Psychology 301: Personality Research
Spring, 2008

Instructor Teaching Assistant
William Revelle Kaimy Oehlberg
Office: Swift 315
lab: Cresap 109
Swift 232
Telephone: 491-7700 847-491-3843
Office Hours T 2:30-5
or by appointment

M 12-1,Th 11:30-12:30 or by appointment


The basic theme of this course is that the proper study of human behavior should include an examination of individual differences in behavior. This course will include an examination of the sources (both biological and environmental), the correlates, and the consequences of individual differences in at least four different dimensions of personality, intellect, and temperament. Roughly one-third of the course will be devoted to reviewing current theories of personality, another third to outlining the steps in the measurement of personality, and the final third to designing and conducting experiments to evaluate current theoretical controversies in the field. Much of the reading will be come from current journal articles and recent review papers. Prerequisites: Statistics (Psychology 201), Research Methods in Psychology (205) and Personality Theory (215). (The first two are required, the last is highly recommended.)

The first part of the course is meant to provide a rapid overview of current theories of personality, particularly as they apply to real world performance. Tests of these theories are possible research projects. During the second third of the course, while preparing to conduct the research projects, class lectures and assignments will discuss the fundamentals of psychometric theory. The third section of the course will be devoted to other current topics in the field of personality research.

Requirements and methods of evaluation:

Suggested (but certainly not required) Texts

Pervin, L. A. and John, O. (Ed.). (1998). Handbook of Personality: theory and research.(2nd Ed) New York, New York: Guilford Press.

Robins, R.W., Fraley, R. C., Krueger, R.F., (2007) Handbook of research methods in personality psychologhy. New York, N.Y. Guilford.

Much of the material will be from chapters in Pervin and John or from Robins et al. as well as reprints of relevant articles. These will be distributed in class (or listed on the web syllabus). Still more material will be made available on the web. In addition, students are expected to review one particular topic in detail and should consult current journals in personality.

Relevant Journals:

Web Resources

Useful information for psychology majors may be found from The PSYCH WEB, a project of Russ Dewey at Georgia Southern University. This includes tip sheets on writing APA style papers as well as general information about careers in psychology. For more information about personality theory and research, consult The Personality Project
Note that this syllabus is a dynamic document and that additional links will be added throughout the course. Check back to this overview and to the detailed syllabus frequently.
To Course Outline

Web Address for this syllabus:
William Revelle
Revised March 30, 2008.