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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

After successfully completing this unit, students will be able to:
  • Explain the main features of some of the major approaches to the psychology of personality (i.e., psychoanalytic/neoanalytic; the trait approach, the social-learning and social-cognitive approaches, and the motivational and narrative approaches).
  • Describe basic elements of historically important theories within each perspective.
  • Discuss some major elements of contemporary theories within each perspective.
  • 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.
  • Explain how an integration of many of these theories leads to a better understanding of human 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 50%
Practical report 40%
Article critique 10%

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.