DescriptionThe basic theme of this course is that the proper study of human behavior should include an examination of individual differences in affect, behavior and cognition. This course will include an examination of the sources (both biological and environmental), the correlates, and the consequences of individual differences in at least four different dimensions of personality, intellect, and temperament. Roughly one-third of the course will be devoted to reviewing current theories of personality, another third to outlining the steps in the measurement of personality, and the final third to designing and conducting experiments to evaluate current theoretical controversies in the field. Much of the reading will be come from current journal articles and recent review papers. Prerequisites: Statistics (Psychology 201), Research Methods in Psychology (205) and Personality Theory (215). (The first two are required, the last is highly recommended.)
The first part of the course is meant to provide a rapid overview of current theories of personality, particularly as they apply to real world performance. Tests of these theories are possible research projects. During the second third of the course, while preparing to conduct the research projects, class lectures and assignments will discuss the fundamentals of psychometric theory. The third section of the course will be devoted to other current topics in the field of personality research.
Requirements and methods of evaluation:
- A research proposal that reviews a relevant body of the personality literature, proposes a theoretical question, and suggests how to answer it. The review should be the equivalent of the introduction of a journal article, and the proposed method to test the theoretical question should demonstrate sophistication in research design. The paper should conclude with a summary of how the data will be analyzed and the pattern of expected results. To be written in APA style . (Due May 11). Final research projects will be selected from these proposals. (30%)
- A midterm exam that will cover the various theories of personality and performance discussed in class and in the readings. Sample questions will be distributed before the exam. (April 27th ) (30%)
- A final research project that will include a review of the relevant literature, an experimental test of an hypothesis, and a discussion of the experimental results. The data collection and some analysis will be performed as a group project, although the final paper must be an individual effort. To be written in APA style . (Due June 10th). (30%)
- A final exam that will cover the basic concepts of the course. (June 10th). (This final exam is optional and will be weighted equally with the other exams and projects. That is, if taken, all projects have a 22% weight. If not taken, all projects have a 30% weight.
- Class and discussion group participation. This is a class on research methods and theories. It is necessary for all members of the class to participate in proposing alternative models and evaluating the theories presented. This may be done in class discussion, as well as extraclass interaction. Computerized conferencing will be used as well. Email discussion with the instructor and teaching assistant is strongly encouraged. (10%)
Suggested (but certainly not required) Texts
John, O.P. and Naumann, L.P. and Soto, C.J. (2008) Handbook of personality: Theory and research. Guilford Press. N.Y.
Chamorro-Premuzic, T., Von Stumm, S., and Furnham, A. (2011). The Wiley-Blackwell Handbook of Individual Differences, volume 1. Wiley-Blackwell.
Robins, R.W., Fraley, R. C., Krueger, R.F., (2007) Handbook of research methods in personality psychologhy. New York, N.Y. Guilford.Some of the material will be from chapters in John or from Robins et al. as well as reprints of relevant articles. These will be distributed in class (or listed on the web syllabus). Still more material will be made available on the web. In addition, students are expected to review one particular topic in detail and should consult current journals in personality.
For the second and third class, I will be out of town at an international conference. Thus, you will need to do some independent readings;
- Revelle, W., Wilt, J., & Condon, D. (2011). Individual differences and differential psychology: A brief history and prospect. In Chamorro- Premuzic, T., Furnham, A., and von Stumm, S., editors, Handbook of Individual Differences, chapter 1, pages 3-38. Wiley-Blackwell, Oxford
- Smillie, L. D., Cooper, A., Wilt, J., and Revelle, W. (2012). Do extraverts get more bang for the buck? refining the affective-reactivity hypothesis of extraversion. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 103(2), 306-326.
- Wilt, J. and Revelle, W. (2016). Extraversion. In Widiger, T., editor, The Oxford Handbook of the Five Factor Model. Oxford University Press, New York, N.Y (to be emailed to class)
- Wilt, J., Bleidorn, W., and Revelle, W. (2016). Finding a life worth living: Meaning in life and graduation from college. European Journal of Personality, DOI: 10.1002/per.2046
last updated March 30, 2014
|371 Spring, 2014 Outline:|
|Week||Date|| Substantive Content |
for some journals, you need to be logged in at NU using a VPN
|Part I: Current Theories of Personality|
|Week 1||April 1||Introduction to the course (very large pdf)
3 approaches to personality psychology
| Revelle, Wilt and Condon (2011) Individual differences and differential psychology: A brief history and prospect |
Mischel, Annual Review, 2004
Revelle and Oehlberg (2008) Integrating experimental and observational personality research
|Take the |
Big 5 inventory
your scores are anonymous
|April 3|| Descriptive Taxonomies
the "Personality Coefficient"
|Pervin: Personality taxonomies |
John: The Big 5
|Critique of Big 5 inventory|
|Week 2||April 7||The ABCD's of Personality
Causal Theories of approach and avoidance
| Revelle, 2007 Experimental Techniques in Personality Research
Revelle, Condon and Wilt (2011) Methodological advances in differential psychology
|April 9||Approach: Introversion/extraversion and Impulsivity
theories based upon Eysenck and Gray
|Wilt and Revelle Extraversion (2009)
Smillie, Pickering and Jackson (2006) The new Reinforcement Sensitivity Theory: Implications for personality measurement. (must be using a NU account)
Revelle, Amaral and Turiff (1976)
Revelle, Humphreys, Simon and Gilliland (1980)
(optional: see Eysenck web page)
|Week 3||April 14||Alternative approaches to I/E
I/E, arousal and performance
I/E and positive affect
I/E and within and between variability
| Revelle, 1997 (impulsivity)
Rogers and Revelle, 1998
Fleeson, Malanos, Achille, 2002
Canli, et al., (2002)
Wilt, Funkhouser & Revelle (2011)
Smillie et al, (in press)) <-- NEW
|April 16||Approach: Achievement Motivation |
classical theory of risk preference (html)
(class notes pdf)
|Elliot and Thrash (2002)|
|Week 4||April 21|| Achievement motivation and efficient performance
Dynamic models of motivation
|Revelle, 1986 Atkinson festschrift
Revelle, 2009 The Cues Tendency Action (CTA) model
Elliot and McGregor (1999)
|April 23||Avoidance: Anxiety
Anxiety and performance (pdf)
| Elliot and McGregor (1999)
Wilt, Oehlberg, and Revelle (2011). Anxiety in personality
|Informal preliminary proposal
help in literature searches (select the articles tab)
A guide to literature searches and writing an APA style paper
Avoid common writing errors
|Week 5||April 28||Approach and Avoidance:
Personality, Motivation, and Performance
a theoretical proposal (pdf)
| Atheory of personality, motivation, and cognition: (Revelle (1992)
Personality and changes in affect over time Gilboa & Revelle
Personality and affective processing (Rogers and Revelle, 1998)
| Proposal requirements and |
a guide to searching the literature Using Endnote or BibDesk to search the literature
Using Latex for writing APA style papers.
|April 30||Midterm Study questions||Midterm|
|Part 2: The Measurement of Personality|
|Week 6||May 5||Basic issues in measurement
problems of measurement
| Methodological advances in differential psychology (Revelle, Condon and Wilt, 2011).
review of variance/covariance
|Review old statistics notes|
|May 7||Fundamentals of reliabilty||reliability notes (pdf)||Research Proposal due|
|Week 7||May 12||Types of reliability and validity||Item construction|
|May 14||Scale Construction||choose projects (in class)|
|Week 8||May 14|| Factor analysis
| Design project|
|May 19||Validity and decision making
Pitfalls in Research
|Pitfalls (class notes)||prq analysis|
|Part 3: Experimental Studies of Personality|
|Week 9||May 26||validity|
|May 28|| Evolutionary perspectives
Personality and behavior genetics
Behavior genetics, intelligence, life span studies
| McGue and Bouchard, Annual Review of Neuroscience, 1998
|Week 10:||June 2||Using R to analyze personality data
Using R to score scales
|Data analysis (by appointment)|
|June 11-||Papers due, (optional) Final Exam (June 11)|
|Course and Teacher Evaluation (CTEC)|
- Brody, Nathan., (1983) Human motivation : commentary on goal-directed action New York : Academic Press,
- Brody, N. (1988) Personality: in search of individuality. Academic Press, New York.
- Corr, P. J. (2008) Reinforcement Sensitivity Theory. Cambridge
- Eysenck, H. J., & Eysenck, M. W. (1985). Personality and individual differences: a natural science approach. New York: Plenum Press.
- Furr, M., Bacharach, V. R. Psychometrics: an introduction. Sage.
- Gray, Jeffrey A. (1987) The psychology of fear and stress McGraw-Hill
- Haslam, N. Introduction of personality and intelligence. (2007). Sage.
- Thayer, Robert. The biopsychology of mood and arousal. Oxford, Oxford University
Web ResourcesUseful information for psychology majors may be found from The PSYCH WEB, a project of Russ Dewey at Georgia Southern University. This includes tip sheets on writing APA style papers as well as general information about careers in psychology. For more information about personality theory and research, consult The Personality Project
Note that this syllabus is a dynamic document and that additional links will be added throughout the course. Check back to this overview and to the detailed syllabus frequently.
Web Address for this syllabus:
Revised September 21, 2009.