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Introduction to Personality

Course Number: PSY 214
Transcript Title: Introduction to Personality
Created: September 1, 2012
Updated: August 4, 2015
Total Credits: 4
Lecture Hours: 40
Lecture / Lab Hours: 0
Lab Hours: 0
Satisfies Cultural Literacy requirement: No
Satisfies General Education requirement: Yes
Grading options: A-F (default), P-NP, audit
Repeats available for credit: 0
Approved delivery mode:


MTH 20 or equivalent placement test scores. Prerequisite/concurrent: WR 121.


PSY 201A or PSY 202A

Course Description

Covers a variety of personality theories including the theoretical and scientific explanations for individuals' characteristic patterns of perception, thought, emotion and behavior. Emphasizes the understanding and mastery of personality constructs applied to students’ personal and professional lives. Recommended: PSY 201A or 202A. Prerequisites: MTH 20 or equivalent placement test scores. Prerequisite/concurrent: WR 121. Audit available.

Intended Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this course, students will be able to:

  1. Analyze the determinants of personality characteristics to better understand their effects on cognitions, emotions, and behavior.
  2. Think critically about and apply theoretical and research-based explanations for human behavior in order to successfully negotiate the challenges of daily living.
  3. Apply the major personality domains and theories to better understand one’s own behavior and the behavior of others.

Alignment with Institutional Core Learning Outcomes

In-depth 1. Communicate effectively using appropriate reading, writing, listening, and speaking skills. (Communication)


2. Creatively solve problems by using relevant methods of research, personal reflection, reasoning, and evaluation of information. (Critical thinking and Problem-Solving)


3. Apply the knowledge, skills and abilities to enter and succeed in a defined profession or advanced academic program. (Professional Competence)


4. Appreciate cultural diversity and constructively address issues that arise out of cultural differences in the workplace and community. (Cultural Awareness)


5. Recognize the consequences of human activity upon our social and natural world. (Community and Environmental Responsibility)

Outcome Assessment Strategies

Students will demonstrate learning outcomes by a combination of the tasks below:

  1. Completing research or conceptual papers on topics appropriate for the course.
  2. Responding to objective and/or subjective examinations which require integration, application, and critical examination of course concepts, issues, and themes.
  3. Participation in classroom discussion and group exercises.
  4. Participation in a service learning project.
  5. Field trips and site visits.

Course Content (Themes, Concepts, Issues and Skills)

  1. Personality defined and described.
  2. Assessment of personality including ethical considerations and the scientific method.
  3. Psychodynamic approaches to personality.
  4. Ego psychology and its contributions to personality theory.
  5. Biological approaches to personality.
  6. Behavioral/Learning approaches to personality.
  7. Dispositional/Trait approaches to personality.
  8. Cognitive/Social Learning approaches to personality.
  9. Humanistic/Existential approaches to personality.
  10. Cultural/social/anthropological views of personality including non-Western views of personality.
  11. Psychopathology adjustment problems caused by certain personality styles.
  12. Applications to individual differences.

Competencies and Skills

  1. Utilize various personality theories to explain differences among persons.
  2. Use knowledge of personality theories to improve one's personal adjustment and interpersonal relationships.
  3. Critical thinking.
    1. Recognize the complexity of human behavior, thought, and emotion.
    2. Recognize theoretical and research based assumptions which provide a foundation for the study of personality.
    3. Recognize personal assumptions about people such as prejudice, stereotypes, and attributional style which influence one's understanding of self and others.
    4. Appreciation of the concept that no one theoretical approach adequately integrates all knowledge and research about personality and its dynamics.