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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences : Psychology

Postgraduate Course: Seminar in Personality (PSYL11075)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate) AvailabilityNot available to visiting students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThe goal of the course is to immerse students in the personality literature and introduce them to the methods used in personality research (e.g., twin designs, longitudinal studies, etc). The primary reading for the course consists of the most impactful and relevant articles in personality.

Students concerned about their background knowledge may draw upon an optional textbook and sit in on the year 4 personality courses.

PLEASE NOTE: this course is primarily intended for students on the MSc in Psychology of Individual Differences. Any other students should contact the course organiser for permission to take this course.
Course description Week 1 begins with an introductory lecture, getting to know your interests, and introducing the broad range of topics in advanced personality research. Alongside these topics, we provide lists of important or landmark papers.

Previous examples of previous student talks, topic summaries etc are all archived here

Based on these topics and core readings, each student chooses a topic to present on. We try and cover the full range of content areas. Students agree with course organizers on a core research paper they will summarise.

Week 2, the course organizer will give a demonstration talk.

In each subsequent week the:

1. Presenting student emails a 1-page summary of one or more major research papers, and a link to the paper.
2. Rest of class reads this paper, and the summary, and prepares thoughtful questions.
3. Student presents on this topic in class (usually two students/week - so around 1hr each).
3. Class discussion proceeds.

The schedule depends in part on student interests. Topics that may be covered include:

1. Personality structure and competing models.
2. Measurement of personality.
3. Psychopathology.
4. Effortful control.
5. Personality influences on health & well-being.
6. Business(e.g Leadership, Entrepreneurship etc) and Personality.
7. Genetic and familial influences on personality.
8. Personality change and development.
9. Personality in non-human animals.
10. Evolutionary psychology of personality.
11. Personality and culture.
12. The trait-situation debate.
13. Alternatives to traits.
14. Philosophical ideas about personality.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Course Delivery Information
Not being delivered
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. gain knowledge of some of the major research that has been conducted in personality
  2. gain knowledge of how one conducts personality research (methodological design issues, etc)
  3. summarise and present a set of scientific papers
  4. lead and participate in small discussion groups
  5. draft the equivalent of an 'introduction' to a dissertation or scientific paper
Reading List
Classics and recent papers form a range of journals that focus on personality, individual differences, behaviour genetics, and animal behaviour will be used.
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Reading and evaluating scientific papers and methods.

Drafting the equivalent of an introduction section for an MSc thesis or large paper.

Leading small group discussions.

Public speaking.
Additional Class Delivery Information Attend all lectures as scheduled
KeywordsIndividual differences,personality,positive psychology,well-being,twin research,genetics
Course organiserProf Timothy Bates
Tel: (0131 6)51 1945
Course secretaryMiss Toni Noble
Tel: (0131 6)51 3188
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