What are our emotions? What purpose do they serve? How do emotions relate to our thoughts, memories, and behaviors towards others? What happens when our emotional responses go awry?
Although these questions date back to early philosophical texts, only recently have experimental psychologists begun to explore this vast and exciting domain of study. The course will begin by discussing the evolutionary origins of distinct emotions such as love, anger, fear, and disgust. We will ask how emotions might color our cognitive processes such as thinking and memory, the relationship between emotions and the brain, development of emotions in childhood, and how emotions shape our social relationships. We will also consider how these methods can be applied to studying mental illness in both children and adults. The course will conclude by studying the pursuit of happiness and well-being, trying to understand what makes us happy.