Spring, 2014 Instructor: Andrea Heberlein
M/W/F 11AM [email protected]
Gasson 305 Tue 12:30-1:30pm, or by appt.; McGuinn 507
Marissa Digirolamo ( [email protected]
) W 12-1 or by appt; McGuinn 428E
Sarah Kark ([email protected]
) M 12-1 or by appt; McGuinn 504C
NOTE: THIS SYLLABUS IS A DRAFT AND MAY CHANGE THROUGH THE END OF THE
FIRST WEEK OF CLASS (I.E. 17 JAN 2014). ANY CHANGES WILL BE ANNOUNCED IN
CLASS, AND AN UPDATED VERSION POSTED ON BLACKBOARD.
What is an emotion? How can we scientifically study something so seemingly subjective and
personal? Where do emotions come from, in both evolutionary and proximate senses? What
are the functions of emotions, interpersonally and intrapersonally? How can we distinguish
emotions from moods or reflexes, and what categories might we distinguish among emotions?
What happens when emotions are dysfunctional? This course will focus on scientific,
experimentally-tractable attempts to answer these questions and others related to them.
The primary goal of this course is to develop students ’ understanding of psychological research: how
questions are formulated, what methods are used to test them, and how results are interpreted. When
you leave this course, you will be a more sophisticated consumer of the kind of blurbs in magazines
suggesting that, for example, “Indulging less frequently will make you happier long -term!” (How would
one measure that? Happier how? Is this true for everyone? In every situation?) Along the way, you will
learn about both classic and current research on emotion. An d you may also come to understand your
friends’—and your own—emotions more deeply, or at least from a new perspective.
Note that this course satisfies the Social Science core requirement, but does not count towards the
psychology majors. No background in psychology is required for this course.
Textbook: Emotion (Kalat, J. W. and Shiota, M. N. (2011) Thomson: Wadsworth Publishing. 2
Additional readings (listed at the end of the syllabus) will be posted on the course Blackboard site.
Please complete the readings before class. Most weeks have 2 main readings, where a textbook
chapter, research article, or review paper is one reading.
Course Blackboard Site:
Readings other than textbook chapters will be posted on the website a week in advance of the class in
which they will be discussed. Lecture slides will also be posted on the website shortly before each class
meeting, but note that these are not a substitute for note -taking (slides are provided so that you
don’t have to copy down figures, charts, terms, and names). Additional important information will be
posted on the course webpage, including handouts, FAQ, upcoming events, and example exam
1 Course Requirements:
Exams: There are three exams: two midterms and a final that emphasizes the last third of the class but
is cumulative. The exams each include multiple choice questions and short response questions, and
cover both lecture and text. Exam questions will be drawn from the required readings, and will require
you to integrate across topics. You may be tested on details that were in the reading but not discussed
in class; however, you will only be tested on topics covered in class (in other words, if I didn’t talk about
it at all, you don’t need to know about it for the exam). Example questions will be posted on the website
a few weeks before the exam date. Each midterm is worth 20% of your grade, and the final is worth
Quizzes: Six short quizzes, each designed to take 5-10 minutes, will be given during classt imes. These
will give you a hint for what the exam questions will look like (and some exam questions may even
repeat quiz questions). You may drop the lowest of these quizzes (or, if you miss one, that will
automatically count as your lowest grad e). The remaining 5 quizzes are each worth 2% of your grade,
for a total of 10%.
Assignments: There are two written assignments for this course. For the first assignment, you may
choose one of two options.
Assignment 1: Research proposal: This assignment requires you to apply some of the methods
we have discussed to address a research question related to topics covered in class. You will
define a research question and write a short (5 page) research proposal describing how you
would answer it. This proposal should follow a specific format, which we will cover in class a few
weeks before the assignment is due. (Briefly, these will include: a description of the question, a
clear statement of hypothesis, an explanation of measures and procedures, and an explanation
of possible results.) This assignment is worth 10% of your overall grade.
Assignment 2a: Emotion science in the news : This assignment requires you to find a newspaper
or magazine article of at least 300 words (in other words, longer than a little blurb in Co smo or
Maxim, but not necessarily a feature article either) that discusses psychological research related
to emotion. You will track down and read the original research report (in a scientific journal) on
which the popular press article is based. Following a format which we’ll cover in class a few
weeks before the assignment is due, you’ll then summarize the research report (about 2 -2.5 pp),
and give a brief critique of the popular press article which summarized it (.5 -1 pp, for about 3 pp
Assignment 2b: Participation in lab or online experiment : This assignment requires you to
participate in an experiment in the lab (signing up via SONA or via a flyer/signup in the
psychology department) or online. One good option for an online study, if you have a smart
phone (iPhone/Blackberry/etc.) is TrackYourHappiness. If you choose this option (check it out at
trackyourhappiness.org), you will need to start early in the semester, so choose early. After
participating, you will turn in a 3 page description of th e experiment and what you learned from
participating in it.
Assignment 2 (whichever option you choose) is worth 10% of your overall grade.
20% Exam 1
20% Exam 2
10% Assignment 1 (Emotion science in the news or Participation write-up, 3 pp)
10% Assignment 2 (Research proposal, 5 pp)
30% Final Exam
2 Grade cut-offs:
A >93.0 C- 70.0 – 72.9
A- 90.0 – 92.9 D+ 67.5 – 69.9
B+ 87.5 – 89.9 D 63.0 – 67.4
B 83.0 – 87.4 D- 60.0 – 62.9
B- 80.0 – 82.9
C+ 77.5 – 79.9
C 73.0 – 77.4
Blackboard: A copy of this syllabus will be posted on Blackboard. Downloadable copies of the lecture
slides, details on the paper assignment, and other course materials will be posted there as well.
Office hours: TUESDAY 12:30-1:30 or by appointment. I am happy to go over questions from the
lecture or reading, questions about assignments, or to discuss anything else at least marginally related
to the course and/or to psychological research. If your schedule conflicts with the posted of fice hours,
please email or talk to me to set up a mutually convenient alternative. Your TAs are also a great source
of help—please do not hesitate to talk to them!
Exam make-up policy: Exam make-ups may only be scheduled due to personal emergency (e.g., death
of a close family member), documented illness (with a doctor’s note) , or other BC-sanctioned excuses .
These must be discussed and approved before the scheduled exam time. No make-ups will be given
for simply missing an exam. If you miss an exam wit hout appropriate documentation, you will receive a
score of “0” for that exam.
Late policy: Written assignments must be turned in via Blackboard by the beginning of class (i.e., 11
AM) on the day they are due. Any assignment received after this tim(without BC-approved excuse,
such as those listed above for exam make -ups) will automatically receive a full letter grade deduction.
Any assignment received more than 48 hours after this time will not be gradeThe only exceptions to
the late policy are due to documented medical emergency. If you will have a foreseeable conflict before
the paper is