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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Health in Social Science : Clinical Psychology

Postgraduate Course: Individual Differences in Mental Health (CLPS11055)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Health in Social Science CollegeCollege of Humanities and Social Science
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits10 ECTS Credits5
SummaryThis is a core course option for the MSc Psychology of Mental Health (Conversion) programme. It provides a critical overview of theories and research on individual differences and differential psychology. The course is composed of five x 2.5-hour lectures: psychometric approaches and psychometric assessments, individual differences in mental health (x2), intellectual ability and disability, personality theories and personality disorders. This course introduces students to a range of theories of individual differences that have direct application to understanding mental health and illness.
Course description This option will be structured around 5 2.5-hour lectures and supportive materials. The lectures will be structured as follows:
1) Psychometric approaches and psychometric assessments
As the first lecture in this series, it will introduce the area of individual differences, focussing then on psychometrics. This will include: a history of psychological testing and their purpose; different types of tests (with most focus on intelligence and personality); test norms, reliability and validity; and issues of test bias and ethics.
2) Intellectual ability and disability
This lecture will introduce different theories of intelligence (e.g., general vs multifactor) as they relate to normal varying intelligence, touching on findings of sex differences and the Flynn effect. The implications of these theories for intellectual disability will be explained, alongside the known causes of intellectual disabilities, including learning and developmental disorders such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and autism.
3) Personality theories and personality disorders
This lecture introduces different theories of personality including psychoanalytic, learning theory, humanistic and trait approaches. It will then describe personality disorders (drawing on examples from each of the three clusters), their aetiology, and how personality theories might be used to understand them.
4) Individual differences in mental health (x2)
i. The first of these two lectures will describe and evaluate research on the role that intelligence and personality traits may play in determining physical and mental health across life. In addition to considering the evidence linking intelligence and personality to specific health outcomes, it will examine the pathways through which intelligence and personality might influence health and mortality.
ii. This second lecture will focus on environmental and genetic contributors to variation in subjective wellbeing and mental illness (e.g., depression, schizophrenia). It will briefly introduce the methods used to study environmental and genetic components of behaviour, but most of the focus will be on understanding what these results mean for psychologists.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Information for Visiting Students
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2018/19, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  None
Course Start Semester 2
Course Start Date 14/01/2019
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 100 ( Lecture Hours 12.5, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 2, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 85 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 100 %, Coursework 0 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) Summative assessment will be a 2-hour exam worth 100% of the mark where students have to select two titles out of a choice. Example questions are:
What mechanisms might underlie the finding that people who score higher on intelligence tests in youth tend to live longer?
Describe the trait approach to personality. How has it been applied to psychopathology, and discuss its usefulness in this area.
Feedback Formative feedback will be given in the third week on an on-line multiple-choice quiz on topics already covered in the course

Summative feedback will be given on the exam.
Exam Information
Exam Diet Paper Name Hours & Minutes
Main Exam Diet S2 (April/May)Individual Differences in Mental Health2:00
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Demonstrate an In-depth knowledge and critical understanding of individual differences and differential psychology.
  2. Demonstrate psychological literacy in all aspects of students' lives.
  3. Demonstrate critical reflection on how differential psychology perspectives can aid our understanding of mental health and illness.
Reading List
Deary, I.J. (2001). Intelligence: A Very short introduction. Oxford: OUP.
Funder, D.C. The Personality Puzzle (5th Edition). Norton
Deary I.J. (2013). Intelligence, Current Biology, 23, 673-676.
Butcher, J.N., Mineka, S. & Hooley, J.M. (2013). Abnormal Psychology (15th Education). Pearson International Edition. Allyn and Bacon.
Detterman, D.K. (2008). The science of human intelligence, on LEARN
Matthews, G., Deary, I.J. & Whiteman, M.C. (2009) Personality Traits (3rd Edition). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Chamorro-Premuzic, T., vonStumm, S. & Furnham, A. (Eds. 2011). The Wiley-Blackwell Handbook of Individual Differences. Wiley-Blackwell.
Cromby, J. Harper, D., & Reavey, P. (2013). Psychology, Mental Health and Distress. Palgrave Macmillan.
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Develop your research knowledge that will enable you to discuss, share, present and analyse data and information in various formats and from a range of sources
Develop your research methods and data analysis skills
Develop your critical reflection and writing skills
KeywordsNot entered
Course organiserProf Wendy Johnson
Tel: (0131 6)51 1304
Course secretaryMr Timothy Abbot
Tel: (0131 6)50 8498
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