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The Psychology of Personality

2014 unit code: PSY30008 (formerly LSY300)

Please note that unit codes have changed from 2014.
Credit points12.5 Credit Points

1 Semester

Contact hours36 hours over the teaching period (normally 3 hours per week)


Related course(s)

*From July, 2013 this unit will be taught at the Hawthorn Campus

Effective 2010
, current students refer to coures outline.
This is a prescribed unit of study in the Social Science Major/s. It may also be undertaken as a unit of study in any other Swinburne degree program, subject to the prerequisite and degree requirements.

Aims and objectives

Having completed this unit, students should be able to do the following:

• Explain the main features of some of the major approaches to the psychology of personality (psychodynamic - i.e. psychoanalytic/neoanalytic; the trait approach, the social - learning and social - cognitive approaches, and the motivational and narrative approaches)
• Be able to describe basic elements of historically important theories within each perspective
• Be able to discuss some major elements of contemporary theories within each perspective
• Be able to critically evaluate how various approaches to personality explain specific issues such as the unconscious, the self, personality change, the effect of early childhood experiences, the effect of motivation on personality

Teaching methods

Units will be taught in a variety of modes including face to face, online, distance and blended modes. Delivery of this unit may be through a mixture of lectures, tutorials, laboratories, seminars and online.


Examination 40-60%
Assignments 40-60%

Generic skills outcomes

This unit will provide discipline-based knowledge and professional capabilities and experiences contributing to students progress in attaining generic skills such as:
• Analysis skills and problem solving skills
Further development of the critical evaluation of published work
The analysis of scientific studies
• Communications skills
• The analysis and reporting of scientific studies
• The ability to work independently


Four major perspectives on personality are examined:
• Psychodynamic
• Dispositional
• Environmental
• Representational

Issues such as methods of personality assessment and research strategies are also considered. Selected contemporary issues are also examined, including developments in areas such as psychodynamic theory and cognitive, social and narrative views of self.