Caring and Helping: the Psychology of Concern and Commitment

Module code: C8014
Level 6
15 credits in autumn semester
Teaching method: Lecture
Assessment modes: Essay, Coursework

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.

Module learning outcomes

  • Systematically understand the scientific underpinnings of the psychological study of caring and helping behaviour
  • Show appreciation of the relationship between theory and evidence in relation to the study of caring and helping behaviour
  • Devise arguments and critically evaluate arguments made in the caring and helping literature