PS315 Theories of Personality

for S1B 2007

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PS 315 Theories of Personality


S1B 2007 BL


Onick, Robert L.


Senior Instructor of Social Psychology/Adjunct Faculty


M.Ed. in Secondary Curriculum and Instruction
M.Ed. in Educational Psychology
Retired Licensed Professional Counselor (L.P.C.)

Office Location

To be negotiated as needed

Office Hours

To be arranged or negotiated by phone

Daytime Phone



Web Page


Semester Dates

January 9 - March 1, 2007

Class Days


Class Time

5:00 - 7:30 P.M.



Credit Hours


Engler, Barbara.  Personality Theories:  An Introduction:  7th edition; Houghton Mifflin Publishing Company, 2006.

Additional Resources:
Pertinent handouts and articles from current publications will be assigned periodically by the instructor as needed.

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Course Description:
Examination of the major personality theories and contributing research evidence with particular emphasis upon motivation and dynamics of behavior. PREREQUISITE: PS 101. 3:0:3

Educational Philosophy:
Lecture, presentations, and discussions will be used as well as structured experiential activities for students.  Student presentations and possible interviews will be integrated throughout the course.  Since an experiential, student-centered learning approach will be utilized, authentic performance assessments will be incorporated in alignment with the principles of change(CBAM--Concerns-Based Adoption Model for Change). Activities will focus on mastering higher order critical thinking and problem-solving techniques as part of the students' skills development and inquiry into basic research/theories related to the development of personality.  Emphasis will be placed on the formulation of the student's own theory of personality.

Learning Outcomes:
  Core Learning Outcomes

  1. Describe and differentiate among the major psychological approaches which explain personality.
  2. Define and apply key personality concepts, terms, and theories.
  3. Identify psychologists who have made major contributions to an understanding of personality.
  4. Explain research methodology and the ability to evaluate the merit of personality studies.
  5. Practically apply acquired insight of personality to one's own life

  Instructor Learning Outcomes
  1. Be able to  understand, comprehend, and communicate concepts, theories and notions related to the dynamics of human motivation, human behavior, and self-evaluations.
  2. Be willing to describe, recreate, define and make comparisons and contrasts concerning different approaches to personality development and the conceptualizations about your self-image.
  3. Be willing to apply various aspects of the course content and activities to personal experiences within the context of your day-to-day involvement with human beings and their motivations, attitudes, and behaviors.
  4. Be willing to observe and disclose personal reactions related to the course content and activities, and share your theory abour your own personality and its development over time.
  5. Be willing to commit to and keep class agreements and negotiations concerning ground rules for the course or renegotiate the agreements as needed with the instructor during the course.
Core Assessment:

PS315 Theories of Personality
Core Assessment

Research Reaction Paper In order to help you relate theories of personality to current research in the field, students will complete a research reaction paper focusing on the analysis of an empirical research article relevant to the study of personality. The research reaction paper should include a summary and discussion of the research article including the following areas: 1) topic area; 2) hypotheses; 3) method; and 4) major results and findings. Most importantly, reaction papers should include a thoughtful commentary by the student. Specifically, not only should students provide a general summary, but focus on a critique of the research question and design, as well as a discussion of how the research relates to other theories of personality. In addition, students should include a commentary about the relationship of the research findings to their own life and personality development. Students' comments, critique, and discussion should form the majority of the paper.


  • Information must be organized, presented and referenced using APA style.
  • Research Reaction Paper should be 10 pages (plus title and reference pages).

Link to Class Rubric

Class Assessment:

Readings and Journal Reaction Sheets (2 - 3 per semester)

Essay Questions/Applications (2 - 3 exams per semester)

Student Presentation/Interview/Research Abstract (Core Assessment)

Demonstration of Negotiated Course Agreements (assessed twice per semester)

Class Participation/Demonstrated Class Activities

Class Activity Reaction Sheets (Optional--extra credit)

Students will negotiate with the instructor the percentage of their total grade they want determined by each of the categories above, with the exception of the Core Assessment which is worth 20%. No category can be worth less than 15%.  They will communicate their intentions in writing to the class instructor and these will be binding unless renegotiated by both parties during the course of the term or at the end of the term.  Students will also be asked to personally evaluate their achievements in the course based on the stated course objectives and on the evidence of record from the above categories.   Course grades will be determined equally from instructor's performance assessments and student self-evaluations.

Late Submission of Course Materials:
Students who are absent and excused will be given one week to complete assignments with no penalty. Assignments turned in after one week will have 20 points deducted from the total possible points.  Unexcused absences will result in zeroes unless renegotiated with the instructor prior to the next class.

Classroom Rules of Conduct:
Students and instructor will negotiate and agree on a set of mutually workable ground rules during the first weeks of the course.

Course Topic/Dates/Assignments:

A. Readings and Journal Reaction Sheets: Read all material, both text readings and class handouts, in advance of assigned dates. Examine the material carefully in terms of the personal meaning it holds for you. Assignments correspond directly and support planned class activities and provide a background for understanding and realizing what is taking place. Assessment of readings (for grading purposes) will be done by periodic examination of reaction sheets entered in the student's journal. Examination of journal entries by the instructor will take place two or three times during the course; however, entries from the readings are to be made each week (weeks 3 -7).

NOTE: After reading assigned material, and in advance of assigned dates, write a concise two-page analysis for one chapter from the assigned readings each week. The two-page reaction sheets are to be dated and entered in the student's journal on the appropriate dates assigned. The "summary" will go on the front side of the first page while the student's personal reactions to the readings are to be written on the front side of the second page.

B. Class Activities Reaction Sheets: Reaction sheets may be entered in the journal (for grading purposes) on a weekly basis which summarize the previous week's classroom activities and your personal reactions to the activities. These reaction sheets would be in addition to the reading reaction sheets. These are not required and may be negotiated by individual students. The format is the same as reaction sheets to the assigned readings.

C. Essay Questions/Applications: Questions pertaining to class activities and assigned readings will be distributed to students on three occasions during the course. The number of questions on these exams will range from 3 to 7 for each distribution. Assessment will be based on the students ability to recreate personal and interpersonal experiences from class activities and personal interpretation and application of the content material.

D. Student Presentation/Interview/Research Abstract (Core Assessment): Although this short research and presentation project will be due the 7th or 8th week, the organization, planning, collaborating and researching will occur in a continuous process beginning in the 3rd week.

E. Class Participation: Since the course focuses on people and since all sessions will involve experiential activities and exercises involving class participants, active and consistent attendance and participation is needed from all students enrolling in the course. Assessment will be based on the instructor's observation of student performance and will be communicated and negotiated with each student during the course of the class and again at the end of the course.

F. Negotiated Course Agreements: Once the course ground rules have been negotiated, students will be assessed a grade by the instructor based on the extent to which the negotiated agreements have been actualized, demonstrated and performed. Students will assess the degree to which they have demonstrated personal integrity in actually doing what they agreed to do throughout the course.

Tentative Class Schedule:

Week 1 (Jan. 9 - 11, 2007): Negotiating the Syllabus for the Course

Introduction to Course/Syllabus/Handouts

Background Materials from Students (Assignment)

Creating a Context for the Course--Critical Thinking/Problem-Solving/Conceptualizations

Introduction to Ground Rules for the Course

Negotiations of Class Ground Rules for the Course

Experiential Activities on Examining Philosophical Assumptions of the Mind

Collection of Background Materials from Students

Week 2 (Jan. 16 - 18, 2007):

(Levels of Quality Thinking/Higher Order Thinking Skills)

Readings: Handouts/Chapter 1/Introduction

Class Discussion of Readings/Handouts

Continuation of Negotiation of Class Ground Rules/Syllabus

Experiential Activity on Theories/Philosophies/Notions/Concepts/Principles

Assignment of 1st Set of Essay/Application Questions

Discussion of Reaction Sheet Schedule

Week 3 (Jan. 23 - 25, 2007):

(The Psychoanalytical Theory and Approach)

Readings: Chapter 2

Experiential Activity on Human Behavior/Motivation

Class Discussion of Readings

Collection of 1st Set of Essay/Application Questions

Experiential Activity on Human Behavior and Group Interaction/Group Dynamics/Group Process

Week 4 (Jan. 30 - Feb. 1, 2007):

(The Neopsychoanalytical Approach)

Readings: Chapters 3, 4, 5, 6

Class Discussion of Readings

Experiential Activity on Wants/Needs/Values

Group Planning Session (Core Assessment Research)

Presentations of Theories (Discussions/Selections for Research Projects)

Assignment of 2nd Set of Essay/Application Questions

Experiential Activity on Personality and Motivation

Collection of 1st Set of Reaction Sheets

Week 5 (Feb. 6 - 8, 2007):

(Ego-Analytical/Behavior and Social Learning Theories and Approaches)

Readings: Chapters 6, 8, 9

Class Discussion of Readings

Experiential Activity on Distinctions/Possibilities/Paradoxes

Collection of 2nd Set of Essay/Application Questions

Presentations of Theories (Finalizing Research and Planning Presentations for Core Assessment Project)

Week 6 (Feb. 13 - 15, 2007):

(Dispositional Theories and Approaches)

Readings: Chapters 10, 11, 12

Class Discussion of Readings

Presentations of Theories (Refocusing/Refinement)

Collection of 2nd Set of Reaction Sheets

Experiential Activity on Motivation/Games/Integrity

Assignment of 3rd Set of Essay/Application Questions

Planning /Application/Validation Activity

Validation of Theories Activity

Week 7 (Feb. 20 - 22, 2007):

(Humanistic and Existential Theories and Approaches)

Readings: Chapters 7, 13, 14, 17

Class Discussion of Readings

Experiential Activity on Life/Living (Applications)

Collection of 3rd Set of Essay/Application Questions

Experiential Activity on Aliveness, Joy, Health, Satisfaction

Student Presentations of Core Assessments (Research Projects) Due

Week 8 (Feb. 27 - March 1, 2007): The Change Process in Personalities

(Cognitive-Behavioral and Non-Western World Approaches)

Readings: Chapters 15, 16, 17 (revisited)

Class Discussion of Readings/Applications

Student Presentations of Core Assessments (Research Project)

Feedback from Students (Own Theories)

Collection of 3rd Set of Reaction Sheets (optional)

Negotiation of Course Grade/Learning/Outcomes

Final Course "Completing" Activity

NOTE: Extra Credit is optional and can be negotiated individually from week-to-week with the instructor. It is not a requirement for the course and is intended to be fun, enlightening, and "risking" in nature.


I. Philosophy, Background and Basic Assumptions of the Theory

II. Key Concepts of the Model/Principle/Theory/Person

III. Main Focus of the Model/Principle/Theory/Person

IV. Description of/Impact on Society

V. Specific Application(s) to Human Behavior and Motivation

VI. Strengths/Advantages/Contributions of the Theory/Model

VII. Weaknesses/Disadvanges/Limitations of the Model/Theory

VIII. Personal Reactions to the Topics and Their Theoretical Applications

NOTE: Should not be more than one page in length (front and back) or two pages (front only).

Could be some aspect of the theory/model you are interested in or passionate about to some degree, or have directly experienced.

Would be applicable to content and timeline in the course syllabus and support the schedule of topics/issues presented by the instructor and/or the author of the text.

Academic Honesty:
Academic integrity is the foundation of the academic community. Because each student has the primary responsibility for being academically honest, students are advised to read and understand all sections of this policy relating to standards of conduct and academic life.   Park University 2006-2007 Undergraduate Catalog Page 87-89

Plagiarism involves the use of quotations without quotation marks, the use of quotations without indication of the source, the use of another's idea without acknowledging the source, the submission of a paper, laboratory report, project, or class assignment (any portion of such) prepared by another person, or incorrect paraphrasing. Park University 2006-2007 Undergraduate Catalog Page 87

Attendance Policy:
Instructors are required to maintain attendance records and to report absences via the online attendance reporting system.

  1. The instructor may excuse absences for valid reasons, but missed work must be made up within the semester/term of enrollment.
  2. Work missed through unexcused absences must also be made up within the semester/term of enrollment, but unexcused absences may carry further penalties.
  3. In the event of two consecutive weeks of unexcused absences in a semester/term of enrollment, the student will be administratively withdrawn, resulting in a grade of "W".
  4. A "Contract for Incomplete" will not be issued to a student who has unexcused or excessive absences recorded for a course.
  5. Students receiving Military Tuition Assistance or Veterans Administration educational benefits must not exceed three unexcused absences in the semester/term of enrollment. Excessive absences will be reported to the appropriate agency and may result in a monetary penalty to the student.
  6. Report of a "F" grade (attendance or academic) resulting from excessive absence for those students who are receiving financial assistance from agencies not mentioned in item 5 above will be reported to the appropriate agency.

Park University 2006-2007 Undergraduate Catalog Page 89-90
1.  Students will be expected to be in class on time according to the negotiated times given.

2.  Students are to give maximum possible notice should they be unable to attend as agreed.  If they are unable to attend, they will communicate their intentions to the instructor and complete missing assignments prior to the next class meeting.

Disability Guidelines:
Park University is committed to meeting the needs of all students that meet the criteria for special assistance. These guidelines are designed to supply directions to students concerning the information necessary to accomplish this goal. It is Park University's policy to comply fully with federal and state law, including Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, regarding students with disabilities. In the case of any inconsistency between these guidelines and federal and/or state law, the provisions of the law will apply. Additional information concerning Park University's policies and procedures related to disability can be found on the Park University web page: .

Additional Information:



CompetencyExceeds Expectation (3)Meets Expectation (2)Does Not Meet Expectation (1)No Evidence (0)
1, 2                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 
Student goes beyond identification of the major theory of personality to address the integration between various theories OR addresses specific, contemporary movements within a major conceptual framework.
Student correctly identifies and explains the major theory or theories of personality that underlie the research article.
Student inaccurately identifies the major theory OR fails to identify the most applicable theory.
Fails to use an empirical article relevant to theories of personality.
Student identifies and summarizes key aspects of the empirical study without including unnecessary or unimportant information; uses their own language to explain technical findings.
Student accurately understands and summarizes an empirical research study.
Student inaccurately understands the research article OR fails to correctly summarize the key points of the article.
No summary of the research article.
Student accurately critiques empirical findings or research methodology by going beyond the presented information to highlight original gaps, errors, inadequacies or unanswered issues.
Student accurately critiques empirical findings and methodology; focuses on the concerns that are specified in the article.
Student inaccurately critiques the research findings or methodology.
Fails to critique the findings/methodology.
1, 2, 3                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              
Student accurately and consistenly utilizes appropriate personality concepts that demonstrate a clear understanding of terminology.
Student accurately utilizes personality terminology to discuss the research article.
Student utilizes personality terminology inaccurately OR fails to consistently use personality terminology.
Utilizes no personality terminology.
1, 2, 3, 4                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           
Student shows detailed insight into the conceptual basis underlying major theories of personality; extends the basic conceptual information to show unique, contemporary or innovative applications.
Student shows an accurate understanding of the conceptual basis of major theories of personality as they are applied to contemporary research settings.
Student show inaccuracies in their understanding of major personality theories OR fails to utilize key concepts relevant to specific personality theories.
Failure to discuss or address the conceptual basis of major theories of personality.
1, 4                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 
Student shows extensive insight and self-reflection as they apply the key concepts of personality theory to explain personality development and maintenance.
Student provides an accurate description of the relevance of personality theories to their own life and personality development.
Student is inaccurate in their application of personality theory to explain their own personality OR provides a self-reflection that is unrelated to the theory addressed by the research article.
Fails to provide an application of personality theory to own life.
Whole Artifact                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             
Student utilizes APA style throughout paper with fewer than 3 errors.
Student utilizes APA style for title page, citations, references and overall organization of information; student has 4-6 errors in technical use of APA style.
Student utilizes APA style but has 7 or more errors.
Student fails to use APA style.
1, 2, 3, 4                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           
Body of literature review is 11 or more double-spaced pages, 1-inch margins, 12-point font (title and reference pages are additional) that includes the following subheadings: summary, critique, relationship to theory, self-reflections
Body of literature review is 10 double-spaced pages, 1-inch margins, 12-point font (title and reference pages are additional) that includes the following subheadings: summary, critique, relationship to theory, self-reflections
Body of literature review is 7-9 double-spaced pages, 1-inch margins, 12-point font (title and reference pages are additional) that includes the following subheadings: summary, critique, relationship to theory, self-reflections OR missing 1-2 specified components
Body of literature review is less than 6 double-spaced pages, 1-inch margins, 12-point font (title and reference pages are additional) that includes the following subheadings: summary, critique, relationship to theory, self-reflections OR missing 3 or more specified components


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Last Updated:11/17/2006 11:28:58 AM