PSYCHOL 3022 - Individual Differences, Personality & Assessment

North Terrace Campus - Semester 1 - 2015

This course addresses the field of Differential Psychology, which is concerned with understanding how and why people differ, despite broad similarities shared by all human kind. It reviews major theories, research methods and findings and how these translate into practices in the fields of intelligence and personality, including assessment. The curriculum builds on knowledge introduced in first and second years.

  • General Course Information
    Course Details
    Course Code PSYCHOL 3022
    Course Individual Differences, Personality & Assessment
    Coordinating Unit Psychology
    Term Semester 1
    Level Undergraduate
    Location/s North Terrace Campus
    Units 3
    Contact Up to 3 hours per week
    Available for Study Abroad and Exchange Y
    Prerequisites PSYCHOL 2004, PSYCHOL 2005, PSYCHOL 2006 and PSYCHOL 2007
    Incompatible PSYCHOL 3014
    Assessment Online exercises, written practical report, written exam.
    Course Staff

    Course Coordinator: Professor Nicholas Burns

    Additional Academic Staff:
    Prof Nick Burns - Ph +61 8313 3965; Email -
    Dr Matthew Welsh - Ph +61 8313 8024; Email -
    Emeritus Prof Ted Nettelbeck - Ph +61 8313 3770; Email -
    Dr Peter Strelan - PH +61 8313 5662; Email -

    School of Psychology Office:
    Ph - +61 8313 5693; Email -

    Course Timetable

    The full timetable of all activities for this course can be accessed from Course Planner.

  • Learning Outcomes
    Course Learning Outcomes
    At the successful completion of this course students will be able to:

    1.    Understand the  psychometric debate relating to different theories of personality and intelligence
    2.    Understand  how contemporary psychometric theory is applied to the assessment of individual differences.
    3.    Apply  the principles of psychological assessment
    4.    Understand  the extent to which individual differences in putative enduring characteristics and dispositions are related to human behaviour, cognition, emotion and motivation
    5.    Understand how individual differences can be applied to improve an understanding of psychological concepts
    6.     Recognise the content of different kinds of ability and personality tests and to be familiar with the practical and ethical considerations associated with psychological testing
    7.    Analyse data using computer-based procedures taught as part of PSYCHOL 2004 Doing Research in Psychology and PSYCHOL 3020 Doing Research in Psychology: Advanced.
    8.    Know how to format a manuscript for submission to a psychology journal according to American Psychological Association format guidelines
    9.    Prepare a practical report that takes the form of a manuscript similar to that which would be submitted to a journal for publication
    10.    Prepare a tutorial paper, participate in group discussion of relevant issues and make a presentation to the tutorial group.
    University Graduate Attributes

    This course will provide students with an opportunity to develop the Graduate Attribute(s) specified below:

    University Graduate Attribute Course Learning Outcome(s)
    Knowledge and understanding of the content and techniques of a chosen discipline at advanced levels that are internationally recognised. 1-10
    The ability to locate, analyse, evaluate and synthesise information from a wide variety of sources in a planned and timely manner. 1, 2, 4, 5, 7
    An ability to apply effective, creative and innovative solutions, both independently and cooperatively, to current and future problems. 6-10
    Skills of a high order in interpersonal understanding, teamwork and communication. 10
    A proficiency in the appropriate use of contemporary technologies. 6
    A commitment to continuous learning and the capacity to maintain intellectual curiosity throughout life. 1-10
    An awareness of ethical, social and cultural issues within a global context and their importance in the exercise of professional skills and responsibilities. 6
  • Learning Resources
    Required Resources
    Specified text:
    Maltby, Day & Macaskill,  (3rd ed, 2013)  Personality, individual differences and intelligence, Pearson
    Recommended Resources
    Barr Smith Library – Psychology on the Web
    The Library is a major resource centre for students. The Research Librarian for Psychology, Maureen Bell, provides some useful information through the Internet at The website contains a list of databases, links to tutorials and help with searching methods.

    For additional information regarding recommended resources please refer to the relevant Psychology Program Handbook and the  Undergraduate Program Handbook at the following link:
    Online Learning
    This course may use MyUni for one or more of the following:

    •    Communication with students via Announcements and Discussion Board
    •    Submission of summative assessment
    •    Access to lecture recordings
    •    Access to tutorial materials
    •    Additional readings
    •    Self-directed learning activities
    •    Exam preparation materials

    Link to MyUni:
  • Learning & Teaching Activities
    Learning & Teaching Modes
    Lectures are supported by summative exercises that test course content and tutorials that extend material covered in lectures. Core curriculum, including the research practical, is taught within a structure that reflects the research strengths of the School of Psychology so that topics covered can be explicitly linked to research conducted within the School.

    The information below is provided as a guide to assist students in engaging appropriately with the course requirements.

    The information below is provided as a guide to assist students in engaging appropriately with the course requirements.

    24 x 1 hour lectures = 24 hours
    1 x 1 hour practical = 1 hours
    4 x 1 hour tutorials = 4 hours
    1 x exam = 2.5 hours
    Reading & revision = 50.5 hours
    Preparation for tutorials = 12 hours
    Preparing practical report = 37 hours
    Completing summative assignments = 25 hours
    TOTAL hours/semester = 156 hours

    Workload per week = 13 hours
    Learning Activities Summary
    The following is a provisional timetable that is subject to revision:

    Week Topic
    Week 1 1.    Psychometrics I
    2.    Psychometrics II
    Week 2 1.    Psychometrics III
    2.    Personality Models I
    Week 3 1.    Personality Models II
    2.    Personality Models III
    Week 4 1.    Behavioural Genetics & Personality
    2.    Bias in Decision Making I
    3.    Tutorial
    Week 5 1.    Bias in Decision Making II
    2.    Bias in Decision Making III
    Week 6 1.    Intelligence: Psychometric Theories I
    2.    Intelligence: Psychometric Theories II
    3.    Practical
    Week 7 1.    Other intelligences
    2.    Measuring intelligence
    3.    Tutorial
    Week 8 1.    Rising IQ
    2.    Emotional intelligence
    Week 9 1.    Personality and intelligence and the workplace
    2.    Sex differences in intelligence
    3.    Tutorial
    Week 10 1.    Creativity and giftedness
    2.    Applied individual differences: Just world beliefs
    Week 11 1.    Applied individual differences: Forgiveness
    2.    Applied individual differences: Optimism
    Week 12 1.    Applied individual differences: Human values
    2.    Individual differences and Social Psychology
    3.    Tutorial
    Disclaimer: This program is provisional and subject to change
  • Assessment

    The University's policy on Assessment for Coursework Programs is based on the following four principles:

    1. Assessment must encourage and reinforce learning.
    2. Assessment must enable robust and fair judgements about student performance.
    3. Assessment practices must be fair and equitable to students and give them the opportunity to demonstrate what they have learned.
    4. Assessment must maintain academic standards.

    Assessment Summary

    Assessment Task Assessment Type Weighting Learning outcome(s) being addressed
    Summative exercise 1 Summative    5% 1-5
    Summative exercise 2 Summative    5% 1-5
    Summative exercise 3 Summative    5% 1-5
    Summative exercise 4 Summative    5% 1-5
    Tutorial exercise 1 Summative    2% 1, 2, 10
    Tutorial exercise 2 Summative    2% 1, 2, 10
    Tutorial exercise 3 Summative    2% 1, 2, 10
    Tutorial exercise 4 Summative    2% 1, 2, 10
    Practical Report Summative    30% 6-9
    (150 minutes)
    Summative    42% 1-5
    Assessment Detail
    Each summative exercise is a quiz on-line that covers topics within the course that cover, respectively, personality, intelligence, applied individual differences and motivation & emotion.

    Tutorial papers are set on a designated topic that relates to lecture content. These form the basis of small group discussion at tutorial classes, together with subsequent short individual presentations by elected group leaders.

    The practical  aims to provide experience in (i) completing cognitive and personality test inventories and elementary cognitive tasks, (ii) collecting, collating and analysing data to test theoretically generated hypotheses , and (iii) writing a report that conforms with discipline publication requirements. Part (i) is completed online. Parts (ii) and (ii) are completed in the student’s own time within a specified deadline for submission.The examination (150 Minutes) consists of 11 short answers to questions, chosen from a total of 19, that, together, cover the full course of lectures.

    Please refer to the relevant Psychology Program Handbook and the General Handbook for Undergraduate Psychology students (available at the link below) for further details relating to assessment:
    Please refer to the General Handbook for Undergraduate Psychology students (available at the link below) for details on submission process/requirements, penalties for late submission, the process of applying for extensions, and the staff “turn-around” timeline on assessments and the provision of feedback and policy relating to re-submission/redemptive work.
    Course Grading

    Grades for your performance in this course will be awarded in accordance with the following scheme:

    M10 (Coursework Mark Scheme)
    Grade Mark Description
    FNS   Fail No Submission
    F 1-49 Fail
    P 50-64 Pass
    C 65-74 Credit
    D 75-84 Distinction
    HD 85-100 High Distinction
    CN   Continuing
    NFE   No Formal Examination
    RP   Result Pending

    Further details of the grades/results can be obtained from Examinations.

    Grade Descriptors are available which provide a general guide to the standard of work that is expected at each grade level. More information at Assessment for Coursework Programs.

    Final results for this course will be made available through Access Adelaide.

  • Student Feedback

    The University places a high priority on approaches to learning and teaching that enhance the student experience. Feedback is sought from students in a variety of ways including on-going engagement with staff, the use of online discussion boards and the use of Student Experience of Learning and Teaching (SELT) surveys as well as GOS surveys and Program reviews.

    SELTs are an important source of information to inform individual teaching practice, decisions about teaching duties, and course and program curriculum design. They enable the University to assess how effectively its learning environments and teaching practices facilitate student engagement and learning outcomes. Under the current SELT Policy ( course SELTs are mandated and must be conducted at the conclusion of each term/semester/trimester for every course offering. Feedback on issues raised through course SELT surveys is made available to enrolled students through various resources (e.g. MyUni). In addition aggregated course SELT data is available.

  • Student Support
  • Policies & Guidelines
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