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The University of Southampton

PSYC1018 Individual Differences

Module Overview

The course covers the topics of personality and intelligence from the perspective of individual differences. Some research psychologists explore the ways in which people are the same, and seek to draw general conclusions about human nature. However, other research psychologists explore the ways in which people differ, and seek to describe the diversity inherent human nature. That is the subject matter of this module.

Aims and Objectives

Learning Outcomes

Learning Outcomes

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • grasp the general nature of individual differences
  • understand yourself and others better, in terms of who are you, and what your skills are
  • grasp many issues and controversies that affect the topic individual differences
  • understand several major theoretical perspectives on personality
  • understand several major theoretical perspectives on intelligence
  • appreciate the assumptions underlying major theoretical perspectives on personality and intelligence
  • compare and critically evaluate major theories about personality and intelligence
  • discuss and evaluate how empirical research can test theories about personality and intelligence
  • understand how to construct scales to assess personality traits and/or mental abilities
  • understand some basic issues in psychometrics (item quality, scale structure, scale, reliability, scale validity)


I: PERSONALITY TOPICS will include: Introduction Trait Theories Psychoanalysis (Freud) Psychoanalysis (After Freud ) Learning Theories Social Learning Theory Evolutionary Theory Biological Theories I & II Nature and Nurture Humanistic Theories Cognitive Theories II: INTELLIGENCE TOPICS will include: Theory and Measurement Interpretations & Mechanisms Heritability Gender & Race Emotional (EQ) III: APPLIED TOPICS will include: Scale Construction

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

Lecturing: Weekly 2-hour sessions Tutorials: Held in Weeks 5 and 6.* The tutorials are designed to complement and support the two coursework essay topics. Tutorial 1: The structure of personality/intelligence Tutorial 2: The origin of personality/intelligence The larger class is divided into subgroups of about 40 students each. Activities involve more student participation and direct interaction with class instructors. * Subject to timetable changes

Independent Study126
Total study time150

Resources & Reading list

Maltby, J. ,Day, L. & Macaskill, A. (2017). Personality, Individual Differences and Intelligence. 

Nettle, D. (2007). Personality: What makes you the way you are. 

Deary, I. J. (2001). Intelligence: A very short introduction. 



MethodPercentage contribution
Assessment 20%
Essay 17.5%
Essay  (1200 words) 60%
Research Participation 2.5%


MethodPercentage contribution
Assessment 100%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External

Linked modules

Pre-requisite: PSYC1016

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