Surrey University Stag

MORALITY AND EMOTIONS - 2023/4

Module code: PSYM110

Module Overview

This module will examine critical perspectives in moral psychology, discussing critical debates about what moral concepts are. Building on previous topics in social psychology, we will discuss and evaluate whether morals are universal or culturally relative; whether morals are based on intuitions/emotions or reasoning, and what makes a moral judgement. We will also discuss what makes moral emotions unique, evaluating four different kinds of moral emotions (other-condemning, self-conscious, other-praising, other-suffering). We will discuss how moral convictions and moral character impact thoughts and behaviours. The module will cover theoretical and empirical findings that explore implications of moral concepts. We will also critically evaluate how different moral concepts should be defined and assessed, based on empirical research, which will result in the development of a literature review and poster.

Module provider

Psychology

Module Leader

RUSSELL Sophie (Psychology)

Number of Credits: 15

ECTS Credits: 7.5

Framework: FHEQ Level 7

JACs code: C880

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

Overall student workload

Independent Learning Hours: 106

Lecture Hours: 22

Guided Learning: 11

Captured Content: 11

Module Availability

Semester 2

Prerequisites / Co-requisites

N/A

Module content

Indicative content includes:


  1. Introduction to moral psychology

  2. Universality versus cultural relativity

  3. Rational versus Intuition/Emotion explanations

  4. Moral judgement

  5. Morally condemning emotions

  6. Self-conscious emotions

  7. Other praising emotions

  8. Other suffering emotions

  9. Moral convictions

  10. Moral behaviour

  11. Moral character, virtues, and identity


Assessment pattern

Assessment type Unit of assessment Weighting
Coursework LITERATURE REVIEW (1500 WORDS) 60
Coursework POSTER 40

Alternative Assessment

N/A

Assessment Strategy

The assessment strategy is designed to provide students with the opportunity to demonstrate


  1. To critically discuss the controversies and debates surrounding moral psychology KC

  2. To critically evaluate what different moral concepts are and how these relate to one another. KC

  3. To critically evaluate prior methods and findings in the field of moral psychology. KCT

  4. To develop a research question that builds on prior theory and methods in moral psychology. KCPT

  5. To develop a research proposal that tests the proposed research question. KCPT



Thus, the summative assessment for this module consists of:


  1. One literature review (60%). This assessment should demonstrate the first four learning outcomes.  

  2. One poster (40%). All five of the learning outcomes should be demonstrated in this assessment.  



Formative assessment and feedback


  1. Students can submit a one-page outline of their research question to gain feedback

  2. Written feedback on literature review, which will give students the opportunity to adapt and develop research methodology.

  3. Verbal feedback in lectures, will encourage critical evaluation of prior theories and findings, which can inform both their literature review and poster.


Module aims

  • The module will outline theories that attempt to define what moral concepts are, such as moral judgements, moral emotions, moral convictions, and moral behaviours.
  • The module will critically evaluate 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 and behaviours.
  • The module will attempt to uncover what makes an emotion a ¿moral emotion'. We will focus on defining and evaluating four families of moral emotions 1) other-condemning emotions, 2) self-conscious emotions, 3) other-praising emotions, and 4) other-suffering emotions. Therefore, in this module we will not only be focusing on the negative side of morality but also positive aspects of morality, such as positive moral emotions.
  • The relationship between moral concepts and various behaviours/implications will be explored, including the strength of the relationships. For example, the impact that moral character or moral identity has on behaviour.
  • The module will explore whether moral principles are universal or culturally relative, which will enhance awareness of social and cultural differences in morality.
  • The implications of having moral convictions will be examined, specifically how moral convictions impacts our behaviours (e.g., political engagement, collective action, social distancing), which will enhance awareness of cultural, social, and demographic differences in moral convictions.

Learning outcomes

Attributes Developed
003 To critically evaluate prior methods and findings in the field of moral psychology. KCT
004 To develop a research question that builds on prior theory and methods in moral psychology. KCT
005 To develop a research proposal that tests the proposed research question. KCPT
001 To critically discuss the controversies and debates surrounding moral psychology KC
002 To critically evaluate what different moral concepts are and how these relate to one another. KC

Attributes Developed

C - Cognitive/analytical

K - Subject knowledge

T - Transferable skills

P - Professional/Practical skills

Methods of Teaching / Learning

The learning and teaching strategy is designed to facilitate:


  1. Critical discussion of the controversies and debates surrounding moral psychology. Reflecting on these debates will encourage reflection on social and cultural differences, which should enhance global and cultural capabilities.

  2. Critical evaluation of what different moral concepts are and how these relate to one another. Awareness of these different moral concepts will enhance global and cultural capabilities, by defining when and how they may differ.

  3. Critical evaluation of prior methods and findings in the field of moral psychology. This will encourage resourcefulness as it will require evaluation of prior research.  

  4. Development of a research question that builds on prior theory and methods in moral psychology. This will encourage resilience, resourcefulness, critical thinking, and digital literacy, by carrying out relevant literature searches, to develop an appropriate research question.

  5. Development of a research proposal that tests the proposed research question. This will encourage resilience, resourcefulness, critical thinking, and digital literacy, by carrying out relevant literature searches, to develop methodology that can test the proposed research question and hypotheses.



 

The learning and teaching methods include:


  • Lectures of 2hrs duration for 11 weeks

  • Group discussion and exercises in lectures

  • Surrey Learn discussion board and other materials

  • Independent learning

  • Guided 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

https://readinglists.surrey.ac.uk
Upon accessing the reading list, please search for the module using the module code: PSYM110

Other information

This module has a capped number and may not be available to ERASMUS and other international exchange students. Please check with the International Engagement Office email: ieo.incoming@surrey.ac.uk

  1. Global and Cultural Capabilities: Due to the nature of the topic this module focuses on cultural and social differences in moral concepts, which should raise awareness of cultural differences and similarities.
  2. Resourcefulness and resilience: By developing a research question this module encourages resourcefulness and resilience by seeking out information and gathering evidence through performing relevant literature searches, in order to develop the research question. They will need to evaluate prior findings to develop their own research question. They will then need to come up with an appropriate research methodology to test this research question and hypotheses.
  3. Digital capabilities: This module requires students to perform literature searches and format a poster using power point.

Programmes this module appears in

Programme Semester Classification Qualifying conditions
Social Psychology MSc 2 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 50% 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 2023/4 academic year.