Skip to main content

Study information

Personality and Individual Differences

Module titlePersonality and Individual Differences
Module codeERPM007
Academic year2024/5
Module staff

Dr Darren Moore (Convenor)

Duration: Term123
Duration: Weeks


Number students taking module (anticipated)


Module description

This module focuses on current and historical understanding of personality and individual differences. We will review the main theories of personality and use contemporary empirical evidence to explore the complex relationship between personality and behaviour. In-depth examples of the complexity of individual differences will be provided, and some sessions will focus of personality disorders and problems assessing and classifying such disorders. The module will also enable you to examine some of the broader societal issues relating to individual differences in personality.

This is a compulsory module on the MSc Psychology Conversion programme. There are no pre-requisites to this module.

Module aims - intentions of the module

The module will to introduce you to theories, research and practice in relation to the psychology of personality and individual differences. In the pursuit of this we aim to:

- Develop in you a broad and critical understanding of the ways in which personality and individual differences influence various aspects of human behaviour
- Introduce you to a range of instruments and tools used in this psychological study, including for example, questionnaires and psychometric tests
- Develop your awareness of the issues, controversies, challenges and potential problems in measuring personality and individual differences

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)

ILO: Module-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 1. demonstrate a broad knowledge of theories of personality and individual differences and a basic understanding of how these might be applied to some key topics
  • 2. describe how instruments and tools like questionnaires and psychometric tests may be used in personality research
  • 3. illustrate how our understanding of personality and individual differences depends on the methods used to measure these concepts and the theories employed to frame them
  • 4. illustrate a good basic knowledge and understanding of a range of societal and behavioural issues relating to individual differences in personality

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 5. illustrate detailed factual and conceptual knowledge of theoretical positions and see relationships and differences between them
  • 6. identify and critically evaluate the main areas of controversy in these areas of research
  • 7. solve complex problems creatively, critically and systematically

ILO: Personal and key skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 8. develop clear and logical arguments in your writing or visual representation of these topics
  • 9. manage and source information and material for use in written assessments
  • 10. read, review and critically evaluate relevant research evidence and literature

Syllabus plan

Whilst the module’s precise content may vary over time, it is envisaged that the syllabus will consider a range of issues that relate to the current and historical study of personality and individual differences, drawing on theory, assessment of personality and empirical research. The syllabus will likely include:

  • A general introduction to personality and individual differences
  • Psychoanalytic theory
  • Personality trait theory
  • Personality type theory
  • The person-situation debate
  • Biological and evolutionary approaches
  • Behaviourist, social learning and cognitive approaches
  • Humanistic approaches
  • Intelligence
  • Personality disorders
  • Individual differences and psychosis

Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled Learning and Teaching33Lectures, seminars, and workshops
Guided Independent Learning25Reading (textbooks, journal articles, web resources and lecture slides) in preparation for taught sessions and for assessment
Guided Independent Learning65Work on formative and summative assessment
Guided Independent Learning10Collation and review of lecture and seminar materials
Guided Independent Learning17Undertaking additional class tasks and activities (e.g. on ELE) and preparing for seminars

Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Workshop: formative activities linked to the summative assignment2 x 1.5 hoursAllOral and group written comments

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Written essay501,500 words2-3, 6-10Written feedback and grades
Written essay502000 words1, 4-10Written feedback and grades

Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
Written essayWritten essay (1,500 words)2-3, 6-10August/September reassessment period
Written essayWritten essay (2000 words)1, 4-10August/September reassessment period

Re-assessment notes

Two assessments are required for this module. Where you have been referred/deferred in the written essays you will be required to resubmit them. If you are successful on referral, your overall module mark will be capped at 50%; deferred marks are not capped.

Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

Indicative basic reading list:

  • Burger, J. M. (2019). Personality (10th Ed). Cengage Learning.
  • Caspi, A., Roberts, B. W., & Shiner, R. L. (2005). Personality development: Stability and change. Annu. Rev. Psychol.56, 453-484.
  • Deary, I. J. (2020). Intelligence: A very short introduction. Oxford University Press.
  • Funder, D. C. (2001). Personality.Annual Review of Psychology, 52, 197-221.
  • Funder, D. C. (2019). The Personality Puzzle (8th Ed). W.W. Norton and Company.
  • Luborsky, L., & Barrett, M. S. (2006). The History and Empirical Status of key psychoanalytic concepts. Annual Review Clinical Psychology, 2, 1–19.
  • Maltby, J., Day, L., & Macaskill, A. (2022). Personality, individual differences and intelligence (5th Ed). Pearson Education.

Indicative learning resources - Web based and electronic resources

Personality and Individual Differences

Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin

European Journal of Personality

Journal of Personality and Social Psychology

Journal of Personality Assessment


Indicative learning resources - Other resources

Module ELE page

Key words search

Personality, individual differences, disposition, IQ, measurement, intelligence, personality disorders, psychoanalysis

Credit value15
Module ECTS


Module pre-requisites


Module co-requisites


NQF level (module)


Available as distance learning?


Origin date


Last revision date