Introduction to Personality

Course Number: PSY 214
Transcript Title: Introduction to Personality
Created: September 1, 2012
Updated: August 15, 2019
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


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

Major 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)

Not addressed

3. Extract, interpret, evaluate, communicate, and apply quantitative information and methods to solve problems, evaluate claims, and support decisions in their academic, professional and private lives. (Quantitative Literacy)

Not addressed

4. Use an understanding of cultural differences to constructively address issues that arise in the workplace and community. (Cultural Awareness)


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

To establish an intentional learning environment, Core Learning Outcomes (CLOs) require a clear definition of instructional strategies, evidence of recurrent instruction, and employment of several assessment modes.

Major Designation

  1. The outcome is addressed recurrently in the curriculum, regularly enough to establish a thorough understanding.
  2. Students can demonstrate and are assessed on a thorough understanding of the outcome.
    • The course includes at least one assignment that can be assessed by applying the appropriate CLO rubric.

Minor Designation

  1. The outcome is addressed adequately in the curriculum, establishing fundamental understanding.
  2. Students can demonstrate and are assessed on a fundamental understanding of the outcome.
    • The course includes at least one assignment that can be assessed by applying the appropriate CLO rubric.

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 Activities and Design

The determination of teaching strategies used in the delivery of outcomes is generally left to the discretion of the instructor. Here are some strategies that you might consider when designing your course: lecture, small group/forum discussion, flipped classroom, dyads, oral presentation, role play, simulation scenarios, group projects, service learning projects, hands-on lab, peer review/workshops, cooperative learning (jigsaw, fishbowl), inquiry based instruction, differentiated instruction (learning centers), graphic organizers, etc.

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.