Caring and Helping: the Psychology of Concern and Commitment (C8014)

15 credits, Level 6

Autumn teaching

We will explore how, when, and why humans and other animals care about and help themselves and others, for example other individuals, groups, or causes.

Most sub-disciplines within psychology will be considered, as will aspects of several related disciplines.

At a practical level, this will involve consideration of behaviours such as:

  • activism
  • adoption
  • donation
  • citizenship
  • environmentalism
  • ethical investment
  • gift-giving
  • heroism
  • kindness
  • philanthropy
  • prejudice-reduction
  • support-giving
  • tax paying
  • vaccination
  • volunteering

Less obvious domains will include lying, mercy-killing, violent service (e.g., soldiering, terrorism). Critical thinking will be encouraged throughout, as will consideration of the relationship between academic research and practical application.


100%: Lecture


30%: Coursework (Computer-based examination, Portfolio)
70%: Written assessment (Essay)

Contact hours and workload

This module is approximately 150 hours of work. This breaks down into about 22 hours of contact time and about 128 hours of independent study. The University may make minor variations to the contact hours for operational reasons, including timetabling requirements.

We regularly review our modules to incorporate student feedback, staff expertise, as well as the latest research and teaching methodology. We’re planning to run these modules in the academic year 2024/25. However, there may be changes to these modules in response to feedback, staff availability, student demand or updates to our curriculum. We’ll make sure to let you know of any material changes to modules at the earliest opportunity.


This module is offered on the following courses: