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EQ904-30 Individual Differences: Theory & Classroom

Academic year
Centre for Education Studies
Taught Postgraduate Level
Module leader
Elisabeth Blagrove
Credit value
Module duration
10 weeks
100% coursework
Study location
University of Warwick main campus, Coventry
Introductory description

This module addresses themes in educational leadership and management and aims to develop your confidence and effectiveness in the area. In particular, you will focus on the development and implementation of policy, scrutinising and progressing your own capacity to lead and manage strategically, including how to deploy resources effectively and efficiently.

Module aims

The module examines research and theory in emotions, personality, and intelligence, and the methods used in studying individual differences from a psychological perspective as well as their implications for learning in the classroom.
The aims of this module are:
Examine key theories, research and practice in emotion, intelligence and personality in psychology;
Approach emotions mainly from a psychological perspective, where emotions are seen as mental processes;
Differentiate between emotions and other similar constructs such as mood, wellbeing, stress, and emotional intelligence;
Examine the role emotions play in schools and young people’s wellbeing;
Explore methods of assessing individual differences in intelligence and personality; and
Examine broader societal and educational issues relating to individual differences in personality and intelligence.

Outline syllabus

This is an indicative module outline only to give an indication of the sort of topics that may be covered. Actual sessions held may differ.

Week 1: Personality theory
Examine different theoretical approaches (e.g., biological, psychodynamic, humanistic) to personality. Evaluate their conceptualization and their impact on typical development.
Week 2: Positive psychology & wellbeing
Explore key principles of positive psychology and their influence on wellbeing and discuss research evidence on the links between social/emotional wellbeing and learning in children and young people.
Week 3: Intelligence theory I
Week 4: Intelligence theory II
In these 2 sessions, theories of intelligence; individual differences in the development of intelligence and measurement of intelligence are discussed, especially with regard to their implications for learning. Socio-economic and other contextual factors will also be explored.
Week 5: Individual differences in emotion
Emotion is examined as both a mental process and experiential phenomenon, with an emphasis on different manifestations in individual cases. Focus will be on differences in emotional reactivity and regulation, across the lifespan (but focusing mainly on childhood and adolescence).
Week 6: Individual differences and their implications for education
Examine how individual differences translate into differences in education and learning.

Week 7: Emotion, cognition and learning
Examine learning through the psychological lenses of emotion and cognition.

Week 8: Emotion in the school environment
Examine the role that emotions play in classroom and school settings.

Week 9: Emotion, personality and intelligence and their application to education
Bring together key psychological theories on emotion, intelligence and personality and examine their application to education.

Week 10: Module revision

Learning outcomes

By the end of the module, students should be able to:

  • Understand and critique psychological theories on emotion, personality and intelligence.
  • Appreciate the extent to which educating children is underpinned by psychological theories in emotion, personality and intelligence.
  • Relate theory and practice in personality and intelligence to wider education debates on the influence of genetics and environment in learning.
  • Understand the interplay between emotions, social/emotional wellbeing and learning in young people.
  • Engage critically with psychological research in individual differences with a focus on personality and intelligence.
  • Understand and develop the requirements of a psychology-based enquiry to intelligence and personality testing.
  • Relate the development of psychological insights regarding emotion, personality and intelligence and their application to education.
  • Compare and contrast practical experience with theory regarding emotions, personality and intelligence and their manifestation in school.
  • To demonstrate effectively the ability to analyse, critique and reflect on issues pertinent to individual differences.
Indicative reading list

Anastasi, A. (1988). Psychological Testing, 6th Edition. New York: Macmillan
Damasio, A. (2005). Descartes' Error: Emotion, Reason, and the Human Brain. London: Penguin Books.
Deary, I.J. (2001). Intelligence: A very short introduction. Oxford: OUP.
Eysenck, M.W. (1994). Individual Differences: Normal and Abnormal. Mahwah, NJ: LEA.
Fox, E. (2008). Emotion Science: An Integration of Cognitive and Neuroscientific Approaches. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.
Goleman, D. (2005). Emotional Intelligence. New York: Bantam Books.
Jenkins, J.M. (1998). Human Emotions: A Reader. Cambridge: Blackwell.
Kline, P. (2000). A psychometrics primer. London: Free Association Press.
Larsen, R.J. & Buss, D.M. (2002). Personality psychology. Boston, MA: McGraw Hill.
Lewis, M., Haviland-Jones, J. M., & Feldman Barrett, L. (2008). Handbook of Emotions. New York: Guilford Press.
Matthews, G. & Deary, I.J. (1998). Personality Traits. Cambridge: CUP.
Niedenthal, P. M., Krauth-Gruber, S., & Ric, F. (2006). Psychology of Emotion: Interpersonal, Experiential and Cognitive Approaches. New York: Psychology Press.
Oatley, K., Keltner, D., & Jenkins, J.M. (2006). Understanding Emotions (2nd edition). Cambridge: Blackwell.
Parkinson, B., Fischer, A., & Manstead, A. (2004). Emotion in Social Relations: Cultural, Group, and Interpersonal Processes. New York: Psychology Press .
Strongman, K.T. (2003) The Psychology of Emotion: From Everyday Life to Theory Fifth edition. Maidenhead: Wiley.

View reading list on Talis Aspire


-Synthesis of the principles of individual differences psychology and real world educational practice
-Understanding of the psychological dynamics of the learning environment, and how this draws on a variety of disciplines and policy/practice perspectives
-Awareness of the practical & ethical issues around application of theoretical knowledge in education and psychology to the learning environment

Subject specific skills
  • The diversity of learners and how this is reflected in psychological differences (e.g., personality, emotion, intelligence etc.)
  • The complexity of the interaction between learning environment and individual differences (both teacher and learner), and the the extent to which this can influence the learning process.
  • The societal norms and policy framework surrounding learner individual differences , and the possible implications for learning environment and process.
  • Constructively critique theories, practice and research in the area of individual differences psychology
Transferable skills
  • Active listening.
  • Analysis and decision making.
  • Application of numeracy.
  • Attitudes and aptitudes for work.
  • Basic numeracy skills.
  • Character/personality.
  • Cognitive flexibility.

Study time

Type Required Optional
Lectures 10 sessions of 2 hours (7%)
Seminars 10 sessions of 1 hour (3%)
Tutorials (0%) 1 session of 15 minutes
Private study 270 hours (90%)
Total 300 hours
Private study description

Independent study hours include background reading, completing reading/other tasks in preparation for timetabled teaching sessions, undertaking research using the library resources, follow-up reading work, working on individual and group projects, the completion of formative and summative assignments, revision


No further costs have been identified for this module.

You must pass all assessment components to pass the module.

Students can register for this module without taking any assessment.

Assessment group A1
Weighting Study time
Assignment 100%

A 5,000-word assignment.

Feedback on assessment

Both formative and summative feedback is offered; formative through tutor comments on draft papers and summative through comments on formal Masters feedback sheet.




This module is Core for:

  • PGA in Individual Differences: Theory and Classroom
  • Postgraduate Award in Individual Differences

This module is Optional for:

  • Year 1 of RIEA-X3X8 Postgraduate Research Doctorate in Education
  • Year 1 of TIEA-X31L Postgraduate Taught Educational Innovation
  • Year 1 of TIEA-X31M Postgraduate Taught Educational Leadership and Management
  • Year 1 of TEQA-C8X3 Postgraduate Taught Psychology and Education
  • Year 1 of TEQA-C8X4 Postgraduate Taught Psychology and Education
  • MA Drama and Theatre Education
  • X30C MA in Educational Leadership and Management