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Ohio Open Ed Collaborative
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Emotion - Course Map and Recommended Resources


How to Use this Guide

This guide provides information and resources on introducing the topic of emotions. All resources are Open Access and can be downloaded or added to a Course Management System (LMS) via the hyperlinks.


The chapter on emotion is usually presented with motivation, but for this OER project, it is presented as a separate concept.  Most of the chapters in the recommended resources cover much more information then should be presented in an introduction class, so faculty may want to choose what pieces work best.  The most comprehensive covering of this topic come from the various chapters in the NOBA project, but to assign all of these to students might be information overload. Faculty will need to pick and choose what sections work best for their approach.  Remember that Emotion falls within Pillar 4: Social and Personality, which also includes Social, Personality, Emotion, Multicultural, Gender, and Motivation. Social and Personality are both required topics under the Ohio TAG, so instructors should only plan to add Emotion if time permits.

Learning Objectives

  1. Describe the different theories of emotion

  2. Explain the elements of emotion

  3. Discuss nonverbal (such as facial differences) displays of emotion

  4. Talk about the psychology of lies and how deception can be covered in this section

Cross Cutting Themes


  1. Discuss the evidence regarding gender differences in reading emotions

  2. Give examples of how different cultures experience and understand emotions

  3. Discuss "universal" emotions and cultural variations


  1. Provide examples of how emotion research can help law enforcement officers detect lies

  2. Discuss the ethics of the research to help law enforcement

  3. Discuss if it is appropriate to prescribe drugs to people who are perceived to be too emotional

Variations in Human Functioning

  1. Discuss the value of negative emotions like sadness and anger

  2. Discuss characteristics that might predispose an individual to road rage and the ways in which these individuals could more appropriately manage their emotions


  1. Provide examples of how emotion research can help law enforcement officers detect lies

  2. Discuss how a polygraph works and why it could not be used in court cases

  3. Discuss appropriate situations where different emotions could be used

Recommended Resources

With the NOBA resources (first four items), faculty may want to cut and paste parts of all four chapters to cover emotions.

The Function of Emotions – NOBA

NOBA project Chapter on the Function of Emotions by Hyisung Hwang and David Matsumoto 

Emotion Experiences and Well-Being – NOBA

NOBA project Chapter on Emotion Experiences and Well-Being by Brett Ford and Iris Mauss

Culture and Emotion – NOBA

NOBA project Chapter on Culture and Emotions by Jeanne Tsai

Knowledge Emotions: Feelings that Foster Learning, Exploring, and Reflecting – NOBA

NOBA project Chapter on Knowledge Emotions: Feelings that Foster Learning, Exploring, and Reflecting by Paul Silvia

The University of Minnesota Library Publishers Psychology Book 

This is the chapter on emotions and motivation. Faculty may want to just cover the emotion section for that chapter. 

Openstax Chapter on Motivation and Emotions

This is the section that covers aspects of emotions.   

Supplemental Resources

The Sweet Spot for Achievement

An article that discusses an application of the theories of emotion to enhancing sport performance.   

8 Myths About Lying
Paul Ekman Website

Paul Ekman is one of the experts on the psychology of lying.  These are two sites you can use to learn more about the subject.      

Evolution, Emotion, and Reason: Emotions, Part I

Paul Bloom’s Open Yale University class on Introduction to Psychology.  This is the Part One of the lecture on emotions. 

Evolution, Emotion, and Reason: Emotions, Part II

Paul Bloom’s Open Yale University class on Introduction to Psychology.  This is the Part Two of the lecture on emotions.

Affective Neuroscience – NOBA

NOBA chapter by Eddie Harmon-Jones and Cindy Harmon-Jones on Affective Neuroscience that talks about the biology of emotions   

The Definitive Guide to Reading Microexpressions

An article on the science of how to read the variety of microexpressions that people display.

Test On Recognizing Facial Expressions

This online test asks you to select the emotion portrayed in the facial expression.

Atlas of Emotions

This interactive tool builds your vocabulary of emotions. It represents what researchers have learned from the psychological study of emotion.   

Reading Facial Expressions of Emotion

This is an APA article by David Matsumoto and Hyi Sung Hwang on the research on training programs that improve people's ability to detect emotions.    

Emotions, Stress and Health (Video)

Crash Course video on emotions, stress and health.

Feeling all the Feels (Video)

Crash Course video on our emotions.   

Class Activities

Can You Spot a Fake Smile? (Video)

A video on how to spot a fake smile.  This is good to discuss the nonverbal aspects of emotions.


Have students list out five emotions and discuss 1) a situation that brings the emotion on,  2) the physiological change as a result of the emotion, 3) the cognitive changes as a result of the emotion, and 4) how a person’s behavior is changed, because of the emotion.  Faculty can list out the five emotions picked by the students to see if they choose more positive, negative or neutral emotions.

Truths and Lies

At the beginning of class, have students prepare a list of 10 items about themselves: 5 should be true and 5 should be lies.  Suggested items include: Number of siblings, name of pets, jobs they have held, vacations locations they have visited, hobbies, and sports they have played.  Have students share these items with someone sitting next to them and have the other student guess what items are lies and what are real. This activity can be supplemented with this article: Lie Detection: Misconceptions, Pitfalls, and Opportunities for Improvement

Personality Pedagogy – Emotions

This is a webpage with links to articles, activities, and multimedia   

What is Love? (Video)

This is a Ted-Ed video that covers the emotion of love, including biology, perceptions, experiences, and culture. There are discussion and assessment questions at the end of the video (free registration is required to access the questions). Closed captioning available.   

Promoting Psychological Science

A Compendium of laboratory exercises for teachers of high school psychology published by the Society for the Teaching of Psychology and the chapter on Motivation & Emotion by Deborah Brihl & Michalene Grebski