Postgraduate Course: Individual Differences in Mental Health (CLPS11055)
|School||School of Health in Social Science
||College||College of Humanities and Social Science
|Credit level (Normal year taken)||SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate)
||Availability||Available to all students
|Summary||This 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.
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)
||Other requirements|| None
Information for Visiting Students
|High Demand Course?
Course Delivery Information
|Academic year 2018/19, Available to all students (SV1)
|Course Start Date
|Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info)
Lecture Hours 12.5,
Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 2,
Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours
|Assessment (Further Info)
|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.
||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.
||Hours & Minutes
|Main Exam Diet S2 (April/May)||Individual Differences in Mental Health||2:00|
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
- Demonstrate an In-depth knowledge and critical understanding of individual differences and differential psychology.
- Demonstrate psychological literacy in all aspects of students' lives.
- Demonstrate critical reflection on how differential psychology perspectives can aid our understanding of mental health and illness.
|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.
|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
|Course organiser||Prof Wendy Johnson
Tel: (0131 6)51 1304
|Course secretary||Mr Timothy Abbot
Tel: (0131 6)50 8498