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Emotion psychology and affective neuroscience

This is a master and postgraduate course on emotion psychology and the systems-level brain bases of emotion.

Both human and animal literatures will be surveyed. Various research areas are covered, including for example: emotion theories (incl. basic emotions, constructivism, and appraisal theories), emotion expression, emotion regulation, impact of emotion of cognitive processes (e.g., attention, memory, decision making), fear and anxiety, stress, reward, emotion and social behavior, musical and aesthetic emotions, and genetic approaches to emotion. The topics may vary slightly each semester.

  • Course structure

    As a registered student on this course you will find detailed course information and communication in the learning platform Athena. Login with your university account.

    This course will be given in the last quarter of the semester.

    Course syllabus: Emotion psychology and affective neuroscience, 7,5 credits. Autumn 2020.

    Teaching format

    Each week, students will read and discuss empirical and review articles germane to understanding basic emotional processes and how the brain enables us to perceive motivationally significant stimuli and experience, express, and regulate our emotional responses.

    To reach the course goals, students need to attend and participate in all seminars. Student tasks related to the seminars are described below (Assessment).


    1. Contribution to class. Contribution to class will be worth 70% of your final grade. This part of your grade will be based on the instructor’s assessment of the extent and quality of your participation in class discussions. As part of this, students will generate 3-5 discussion questions prior to each class and send them to the responsible instructor. Students should specify the reading(s) that inspired the question, and give a motivation for why the chosen issue merits discussion. The purpose of these questions is to ensure that you’ve actually read the papers that have been assigned (it’s hard to discuss something you haven’t read!), and to help raise issues for discussion. Your discussion questions are due by noon the day before the class, and should be turned in whether or not you will be able to attend the class session to which they apply.
    2. Leading the discussion. Students will each take responsibility for leading the discussion with partners in their respective group (2-3 students) for 2 class periods during the course period, altogether worth 30% of your final grade. Leading the discussion will entail the following: 1) summarizing key points to be gleaned from the articles we’ve read for that class period, 2) Discuss the questions from the members of the group (Note that everyone is responsible for keeping the conversation going but having someone throw new balls in the air once the old ones have fallen to the ground is very helpful, and this is the Discussion Leader’s job.) The discussion leaders do not need to submit their discussion questions to the instructor for that class period.


    Course leader: Professor Håkan Fischer,

  • Schedule

    The schedule will be available no later than one month before the start of the course. We do not recommend print-outs as changes can occur. At the start of the course, your department will advise where you can find your schedule during the course.
  • Course literature

    Note that the course literature can be changed up to two months before the start of the course.

    A complete list of course readings is found in the course syllabus.

    The list is subject to change until two months prior to the start of the course. In case the new course syllabus is missing on this page by then, please check with the course leader before you buy any expensive books etc.

  • Course reports

  • More information

    This course is offered as an elective course in the International two-year master’s program in psychology, 120 credits.

    The course will be offered only if enough students register.

    Please contact the student administration if you want to take this course.

  • Contact

    Registered students should primarily use Athena for teacher communication.

    To contact the Student office or a Student Councellor, see below.

    More contacts in Education

    Student office - Master's level
    Study councellor - Master's level