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Psychology of Personality (215-0-20)


Alissa Levy Chung

Meeting Info

Swift Hall 107: Tues, Thurs 12:30PM - 1:50PM

Overview of class

The goal of this course is to study how people come to be the unique individuals that they are. We will begin at the very beginning of life and learn the biological and environmental influences that help to shape people's personalities over time. We will look at the basic building blocks of temperament and how they these fundamental characteristics of children develop into the major personality characteristics of adults. We will seek to answer questions about what motivates us, how we manage our emotions internally and in social settings, and how we interact as social beings. We will also look at ways in which personality traits may be stable over time or may be susceptible to change. Finally, we will examine the relation between personality and mental health. In what ways do different personality characteristics predispose us to or protect us from the development of psychopathology? What does it mean to have a disordered personality?

In this course, we will use both a book that will serve as our primary text and additional required articles that will include research and theoretical articles. Both sources of reading will be critical for understanding this course and (especially information from the book) will not be fully covered in lectures. The research articles may be challenging if you have never read a psychology article before, and I will go over what you need to know and allow time for questions about these articles in class. Class will also cover material that is not explicitly in the readings and will include examples and discussions that will be instrumental to your ability to master the material. If you do not attend class regularly, you should expect that the exams will probably be very challenging for you.

Registration Requirements

Recommended prerequisite: Psych 110

Teaching Method

Class will include lecture and time for student questions, as well as smaller groups for discussion during class.

Evaluation Method

There are 3 short (3-4 pages double spaced) papers are worth a total of 35% of your grade. The mid-term exam is worth 30%, and the final exam will account for the remaining 35% of your grade. Exam questions will consist of short answer and essay questions. Materials from the text, assigned readings, and lectures will all be included. The lectures will not be fully redundant with the text, so expect questions that derive from material presented in class or from material in the readings that was not covered in class. Class participation will be considered for borderline grades.

Class Materials (Required)

McAdams, D.P. (2015). The art and science of personality development. New York: Guildford Press. ISBN 978-1-4625-2932-2
Selected articles (Canvas).

Class Notes

Class Format:
Class will include lecture and time for student questions, as well as smaller groups for discussion during class.

Class Attributes

Social & Behavioral Sciences Distro Area