Course Description

What is theory? What is personality? What is your theory of your personality? This course introduces the student to a number of personality theorists, their personalities, and their views in offering insight in to the question of the self. Psychoanalytic, social, behavioral, traits, biological, humanistic, and cognitive are some of the theories that will be discussed in this course.

Course Topics & Objectives

Week One: Personality Theories

·         Describe the five basic dispositional traits.

·         Discuss the three levels of personality.

·         Explain the three steps of the scientific process as applied to personality psychology.

Week Two: Social-Learning Theory and Behaviorism

·         Describe the three historic periods of modern personality psychology.

·         Summarize key concepts of behaviorism and of Bandura’s social-learning theory.

Week Three: The Nature of Traits

·         Describe the qualities of an effective trait inventory.

·         Compare mechanistic and reciprocal interactionism.

·         Compare and contrast the different positions of the nature of traits as presented by 20th-century theorists. 

Week Four: Basic Traits 

·         Discuss the meaning and implications of the Big Five basic trait clusters.

Week Five:Personality Traits Over Time

·         Distinguish between absolute continuity and differential continuity.

·         Discuss trait continuity patterns from infancy through adulthood.

·         Compare genetic and environmental influence on trait origins and development. 

Week Six:Human Motivation

·         Compare and contrast the psychoanalytic, humanistic, and diversity views of human motivation.

Week Seven:Social-Cognitive Theory

·         Describe how cognitive styles influence personality.

·         Examine the major components of social-cognitive theory.

·         Analyze George Kelly’s theory of personal constructs.

Week Eight:Stages of Life and Development

·         Examine Erik Erikson’s eight stages of life.

·         Explain Jane Loevinger’s stages of ego development. 

Week Nine:Narrative Identity and You 

·         Compose a personal narrative identity.

·         Construct a unique personality theory. 

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