PSYCHOL 3022 - Individual Differences, Personality & Assessment

North Terrace Campus - Semester 1 - 2018

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 At least 6 units of Level II Psychology which must include PSYCHOL 2004
    Assessment Written report, essays, exam
    Course Staff

    Course Coordinator: Professor Nicholas Burns

    Additional Academic Staff:
    Prof Nick Burns - Ph +61 8313 3965; 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 more advanced methods taught in this course.
    8.    Prepare written work using APA style as required for submission to a journal for publication

    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)
    Deep discipline knowledge
    • informed and infused by cutting edge research, scaffolded throughout their program of studies
    • acquired from personal interaction with research active educators, from year 1
    • accredited or validated against national or international standards (for relevant programs)
    1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8
    Critical thinking and problem solving
    • steeped in research methods and rigor
    • based on empirical evidence and the scientific approach to knowledge development
    • demonstrated through appropriate and relevant assessment
    7, 8
  • Learning Resources
    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
    •    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 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.

    16 x 1 hour lectures = 16 hours
    4 x 1 hour tutorials = 4 hours
    1 x exam = 1.5 hours
    Reading & revision = 60 hours
    Preparation for tutorials = 10 hours
    Completing assignments = 64.5 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 Psychometrics
    Week 2 Psychometrics
    Week 3 Psychometrics Tutorial
    Week 4 Intelligence
    Week 5 Intelligence
    Week 6 Intelligence Tutorial
    Week 7 Applied Individual Differences
    Week 8 Applied Individual Differences
    Week 9 Applied Individual Differences Tutorial
    Week 10 Personality
    Week 11 Personality
    Week 12 Personality 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    15% 6-9
    Summative exercise 2 Summative    20% 1-5
    Summative exercise 3 Summative    20% 1-5
    Summative exercise 4 Summative    15% 1-5
    (90 minutes)
    Summative    30% 1-5
    Assessment Detail
    All summative exercise are submitted on-line and cover topics within the course: psychometrics; personality; intelligence; applied individual differences; individual differences in decision making. There is a data analysis exercise and written assignments, which may also involve data collection and analysis.

    The examination consists of multiple choice questions, that, together, cover the full course.

    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
  • Fraud Awareness

    Students are reminded that in order to maintain the academic integrity of all programs and courses, the university has a zero-tolerance approach to students offering money or significant value goods or services to any staff member who is involved in their teaching or assessment. Students offering lecturers or tutors or professional staff anything more than a small token of appreciation is totally unacceptable, in any circumstances. Staff members are obliged to report all such incidents to their supervisor/manager, who will refer them for action under the university's student’s disciplinary procedures.

The University of Adelaide is committed to regular reviews of the courses and programs it offers to students. The University of Adelaide therefore reserves the right to discontinue or vary programs and courses without notice. Please read the important information contained in the disclaimer.