MORALITY AND EMOTIONS - 2019/0

Module code: PSY3093

Module Overview

This module will examine critical perspectives in moral psychology, discussing critical debates about what morality is and how it should be defined and assessed. It will cover theoretical and empirical findings that explore how moral judgments are related to cognitions, behaviours, and emotions. This module will be assessed by a research proposal and an essay based exam.

Module provider

Psychology

Module Leader

RUSSELL Pascale (Psychology)

Number of Credits: 15

ECTS Credits: 7.5

Framework: FHEQ Level 6

JACs code: C880

Module cap (Maximum number of students): N/A

Module Availability

Semester 1

Prerequisites / Co-requisites

BSc Psychology Levels 4 and 5 or equivalent. This module has a capped number and may not be available to ERASMUS and other international exchange students. Please check with the departmental exchange coordinator

Module content

Indicative content includes:


Introduction to moral psychology
Universal truths versus cultural relativity
Rational versus Intuition explanations
Moral foundations theory
Morally condemning emotions
Self-conscious emotions
Exploring mental states: Responsibility, intentionality, consent, justification
Moral character and virtues
Antecedents and consequences of moral conviction
Putting morality into action
Revision

Assessment pattern

Assessment type Unit of assessment Weighting
Coursework A 6 PAGE RESEARCH PROPOSAL 50
Examination A 60 MINUTE ESSAY BASED EXAM 50

Alternative Assessment

N/A

Assessment Strategy

Module aims

  • The module will outline theories that attempt to define what morality is. It will explore how we decide what is right and wrong. It will investigate whether moral principles are universal or culturally relative (Session 1, 2 and 4)
  • The module will examine whether various cognitions and mental states are necessary for moral judgment. Previously, it was commonly emphasized that rational processes guide moral judgments; however, recent models in moral psychology have emphasized the impact of gut intuitions, affect, and emotions in guiding moral judgments (Session 3). It will then be explored whether certain mental states are crucial to determining whether something is right or wrong, and whether the mental states are necessary for different kinds of moral principles (Session 7)
  • It will attempt to uncover some of the unique relationships between moral judgement and various emotions, indicating what makes an emotion a ‘moral emotion'. We will focus on defining three families of moral emotions 1) other-condemning emotions, e.g., anger and disgust (session 5); 2) self-conscious emotions (session 6), e.g., guilt and shame; 3) other-praising emotions, e.g., elevation and awe (session 8). Therefore, in this model we will not only be focusing on the negative side of morality but also positive aspects of morality, including positive moral emotions and virtues (session 8)
  • The relationship between moral judgment and various behaviours will be explored, including the strength of the relationships. The implications of having moral conviction will be examined, specifically how moral conviction impacts our behaviors (e.g., political engagement, collective action, social distancing)-session 9. Previous research has uncovered that moral judgments can lead to acts of extreme goodness but it is also related to harm and destruction. Therefore, this module will explore why morality may predict such extreme actions (session 10)

Learning outcomes

Attributes Developed
1 To build an understanding of the controversies surrounding moral psychology, specifically surrounding definitions and measurement of concepts. ( KC
2 To demonstrate an understanding of the antecedents and consequences of moral judgments KC
3 To develop a research question that builds on prior theory and methods in moral psychology KCT

Attributes Developed

C - Cognitive/analytical

K - Subject knowledge

T - Transferable skills

P - Professional/Practical skills

Overall student workload

Methods of Teaching / Learning

The learning and teaching strategy is designed to:


Enable students to build an understanding of the controversies surrounding moral psychology, specifically surrounding definitions and measurement of concepts.
To enable students to demonstrate an understanding of the antecedents and consequences of moral judgments.
To develop a research question that builds on prior theory and methods in moral psychology.


The learning and teaching methods include:


Lectures or 2hrs duration for 11 weeks
Group discussion and exercises in lectures
Surrey Learn discussion board and other materials
Independent learning

Indicated Lecture Hours (which may also include seminars, tutorials, workshops and other contact time) are approximate and may include in-class tests where one or more of these are an assessment on the module. In-class tests are scheduled/organised separately to taught content and will be published on to student personal timetables, where they apply to taken modules, as soon as they are finalised by central administration. This will usually be after the initial publication of the teaching timetable for the relevant semester.

Reading list

Reading list for MORALITY AND EMOTIONS :

Programmes this module appears in

Programme Semester Classification Qualifying conditions
Psychology BSc (Hons) 1 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module

Please note that the information detailed within this record is accurate at the time of publishing and may be subject to change. This record contains information for the most up to date version of the programme / module for the 2019/0 academic year.