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Module

PSY2004 : Individual Differences

  • Offered for Year: 2020/21
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Sinead Mullally
  • Owning School: Psychology
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semesters
Semester 2 Credit Value: 10
ECTS Credits: 5.0

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

Please note that module leaders are reviewing the module teaching and assessment methods for Semester 2 modules, in light of the Covid-19 restrictions. There may also be a few further changes to Semester 1 modules. Final information will be available by the end of August 2020 in for Semester 1 modules and the end of October 2020 for Semester 2 modules.

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion301:0030:00Preparing and completing coursework assessment
Structured Guided LearningLecture materials141:0014:00Non-synchronous online
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesPractical11:301:30PIP Tasks to measure intelligence & personality.
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 ActivitiesSmall group teaching21:002:00Synchronous Online. Small group sessions (video essay coursework formative feedback sessions)
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesWorkshops11:301:30Synchronous Online. IT workshop (animation software examples)
Structured Guided LearningStructured non-synchronous discussion31:003:00Discussion to support student engagement in learning
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesDrop-in/surgery61:006:00Synchronous Online. Video essay coursework guidance
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study120:0020:00Independent study and revision
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesModule talk21:002:00Synch Online. Session 1 to introduce the module and session 2 to introduce the coursework assessment
Total100:00
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

The Module Talks and readings form the core factual content of the course. Students will participate in a practical session where they will gain -experience administering a number of personality tasks and neuropsychological tests of intelligence . 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 differences in personality and intelligence, and to assist the preparation of their coursework assessment where they must “devise a novel 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 an IT workshop (to support their use of animation and/or presentation software) and two small-group teaching sessions designed to support them throughout the preparation of their coursework. Prior to attending each small-group teaching, students will be tasked with developing a specific aspect of their coursework (workshop 1 task = to develop an idea for their novel task and to come to the workshop prepared to explain and to discuss this with their peer group (~8 peers); workshop 2 task = to prepare a short initial segment of their video (~20-30 seconds) and present this to the same peer group). Both sessions are designed to provide students with the opportunity to receive formative feedback from their peers at timely intervals during the preparation of their assignments. The module leader and postgraduate student demonstrators will support peer discussions. These will be run as synchronous online sessions with breakout rooms used to support small-group discussions. Following each workshop, students will be given time to reflect on the feedback that they have received, and to consider how they may integrate this feedback into the project plan. In order to ensure that students avail of these opportunities to receive formative feedback on their assignment content and presentation style in a timely manner, students will be required submit a short written summary of this reflection.



Students will be encouraged to submit this by the end of the week in which the small group teaching session was held. Failure to submit a reflection by 4.30pm on the Friday afternoon will result in a categorical mark being deducted from their final grade (one categorical mark for each reflection not submitted). If a student is unable to attend a session for an authorised reason, they will be encouraged to submit their preparatory work for the session, along with their own reflection on their work. If this is completed, no penalty will be applied. 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

Please note that module leaders are reviewing the module teaching and assessment methods for Semester 2 modules, in light of the Covid-19 restrictions. There may also be a few further changes to Semester 1 modules. Final information will be available by the end of August 2020 in for Semester 1 modules and the end of October 2020 for Semester 2 modules.

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

Exams
Description Length Semester When Set Percentage Comment
PC Examination202M20Online timed synchronous computer based MCQ (remote) 15 questions.
Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Portfolio2A80Non-sync AV essay: 5-6 min duration; written audio script 1k-1200words,task protocol,ref section,reflective logs:final log 500word
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

PSY2004 has two distinct topics – individual differences in intelligence and individual differences in personality.

Each topic has one summative assessment.

Individual differences in intelligence: assessed using an online timed synchronous computer based MCQ (remote) examination in which student will answer 15 multiple-choice questions. 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, a written audio script, a written description of the task protocol, a reference section and 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 - and in a way which is not currently assessed in any other psychology module (and will hence extend the range of graduate skills developed during the degree programme). Students will have the opportunity to receive formative feedback on their assignments at the online synchronous small group teaching sessions and at the online synchronous drop-in surgeries that will run throughout the semester. They will also attend an IT workshop to enhance their knowledge of presentation and animation softwares, and a workshop designed to offer practical experience with existing measures of personality and intelligence. 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.

Reflective Logs: Following both small group teaching sessions, students will submit a brief written description (~300 words), reflecting on the formative feedback received in each session (see ‘Rationale of Teaching Methods and relationship to Learning Outcomes’ for further details. A final written reflective log (word limit = 500 words) will be submitted upon completion of the assignment. Students will be encouraged to reflect back on their summary notes submitted after the small group teaching sessions when completing the reflective log of their learning journey.

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 a reflection after each session (i.e. by 4.30pm on the Friday afternoon of the week in which each small group teaching sessions took place will result in a categorical mark being deducted from their final grade for the video-essay component (one categorical mark for each reflection not submitted). If a student is unable to attend a workshop for an authorized reason, they will be encouraged to submit their preparatory work for the session, along with their own reflection on their work. If this is completed, no penalty will be applied. Failure to submit the final written refection log will also result in a categorical mark being deducted.

Reading Lists

Timetable