Skip to main content

Module

PSY2004 : Individual Differences

  • Offered for Year: 2023/24
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Sinead Mullally
  • Owning School: Psychology
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semesters

Your programme is made up of credits, the total differs on programme to programme.

Semester 2 Credit Value: 10
ECTS Credits: 5.0
European Credit Transfer System

Aims

To review the modern study of individual differences in psychology, with particular reference to:

(a)       validity and reliability in the measurement of individual differences;
(b)       the major theories of individual differences (especially the five factor model of personality and
theories of intelligence)
(c)       integrating correlational research with genetics and neurobiology
(d)       the relationships between individual differences, health and psychopathology

Outline Of Syllabus

Topics to be covered include:
The ‘big five’ personality dimensions and their correlates; Personality and health; Intelligence: controversies and measurement; Components of intelligence and their relationships to the big five; Emotional Intelligence and its relationship to general intelligence and the big five; Neurobiological/cognitive underpinnings of individual differences; Methods for measuring individual differences; Developmental influences on personality and intelligence; Sex Differences; Behavioural and molecular genetics of individual differences; The stability of the individual across situations.

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture92:0018:00Present in person
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion301:0030:00Preparing and completing coursework assessment
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading101:0010:00Reading for coursework assessment
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading101:0010:00Reading assigned for lectures
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesPractical11:001:00Synchronous Online: positive hands-on experience with existing online measures of personality
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching11:001:00Present in person: Small group session (video essay coursework formative feedback session)
Guided Independent StudyStudent-led group activity11:001:00Present in person: student led small group session (video essay coursework peer support session)
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesDrop-in/surgery31:003:00Synchronous Online. Support for video essay assignments (including IT guidance for marking a video essay)
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study125:0025:00Independent study and revision
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesModule talk11:001:00Synchronous Online. Introduction to Module and Assessment
Total100:00
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

The lectures, module talk and readings form the core factual content of the course. Students will participate in a practical session where they will participate in a variety of online personality tasks. During this session, students will be asked to reflect on and to discuss the strengths and weakness of the different tasks. This practical is designed to assist their understanding of the methods to study both individual difference , and to assist the preparation of their coursework assessment where they must devise a novel assessment tool, or adapt an existing assessment tool, for measuring one (or more) personality trait/s. This assessment will enhance learning outcomes and develop insight into how psychological measurement tools are constructed. The presentation mode (i.e. video essay) has been selected to enhance student engagement and to encourage critical and creative thinking.

Due to the novel presentation mode, students will also take part in small group sessions designed to support them throughout the preparation of their coursework and to provide students with the opportunity to receive formative feedback from staff and their peers at timely intervals during the preparation of their assignments.. During this process, students will complete written reflections. Students will be encouraged to submit these reflections after each small- group session, and a final reflective log once they have completed the assignment. Students will be required to submit these reflective logs alongside other assignment components at the point of submission. Failure to submit the reflective log component will result in a categorical mark being deducted from their final grade. If a student is unable to attend a small group session for an authorised reason, they will be encouraged to log their preparatory work for the session, along with their own reflection on their work. Additional optional drop-in surgeries will provide additional coursework assessment support. This process is designed to further enhance the learning outcomes of this module and to provide students with the experience of developing a research idea and a corresponding experimental design, prior to the commencement of their Stage 3 project.

Assessment Methods

The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners

Exams
Description Length Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Digital Examination302A30PIP Inspera invigilated. MCQs (25), unseen
Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Portfolio2M70Non-sync AV essay: 5-6 min duration; (written audio script 1k-1200 words), ref section, reflective log component (a minimum of three reflective logs documenting progress at the early, intermediate and final stages of the assignment process: minimum total word count = 1000 words)
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

Individual differences in intelligence: Multiple choice examinations are regularly used in Psychology Stage 2 modules and care is taken to ensure that the questions are of varying levels of difficulty and assess understanding as well as factual recall. Online quizzes provide formative feedback to students.

Individual differences in personality: assessed using a coursework assessment that is supported by small-group teaching sessions and multiple drop-in surgeries to provide formative feedback to students. This assessment has multiple elements: a video essay (audio-visual format) 5-6 minute duration, (supplemented by a written audio script that is not marked but ensures the marker can check any aspects of the video essay that are unclear), a reference section and reflective logs (see detail below on weighting of references and penalty for non-submission of reflective logs).

The video essay will be used to assess knowledge and understanding of the material relevant to this component of the module, along with ability for critical thinking within a psychological context (which includes consideration of ethical issues surrounding psychological testing). It will also assess ability to communicate ideas clearly – both visually and verbally - extending the range of graduate skills developed during the degree programme. Students will have the opportunity to receive formative feedback on their assignments at the small group sessions and at the online synchronous drop-in surgeries that will run throughout the semester. They will also attend a workshop designed to offer practical experience with existing measures of personality. This process is designed to further enhance the learning outcomes of this module and to provide students with the experience of developing a research idea and a corresponding experimental design, prior to the commencement of their Stage 3 project. The student-led session aims to encourage students to engage in meaningful peer learning, to support and receive support from their peers, and to take initiative in trouble shooting and problem solving. By doing so students will develop skills and confidence.

Reflective Logs: Following both small group sessions, students will complete a brief written description (~250 words), reflecting on the formative feedback received in each session (see ‘Rationale of Teaching Methods and relationship to Learning Outcomes’ for further details. These two logs, plus an additional final written reflective log (word limit = 500 words) should be completed when the video essay is complete, all components must be submitted together. When writing their final reflective log, students will be encouraged to reflect back on their earlier logs in order to encourage deeper reflection on their learning journey. Hence, the reflective logs will provide a forum for students to reflect on what they have learnt in the process of researching and completing their assignment, enabling them, as learners, to gain a better understanding of their learning journey. These logs will also provide the module leader with insights into the student voice and will enable modifications to be made to the assignment in order to enhance future students learning experiences.

Failure to submit the complete reflective log component (i.e. three reflective logs documenting distinct time points in the assignment process) will result in one categorical mark being deducted from the student's final grade for the video-essay component. If a student is unable to attend a small-group session for an authorized reason, they will be encouraged to submit their preparatory work for the session, along with their own reflection on their work.

The submission of an APA-formatted reference section is standard practice when submitting a psychology essay or report. This component is weighted at 5% of the total assignment grade.

Reading Lists

Timetable