Psychology of Emotions

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1. Learn about the main emotions models: social, cultural and physiological.

2. Identify the contributions of each model to understand the complexity of emotions both as physical responses and expressions of judgment.

2. Understand the evolution of the main emotions.

3. Think on the cultural factors underlying the expression of emotions.

4. Understand the somatic manifestations of emotion.


1. Theories of Emotion: evolution
1.1. The Philosophical Theories.

1.1.2. From Plato to Aristotle.
1.1.3. The vision of Descartes on the emotion.
1.2. Darwin and the Evolutionism.
1.3. MacDougall’s Theory of Emotions.
2. Concepts of Emotion and Mood.
2.1. Definition of Emotion and Mood.
2.2. Temperament and emotional behavior.
3. The Biological dimension of Emotion.
3.1. Neurophysiology of Emotion.
3.2. Physical answers to Emotion.
3.3. Facial Expressions and Emotion - The work of Paul Ekman and Freitas-Magalhães.
4. The Social Dimension of Emotion.
4.1. The Evolutionary Model and emotions.
4.1.1. Paul Gilbert’s Model of Social Mentalities.
4.2. Social Emotions: guilt, shame and embarrassment.
4.3. The role of social comparison and submission behaviors in social emotions.
5. The cultural dimension of emotions.
5.1. Cultural influences on emotional expressiveness.
5.1.1. Historical perspective on mourning.

Teaching Methodologies

This curricular unit is organized in lectures and theoretical / practical lessons. Lectures use mainly expository and interrogative methods. The theoretical /practical classes will focus on discussion of scientific papers and the preparation of specific themes in groups of two or three students. Such preparation will lead both to an oral presentation in class and a written paper. Oral presentations take about half an hour and are followed by 15 minute debates. Written papers should not exceed 10 pages (excluding title page and bibliography).


Barreto Carvalho, C. (2009). Psicose Esquizofrénica. Crenças Paranóides: exploração da sua Etiologia na população normal e em doentes com esquizofrenia. Tese de Doutoramento. FPCE da Universidade de Coimbra.

Damásio, A., (1995). O Erro de Descartes (6ª Ed.). Mem Martins: Pub. Europa-América.

Damásio, A., (2000). O Sentimento de Si (6ª Ed.). Mem Martins: Pub. Europa-América.

Freitas-Magalhães (2007). A Psicologia das Emoções. Porto: Univ. Fernando Pessoa.

Gilbert, P. & Andrews, B. (1998). Shame – Interpersonal Behavior, Psychopathology and Culture. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Gilbert, P. & Bailey, K. (2000). Genes on the Couch. New-York: Brunner-Routledge.

Gilbert, P. & Miles, J. (2002). Body Shame – Conceptualisation, Research and Treatment. New-York: Brunner- Routledge.

Lelor, F. & André, C. (2002). A Força das Emoções. Lisboa: Pergaminho

Strongman, K. (2004). A Psicologia da Emoção.Lisboa: Climepsi.

Watson, D. (2000). Mood and temperament. New York: Guilford Press.



ECTS Credits



  • Teóricas - 30 hours
  • Teórico-Práticas - 30 hours

Evaluation Methodology

  • 1st Frequency: 60%
  • Practical component: 40%