Effective: Late Fall 8-Week, 2018/2019

PSYC 270: Psychology Of Emotion

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  Course Description

Study of brain based, sociocultural, and cognitive approaches to emotion, their structure and function and regulation within the social context, the influence of emotion on learning and memory, judgment process, attention, and emotion regulation. The course introduces theory and research in the study of emotion through archival research, writing, and presentation to peers.

Prerequisite: PSYC 101 or PSYC 260

Proctored Exams: None


As part of TruitionSM, students will receive their course materials automatically as described below.


  •  American Psychological Association. (2010). Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (6th ed). Washington, DC: APA.  eText
  •  Evans, D. (2003). Emotion: A very short introduction.New York: Oxford University Press.  eText
  •  Johnston, E. and Olson, L. (2015). The feeling brain: The biology and psychology of emotions.New York: Norton.  eText

Bookstore Information

Visit https://www.ccis.edu/bookstore.aspx for details.

eText Information

If a course uses an eText, (see Textbook information above) the book will be available directly in Desire2Learn (D2L) and through the VitalSource eText reader the Friday before the session begins, if registered for courses prior to that date.  Students will have a VitalSource account created for them using their CougarMail email address. Upon first login to VitalSource, students may need to verify their account and update their VitalSource password.  More information about how to use the VitalSource platform, including offline access to eTexts, can be found in D2L.  Students that would like to order an optional print-on-demand copy of eligible eTexts can do so through the VitalSource bookshelf at an additional cost.  Once orders are placed, it can take approximately five to seven business days for students to receive their print-on-demand books.

Physical Course Materials Information

Students enrolled in courses that require physical materials will receive these materials automatically at the address on file with Columbia College.  Delivery date of physical materials is dependent on registration date and shipping location.  Please refer to confirmation emails sent from Ed Map for more details on shipping status.

Returns: Students who drop a course with physical course materials will be responsible for returning those items to Ed Map within 30 days of receipt of the order.  More specific information on how to do so will be included in the package received from Ed Map.  See here for Ed Map's return policy. Failure to return physical items from a dropped course will result in a charge to the student account for all unreturned items.

Note: Students who opt-out of having their books provided as part of TruitionSM are responsible for purchasing their own course materials.

  Course Overview

This course will introduce you to general questions and issues in the study of emotion, with a focus on the neurophysiology and psychology of emotion. We will explore brain components and how emotion is regulated. As such, this course will be an introduction to neuroscience and neurophysiology. We will examine the functions of emotion, the neural basis for emotions, how emotion is involved in learning and memory, its influences on thinking and decision-making and the regulation of emotion in the body. Finally, we will explore how emotion may be a link to the future in robotics and adapted humans. We ask questions and conduct archival research to learn more about the fascinating role that emotion plays in making us human.

This course will also serve as an opportunity to improve your APA writing and scholarly research skills. You will develop a review of research over the course of the session.

  Technology Requirements

Participation in this course will require the basic technology for all online classes at Columbia College:
  • A computer with reliable Internet access
  • A web browser
  • Acrobat Reader
  • Microsoft Office or another word processor such as Open Office

You can find more details about standard technical requirements for our courses on our site.

  Course Learning Outcomes

  1. Understand and communicate the definition of emotion
  2. Identify fundamental components of the brain that regulate emotions.
  3. Demonstrate competence in conducting archival research in peer-reviewed journals.
  4. Demonstrate competence in writing archival research papers following APA style.
  5. Participate in peer-review of written products of archival research.


Grading Scale

Grade Points Percent
A 900-1000 90-100%
B 800-899 80-89%
C 700-799 70-79%
D 600-699 60-69%
F 0-599 0-59%

Grade Weights

Assignment Category Points Percent
Discussions 400 40%
APA Briefs 160 16%
Research Paper 440 44%
Total 1000 100%

  Schedule of Due Dates

Week 1

Assignment Points Due
Introduction 20 Wednesday
Discussion 1 20 Wednesday/Sunday
Discussion 2 20

Week 2

Assignment Points Due
Discussion 3 20 Wednesday/Sunday
Discussion 4 20
APA Paper: Research Question 80 Sunday

Week 3

Assignment Points Due
Discussion 5 20 Wednesday/Sunday
Discussion 6 20
APA Paper: Artricle Summary 1 80 Sunday

Week 4

Assignment Points Due
Discussion 7 20 Wednesday/Sunday
Discussion 8 20
APA Paper: Article Summary 2 80 Sunday

Week 5

Assignment Points Due
Discussion 9 20 Wednesday/Sunday
Discussion 10 20
APA Paper: Abstract 80 Sunday

Week 6

Assignment Points Due
Discussion 11 20 Wednesday/Sunday
Discussion 12 20
APA Paper: Annotated Bibliography 80 Sunday

Week 7

Assignment Points Due
Discussion 13 20 Wednesday/Sunday
Discussion 14: Peer Review 80

Week 8

Assignment Points Due
Final Research Paper 200 Wednesday
Discussion 15 20 Wednesday/Saturday
Discussion 16 20
Total Points: 1000

  Assignment Overview


Each week the class will focus on key questions in the study of emotion. There will be two discussion topics each week. The discussions explore basic questions related to the chapter readings and will help you think about how psychology and neuroscience research is being conducted to better understand human emotion. You will find that the weekly discussions are enjoyable if you do the assigned readings and a bit of research and thinking about your own views on the questions. Ideas from your course discussions may be used to build content for your final paper in this course.

You are expected to respond to at least three other students in each discussion. Be sure to use correct APA style to cite sources within your discussion posts and provide a reference at the end of your posts. The due date for your initial post answering the discussion question will be on Wednesdays. The due date for all response posts is on Sundays, except for week 8. Late posts will earn 0 points. You will find a detailed grading rubric in the course. Note that in the majority of discussions you are required to make your initial post before you can read others’ posts.

Research Paper

You will write a research paper that explores a question about emotion in some depth. You will develop this paper through a series of writing assignments over the course of the session:

  • Week 2: Brief APA paper: Research Question
  • Week 3: Brief APA paper: Article Summary #1
  • Week 4: Brief APA paper: Article Summary #2
  • Week 5: Abstract
  • Week 6: Annotated Bibliography
  • Week 7: Writer’s Workshop (peer review of your paper)
  • Week 8: Final Paper

Brief APA Papers

The brief, 3-page papers are exercises designed to help you build the bones of a good APA paper. The focus of the papers is on the archival research and writing process. In the initial paper you will present the research question that you will examine in your final paper for the course. For the remaining two briefs, you will research and summarize an article relevant to your research question. The writing of these briefs will provide research necessary for the final paper.


You will submit an abstract for your final paper.

Annotated Bibliography

You will submit an annotated bibliography in APA style for your final paper.

Writer’s Workshop

In this discussion, you will submit a draft of your final paper for peer-review and provide comments for your classmates’ papers.

Final Research Paper

Your final paper should include 3 references (with in-text citations). This traditional research paper should be well-organized and concisely written. All in-text citations and references must be in current APA style. You will find more details about the assignments and sample papers in the Content area of the course.

  Course Outline

Click on each week to view details about the activities scheduled for that week.

Johnston & Olson: Chapters 1 & 2
Darwin, C. R. (1872). Chapter V, Special Expressions of Animals. In The expression of the emotions in man and animals. (pp. 116-146).
Introduce yourself to your classmates and instructor in this initial discussion. Think about how emotions have played a role in the development of your character. Do you think that your emotional characteristics are learned through experience or are they innate? Provide an example from your experience to support your view. Respond with a greeting to a minimum of 3 of your classmates.
Discussion 1
How did the scientific study of emotion begin and become so central to our understanding of human behavior? Provide examples from Johnston and Olson to support your view. Cite sources of information and provide a reference in APA format, consulting your APA Publication Manual for guidance. Read and respond, with substance, to a minimum of 3 of your peers.
Discussion 2
This week you read Chapter V of Darwin’s publication: The expression of the emotions in man and animals. In it, Darwin meticulously described the emotional expressions of dogs and other animals. How do you think he would answer the question what is an emotion? Write your response and provide an in-text citation and reference in APA style. Respond substantively to a minimum of 3 other students’ posts.
Johnston & Olson: Chapter 3
Evans: Chapter 1
Discussion 3
Based on your readings this week, or additional research through the Stafford Library’s resources, what are some of the key functions of emotions? (A link to a class research guide is on the home page of this course.) Provide in-text citations and references in APA style. Respond substantively to a minimum of 3 other students’ posts.
Discussion 4
After reading chapter 1 of Evans, what do you think is the most compelling evidence for emotion as a universal language? Explain your thinking and provide in-text citations and references in APA format. Respond substantively to a minimum of 3 other students’ posts.
APA Paper: Research Question
Propose a research question that you will answer in your research paper for this course. For ideas, read the table of contents in your textbooks, or think about questions you have about emotion and the brain and body. Then, search scholarly journals to find research that has been published on your topic. You must cite at least one peer-reviewed journal article that explores your question. Follow additional instructions in the course Content area for this 3-page brief paper. Submit it to its respective assignment dropbox. Due Sunday.
Johnston & Olson: Chapter 4
Evans: Chapter 2
Discussion 5
Which neural substrates (components) of the brain are involved with the emotions of fear and anxiety? Provide an example of a particular moment when you experienced a strong emotion of fear or anxiety and describe which structures and neural pathways that might have been involved in helping you cope. Cite a source from your course texts in your initial post and provide a reference in APA format. Respond substantively to a minimum of 3 other students’ posts.
Discussion 6
Consider Joseph LeDoux’s definition of emotion and feeling, (see Johnston & Olson, pp. 86-87) and the definition provided in Evans (pp. 26-32). Explain why you agree or disagree with their suggestions that emotions and feelings are separate. Provide an in-text citation to support your thinking and a reference in APA style. Respond substantively to a minimum of 3 other student’s posts.
APA Paper: Artricle Summary 1
Identify one peer-reviewed journal article which you plan to use for your research paper. (For research assistance, refer to the Stafford Library’s Psychology Resource Guide on the course home page.) Write a brief (3-page) APA format paper in which you respond fully to the questions listed in the course Content area. Include a complete bibliographic reference in APA style for the article at the end of your paper. Submit it to the appropriate assignment dropbox. Due Sunday.
Johnston & Olson: Chapter 5
Evans: Chapter 3
Discussion 7
Based on your reading in course texts or additional research in Stafford Library’s resources, explore the explanations for changes in Phineas Gage’s behavior. Provide your informed view about how and why his behavior changed. Cite sources that support your view in APA format. Respond substantively to a minimum of 3 other students’ posts.
Discussion 8

Based on your reading of “A Case Study of Damage to the Ventromedial Prefrontal Cortex” in Johnston and Olson, what are Damasio’s suggestions about the neurological similarities between Phineas Gage’s accident and the deficits he finds in Elliot, a patient who came to him after the removal of a non-malignant brain tumor? Discuss this case and share your view of the role of the body in emotions and decision-making.

Find a scholarly article that discusses anosognosia. Provide the abstract and keywords from the article in your discussion and describe, in your own words, the major thesis of the article. Respond and provide peer-review to at least 3 of your peers’ posts.

APA Paper: Article Summary 2
Identify a second peer-reviewed journal article or book, with assistance from the Stafford Library Psychology Resource Guide, which you plan to use for your research paper. Write a brief (3-page) APA format paper in which you respond fully to the questions listed in the course Content area. Include a complete bibliographic reference in APA style for the article at the end of your paper. Submit it to the appropriate assignment dropbox. Due Sunday.
Johnston & Olson: Chapter 6
Evans: Chapter 5
Hanson, D. (2009). Robots that show emotion. [Motion picture]. TED2009. [see link in course]
Discussion 9
How is learning associated with liking and wanting? If you can, give an example from your own experience. Support your answer with information from your texts or additional research through Stafford Library’s resources. Provide a reference in APA format. Respond substantively to a minimum of 3 other students’ posts.
Discussion 10

Provide an answer to one of the questions below. Consider that the response to this week’s questions involves structural aspects of the brain that are hardwired and dependent on environmental stimuli, which suggests that a model for emotion could be built into a prosthetic or possibly a robot in the future.

  1. Provide an informed opinion about why our brains are wired to take pleasure in being cooperative and in helping others.
  2. What are your thoughts about living in a world where surgery of the orbitofrontal cortex or nucleus accumbens or ventral pallidum would be commonly used to treat obesity?
  3. Imagine a world where robots have been built with brains that can feel and express emotions. What will this world be like?

Cite any references utilized in APA format. Respond substantively to a minimum of 3 other student’s posts.

APA Paper: Abstract
Write an abstract for your research paper, following APA style. You will find more information about this assignment in the course Content area. Submit it to its respective Dropbox. Due Sunday.
Johnston & Olson: Chapter 8
Review Evans: Chapter 3
Discussion 11
What are the major challenges of understanding how memory works? Cite a source of support for your answer from your texts or additional research in Stafford Library’s resources. Provide a reference in APA format. Respond substantively to a minimum of 3 other students’ posts.
Discussion 12
How do emotional experiences, positive or negative, affect memory? In particular, how might the strong emotions involved in PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) affect memory? Propose a research question on the effects of PTSD. What problems would you anticipate in conducting this research? Have fun with this; be creative and brainstorm research ideas with peers. Respond substantively to a minimum of 3 other students’ posts.
APA Paper: Annotated Bibliography
Write an annotated bibliography for your final research paper. It should contain only three references from peer-reviewed journal articles. Full assignment details are available in the Content area. Submit your bibliography to its respective Dropbox. Due Sunday.
Course Evaluation
Please evaluate the course. You will have an opportunity to evaluate the course near the end of the session. A link sent to your CougarMail will allow you to access the evaluation. Please note that these evaluations are provided so that I can improve the course, find out what students perceive to be its strengths and weaknesses, and in general assess the success of the course. Please do take the time to fill this out.
Johnston & Olson: Chapter 9
Review Evans: Chapter 2
Discussion 13
Based on your readings in course texts, how does emotion influence your thinking and your behavior? Recall an example from your own experience when affect influenced your thinking or judgment. How might you have responded if you were not influenced by your emotions? Respond substantively to a minimum of 3 other students’ posts.
Discussion 14: Peer Review

This week you will be finishing up your research paper. Present a complete draft of the body of your paper to your classmates. Attach it as a .doc file so your peer can provide feedback.

Then provide substantial peer-review of two of your classmates’ papers. Identify at least one positive quality in each of the papers and one area that could use some improvement. Some things to look for in your peer review:

  1. Is the research question clearly stated?
  2. Does the author provide compelling and credible research that answers the question?
  3. Is the use of APA format correct?
  4. Is the use of grammar and punctuation correct?
Johnston & Olson: Conclusion
Review Evans: Chapter 3
Final Research Paper
You have completed several preliminary steps to help develop your final paper. You will need to perform additional research to fully develop the body of the paper and assemble your final essay. It must be formatted using APA style. Complete details are available in the Content area of the course. Due Wednesday.
Discussion 15
We began this course by considering the work of Charles Darwin’s “The expression of emotion in animals and man.” During our quick journey through the evolved neuroscience involved in emotional expression and regulation, we discovered the foundations for the evolution of social behavior. Provide your informed opinion about the future and how our understanding of the emotional brain might influence any area of human endeavor: politics, scientific research, exploration in space, technology, ecology, or other challenges. Respond substantively to a minimum of 3 other students’ posts.
Discussion 16

Izard (1979) argued that enjoyment-joy is one of the universal, fundamental emotions. Can you use your understanding of psychology to find lasting joy? Should the pursuit of happiness be a goal of life? Why or why not? Respond substantively to a minimum of 3 other students’ posts.

Izard, C. A. (1979). Human Emotions. Plenum Press: New York.

  Course Policies

Student Conduct

All Columbia College students, whether enrolled in a land-based or online course, are responsible for behaving in a manner consistent with Columbia College's Student Conduct Code and Acceptable Use Policy. Students violating these policies will be referred to the office of Student Affairs and/or the office of Academic Affairs for possible disciplinary action. The Student Code of Conduct and the Computer Use Policy for students can be found in the Columbia College Student Handbook. The Handbook is available online; you can also obtain a copy by calling the Student Affairs office (Campus Life) at 573-875-7400. The teacher maintains the right to manage a positive learning environment, and all students must adhere to the conventions of online etiquette.

Plagiarism and Academic Integrity

Academic integrity is a cumulative process that begins with the first college learning opportunity. Students are responsible for knowing the Academic Integrity policy and procedures and may not use ignorance of either as an excuse for academic misconduct. Columbia College recognizes that the vast majority of students at Columbia College maintain high ethical academic standards; however, failure to abide by the prohibitions listed herein is considered academic misconduct and may result in disciplinary action, a failing grade on the assignment, and/or a grade of "F" for the course.

Additionally, all required papers may be submitted for textual similarity review to Turnitin.com for the detection of plagiarism. All submitted papers may be included in the Turnitin.com reference database for the purpose of detecting plagiarism. This service is subject to the Terms and Conditions of Use posted on the Turnitin.com site.


There will be no discrimination on the basis of sex, race, color, national origin, sexual orientation, religion, ideology, political affiliation, veteran status, age, physical handicap, or marital status.

Student Accessibility Resources

Columbia College is committed to creating a learning environment that meets the needs of its diverse student body. If you anticipate or experience any barriers to learning, communicate your concerns with the instructor. In addition to speaking with the instructor, the following resources are available to ensure an opportunity to learn in an inclusive environment that values mutual respect.

  • For students with disabilities/conditions who are experiencing barriers to learning or assessment, contact the Student Accessibility Resources office at (573) 875-7626 or sar@ccis.edu to discuss a range of options to removing barriers in the course, including accommodations.
  • For students who are experiencing conflict which is impacting their educational environment, contact the Office of Student Conduct at studentconduct@ccis.edu or (573) 875-7877.
  • For students who have concerns related to discrimination or harassment based on sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, pregnancy or parental status, please contact the Title IX Office at titleixcoordinator@ccis.edu. More information can be found at http://www.ccis.edu/policies/notice-of-non-discrimination-and-equal-opportunity.aspx

Online Participation

You are expected to read the assigned texts and participate in the discussions and other course activities each week. Assignments should be posted by the due dates stated on the grading schedule in your syllabus. If an emergency arises that prevents you from participating in class, please let your instructor know as soon as possible.

Attendance Policy

Attendance for a week will be counted as having submitted any assigned activity for which points are earned. Attendance for the week is based upon the date work is submitted. A class week is defined as the period of time between Monday and Sunday (except for week 8, when the work and the course will end on Saturday at midnight.) The course and system deadlines are based on the Central Time Zone.

Cougar Email

All students are provided a CougarMail account when they enroll in classes at Columbia College. You are responsible for monitoring email from that account for important messages from the College and from your instructor. You may forward your Cougar email account to another account; however, the College cannot be held responsible for breaches in security or service interruptions with other email providers.

Students should use email for private messages to the instructor and other students. The class discussions are for public messages so the class members can each see what others have to say about any given topic and respond.

Late Assignment Policy

An online class requires regular participation and a commitment to your instructor and your classmates to regularly engage in the reading, discussion and writing assignments. Although most of the online communication for this course is asynchronous, you must be able to commit to the schedule of work for the class for the next eight weeks. You must keep up with the schedule of reading and writing to successfully complete the class.

No late discussion posts will be accepted.

Brief APA Papers, the Abstract, and Annotated Bibliography assignments submitted late will lose 20 points for each day the assignment is late.  Assignments will not be accepted after midnight on the Tuesday following the due date.

The Final Research Paper will not be accepted after midnight on the Saturday following the due date. The score for the final paper will be reduced 20 points for each day the paper is late.

Course Evaluation

You will have an opportunity to evaluate the course near the end of the session. A link will be sent to your CougarMail that will allow you to access the evaluation. Be assured that the evaluations are anonymous and that your instructor will not be able to see them until after final grades are submitted.

  Additional Resources

Orientation for New Students

This course is offered online, using course management software provided by Desire2Learn and Columbia College. The course user guide provides details about taking an online course at Columbia College. You may also want to visit the course demonstration to view a sample course before this one opens.

Technical Support

If you have problems accessing the course or posting your assignments, contact your instructor, the Columbia College Technology Solutions Center, or the D2L Helpdesk for assistance. If you have technical problems with the VitalSource eText reader, please contact VitalSource. Contact information is also available within the online course environment.

Online Tutoring

Smarthinking is a free online tutoring service available to all Columbia College students. Smarthinking provides real-time online tutoring and homework help for Math, English, and Writing. Smarthinking also provides access to live tutorials in writing and math, as well as a full range of study resources, including writing manuals, sample problems, and study skills manuals. You can access the service from wherever you have a connection to the Internet. I encourage you to take advantage of this free service provided by the college.

Access Smarthinking through CougarTrack under Students -> Academics -> Academic Resources.