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Understanding Personality and Intelligence


  • Credit value: 15 credits at Level 4
  • Convenor: Dr Michael Mallaghan
  • Assessment: a 10-minute presentation (40%) and in-class written essay (60%)

Module description

In this module we introduce you to those aspects of individual differences that tend to be of interest to psychology students: intelligence, motivation, personality and models of psychopathology. You will explore the degree to which these matter to an individual's life, opportunities and successes. You will be encouraged to question the impact culture might have in shaping concepts of mental health.

You will also be encouraged to explore the relevance of each of the topics to your studying practices.

Indicative syllabus

  • Does intelligence matter at university?
  • How much does motivation affect learning at university?
  • What is personality and how does it affect your learning?
  • Anxiety, the role of the environment and its impact on learning
  • Depression, the role of the environment and its impact on learning
  • What is 'normal'?
  • Models of psychopathology
  • Critical issues in diagnoses, classification and treatment
  • What impact does culture have on the way in which we understand individual differences?
  • Critiquing theories of learning styles

Learning objectives

By the end of this module, you will be able to:

  • summarise a range of perspectives on personality, motivation and intelligence, indicating understanding of how theories in each area are similar and how they differ
  • understand some of the limitations of these theories with regard to 'real-world' application
  • outline the key debates relating to models of psychopathology, and the main issues relating to diagnosis and treatment
  • understand the potential impact of cultural issues on the study of individual differences, and what cultural psychology might contribute to our understanding of individual differences
  • understand how positive psychology might contribute to our understanding of mental health and wellbeing
  • give an accurate account of how your study on this course might inform (and support) your studying practices on the programme.