaced, 12-pt Times New Roman font, reaction to watching the online interview that accompanies the specific class lecture, discussing and critically analyzing the major themes discussed in each video. Responses are due no later than Friday 11:59pm MT by the end of each week for that week's lectures. No late extra credit responses are accepted. Submit your response to the D2L course website. For every 5 full-credit responses (i.e., assigned a grade of a '1') submitted, you will receive 1% extra credit point toward your final grade, for a maximum of 25 responses that can be submitted totaling to 5% total extra credit. A handout detailing requirements and format for this extra credit assignment will be provided.

Readings and Materials

Please read assigned chapters and/or articles before the class meeting on the assigned date.

Textbook: Understanding Emotions, 3rd Edition. Oatley, Keltner, & Jenkins. Available for purchase at the CU Bookstore or online (e.g., www.amazon.com).

Articles: Articles outside of textbook will be available to download as PDF files off the course website.


A rough grading scheme is below. Grades will typically be rounded up to the nearest % point. Students who actively participate and engage in the course may enhance borderline grades.

% Points Grade

92.5-100 A
89.5-92.4 A-
87.5-89.4 B+
82.5-87.4 B
79.5-82.4 B-
77.5-79.4 C+
72.5-77.4 C
69.5-72.5 C-
67.5-69.4 D+
62.5-67.4 D
59.5-62.5 D-
57.5-59.4 F+
52.5-57.4 F
50.0-52.4 F

Course Policies

1. Disability

If you qualify for accommodations because of a disability, please submit to your professor a letter from Disability Services in a timely manner (for exam accommodations provide your letter at least one week prior to the exam) so that your needs can be addressed. Disability Services determines accommodations based on documented disabilities. Contact Disability Services at 303-492-8671 or by e-mail at dsinfo@colorado.edu. If you have a temporary medical condition or injury, see Temporary Medical Conditions: Injuries, Surgeries, and Illnesses guidelines under Quick Links at Disability Services website and discuss your needs with your professor.

2. Religious Observances

Campus policy regarding religious observances requires that faculty make every effort to deal reasonably and fairly with all students who, because of religious obligations, have conflicts with scheduled exams, assignments or required attendance. In this class, make-up assignments will be considered only if written notice is provided at least 1 full week prior to the scheduled course due date. See full details at http://www.colorado.edu/policies/fac_relig.html

3. Classroom Behavior

Students and faculty each have responsibility for maintaining an appropriate learning environment. Those who fail to adhere to such behavioral standards may be subject to discipline. Professional courtesy and sensitivity are especially important with respect to individuals and topics dealing with differences of race, color, culture, religion, creed, politics, veteran's status, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity and gender expression, age, disability, and nationalities. Class rosters are provided to the instructor with the student's legal name. I will gladly honor your request to address you by an alternate name or gender pronoun. Please advise me of this preference early in the semester so that I may make appropriate changes to my records. See policies at http://www.colorado.edu/policies/classbehavior.html and at http://www.colorado.edu/studentaffairs/judicialaffairs/code.html#student_code

4. Discrimination and Harassment

The University of Colorado Boulder (CU-Boulder) is committed to maintaining a positive learning, working, and living environment. The University of Colorado does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age, disability, creed, religion, sexual orientation, or veteran status in admission and access to, and treatment and employment in, its educational programs and activities. (Regent Law, Article 10, amended 11/8/2001). CU-Boulder will not tolerate acts of discrimination or harassment based upon Protected Classes or related retaliation against or by any employee or student. For purposes of this CU-Boulder policy, "Protected Classes" refers to race, color, national origin, sex, pregnancy, age, disability, creed, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, or veteran status. Individuals who believe they have been discriminated against should contact the Office of Discrimination and Harassment (ODH) at 303-492-2127 or the Office of Student Conduct (OSC) at 303-492- 5550. Information about the ODH, the above referenced policies, and the campus resources available to assist individuals regarding discrimination or harassment can be obtained at http://hr.colorado.edu/dh/

5. Honor Code

All students of the University of Colorado at Boulder are responsible for knowing and adhering to the academic integrity policy of this institution. Violations of this policy may include: cheating, plagiarism, aid of academic dishonesty, fabrication, lying, bribery, and threatening behavior. All incidents of academic misconduct shall be reported to the Honor Code Council (honor@colorado.edu; 303-735-2273). Students who are found to be in violation of the academic integrity policy will be subject to both academic sanctions from the faculty member and non-academic sanctions (including but not limited to university probation, suspension, or expulsion). Other information on the Honor Code can be found at http://www.colorado.edu/policies/honor.html and at http://honorcode.colorado.edu

6. Regrades

Regrades will ONLY be considered in extremely exceptional circumstances. If you have any inquiries about grading, first talk to the Professor to check for miscommunications or errors. Any regrade will be subject to regrading and your score could go up or down (and often it goes down). Advice: Don't ask for regrades unless there is a blatant error.