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PS201-15 Individual Differences

Undergraduate Level 2
Module leader
Elisabeth Blagrove
Credit value
Module duration
12 weeks
33% coursework, 67% exam
Study location
University of Warwick main campus, Coventry
Introductory description

The module examines research and theory in personality, intelligence, and the methods used in studying individual differences.

Module web page

Module aims

The module extends the work begun in PS111 and satisfies the requirements for the British Psychological Society’s Graduate Basis for Registration (GBR). It aims to give students an insight into the ways in which theory and research on intelligence and personality have developed, sometimes in competition and sometimes in cooperation. In the pursuit of this primary goal students will be introduced to: theories, research and practice in intelligence and personality in psychology; methods of assessing individual differences in intelligence and personality; and broader societal 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.

  1. Introducing Individual Differences
  2. Personality Theories: The Trait Approach to Personality
  3. Personality Theories: Psychoanalytic and Learning Theory Approaches
  4. Personality Theories: Humanistic and Cognitive Approaches
  5. Personality and Behaviour
  6. The Nature of Intelligence and its Measurement I
  7. The Nature of Intelligence and its Measurement II 8. Intelligence Tests and their Issues 9. Discussions and Debates: Heritability and Socially Defined Race Differences in Intelligence 10. Discussions and Debates: Gender Differences in Intelligence


Learning outcomes

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

  • Understand the basic units of personality as set out in biological, psychodynamic, cognitive, humanistic-existential-interpersonal, and social-constructionist theoretical frameworks
  • Understand key theories of intelligence
  • Critically evaluate the main research programmes in each of these areas
  • Have an understanding of the goals of multiple regression, factor analysis, and Q-sort procedures
  • Understand parallels in the development of research and theory into individual differences in personality and intelligence
  • Articulate and comment upon the nature of the main controversies in each of these areas of research
  • Be familiar with some of the applications of personality and intelligence theories
Indicative reading list

Maltby, J., Day, L. & Macaskill, A (2010) Personality, individual differences and intelligence. (2nd
edn.) Harlow, Essex: Pearson Education (available as an e-book through the University of Warwick
Chammorro-Premuzic, T. (2011) Personality and individual differences. (2nd edn.) Oxford: BPS

Further reading
Cooper, C. (2010) Individual differences. (3rd edn.) London: Hodder Education.
Deary, I.J. (2001) Intelligence: A very short introduction. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Funder, D.C. (2007) The personality puzzle. (4th edn.) New York: W.W. Norton and Company.
Gardner, H., Kornhaber, M.L., & Wake, W.K. (1996) Intelligence: Multiple perspectives. Toronto:
Harcourt Brace Publishers.
Mayer, J.D. (2007) Personality: A systems approach. Boston: Pearson Education.
Pervin, L.A. (2003) The science of personality. 2nd edn. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Sternberg, R.J., & Ruzgis, P. (eds.) (1994) Personality and intelligence. Cambridge: Cambridge
University Press.

Subject specific skills

Understanding of a range of biological, psychodynamic, cognitive, humanistic-existential-interpersonal, and social-constructionist theoretical frameworks
Application of underlying concepts and theories outside the context in which they were first studied
examine theoretical and ethical issues associated with the range of research

Transferable skills

critical evaluation skills
make appropriate use of journal articles, and of research catalogues to locate relevant articles
employ evidence-based reasoning

Study time

Type Required
Lectures 12 sessions of 2 hours (16%)
Seminars 5 sessions of 1 hour (3%)
Private study 121 hours (81%)
Total 150 hours
Private study description

121 hours guided student study


No further costs have been identified for this module.

You do not need to pass all assessment components to pass the module.

Students can register for this module without taking any assessment.

Assessment group D4
Weighting Study time
Essay in Action assignment 33%

Essay in Action Assignment Students will complete all 3 sections:

  1. Essay plan (500 words)
  2. 2 sample paragraphs (500 words in total) i) Choice of either introduction or conclusions sections ii) Choice of 1 substantive paragraph from submitted plan
  3. Reference list for planned essay
Online Examination 67%
  • Online examination: No Answerbook required
Feedback on assessment

Academic guidance form for assessed work; Structured feedback on presentation and discussion \r\nskills during seminars

Past exam papers for PS201

Post-requisite modules

If you pass this module, you can take:

  • PS346-15 Perspectives in Clinical and Counselling Psychology


This module is Core for:

  • Year 2 of UPSA-C800 Undergraduate Psychology
  • Year 2 of UPSA-C804 Undergraduate Psychology with Education Studies
  • Year 2 of UPSA-C802 Undergraduate Psychology with Linguistics

This module is Core optional for:

  • Year 2 of UIPA-C8L8 Undergraduate Psychology and Global Sustainable Development

This module is Optional for:

  • UPHA-L1CA Undergraduate Economics, Psychology and Philosophy
    • Year 2 of L1CA Economics, Psychology and Philosophy
    • Year 2 of L1CC Economics, Psychology and Philosophy (Behavioural Economics Pathway)
    • Year 2 of L1CD Economics, Psychology and Philosophy (Economics with Philosophy Pathway)
    • Year 2 of L1CE Economics, Psychology and Philosophy (Philosophy and Psychology Pathway)

This module is Unusual option for:

  • Year 2 of UPHA-L1CA Undergraduate Economics, Psychology and Philosophy

This module is Option list B for:

  • Year 2 of UPHA-VL78 BA in Philosophy with Psychology