Human Emotion is one of my favorite psychology courses to teach.  After teaching this course for several years, and fluctuating between assigning textbook and journal article readings to my students, I decided to jump in and write my own textbook for the course. My goals in writing this textbook were to:

  1. Share my fascination for human emotion with other students and faculty.
  2. Provide every student equal access and opportunity to learn about human emotion.
  3. Create an interactive textbook that helps students to test their knowledge and apply concepts to real-life situations.
  4. Teach students to interpret visual displays of findings in tables and figures.
  5. Encourage students to determine and defend their own perspective of human emotion.

This textbook centers on four main emotion perspectives: basic emotion, social constructivism, cognitive appraisal, and dimensional models.  I strived to provide a clear analysis of each perspective, while pointing out the contributions and limitations of each perspective.  All four perspectives continue to influence each other and to advance our understanding of human emotion.


This textbook was made possible through the support of the Affordable Course Transformation (ACT) program offered through the Provost’s charged and funded Open and Affordable Educational Resources (OAER) Working group at Penn State University. The ACT program was designed to assist instructors in developing Open Educational Resource (OER) textbooks. This book was developed in conjunction with Penn State’s University Libraries and Department of Teaching and Learning with Technology (TLT).

Particular thanks go to Bradley Antill and Sara Davis who edited and reviewed my book, put my ideas into interactive web activities, helped me to achieve accessibility guidelines, and generally provided encouragement and support through the two-year process.  Thank you also to the other TLT team members who held workshops, provided suggestions, and answered questions.  Thank you to my many undergraduate and graduate students who spent time editing my textbook, clarifying material, and providing suggestions.  These teaching assistants include: Katie Saylor, Mitch Dobbs, Qinyuhui Chen,  Elise Haynes, Nikki Hedgcoth, Amber Benson, and Miranda Thompson.  Thank you to all the students who have taken my class, provided their anonymous feedback on my textbook, and generally expanded my knowledge and understanding of emotion through their ideas and questions. Finally, thank you to my family and friends, who provided emotional support and encouragement throughout my writing. But mostly, to my parents, for inspiring my love of learning.


I value any feedback or thoughts you would like to share regarding this textbook.  Feedback helps me to improve my understanding of the field of human emotion and makes me a better teacher.  If you have suggestions, questions, and yes even criticisms, please reach out to me via email at:  I look forward to hearing from you!

Author Biography

Dr. Michelle Guthrie Yarwood, Ph.D., is an Associate Teaching Professor in the Department of Psychology at Penn State-University Park.  Dr. Guthrie Yarwood received her Ph.D. in Experimental Psychology, with a specialization in social psychology, from Texas Tech University.  Her teaching interests are focused in the area of social and personality psychology, including human emotion, personality psychology, interpersonal relationships, and social psychology generally.  Dr. Guthrie Yarwood continues to conduct research with her undergraduate students in areas that parallel her own research, including on emotions such as nostalgia, missing, schadenfreude, and contempt.

Reference for Textbook

Guthrie Yarwood, M. (2022). Psychology of human emotion: An open access textbook. Pressbooks. Psychology of Human Emotion: An Open Access Textbook


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