PG Seminar in Personality

Course Summary

This is a core course in the MSc Psychology of Individual Differences

my PID intro

  • Meeting times are shown in the DRPS link
  • Last year's Assessment deadline was 19th Jan (Marks due back 9th Feb)
  • Assignment guide (word)

Structure of the course

Week Task
Week 2 Overview
Week 3 Bring us papers/we give example e.g.
Weeks 5-11 Talks

We will also discuss the big assessment, and do a wrap up at the end


Three elements contribute to your mark:

  1. In class: 10% for summary + 10% for your talk + 10 % for participation.
  2. Final paper 70% for an essay on a topic that is agreed with the course chair(s).

Weekly discussion

Each week one or more of you will lead a discussion. You will need to:
1. Choose: One or more papers to discuss, liaising with the course organizers who will determine whether they are suitable.
2. Write: A 1-2 page summary, and, preferably a week before your presentation, share it and the target paper(s) with the class via the google doc.
3. Present: Hand out your summary, talk people through the paper (perhaps with slides), and lead the discussion that follows.

The presentation can last 15-20 minutes, the discussion often takes that up to an hour.

Below we list several “big topics” and some major papers that have contributed to scientific debate on these topics. You might well pick one of these papers for your topic. Alternatively, you can use these as a guide to find recent papers that address the topic.
An older guide to papers (word) is linked here.

potential new papers 2017

  1. Structure: The 5FM and competing models
  2. Measurement
  3. Psychopathology, normal models of abnormal psychology
  4. Effortful control
  5. Positive Psychology
  6. Effects on health & well-being
  7. Business(e.g Leadership, Entrepreneurship etc) and Personality
  8. Development: Influences of Genes, family environment, unique environment, interaction, active and passive GxE
  9. Sex differences
  10. Change and development
  11. Personality in non-human animals
  12. Evolutionary psychology of personality
  13. Culture and Personality
  14. The trait-situation debate
  15. Alternatives to traits
  16. Philosophical ideas about identity

Who's assigned to what
When you choose a topic, please edit this google doc.

Past presentations to look at: 2018, (2017, and 2016.

Understanding personality

  1. A good check of whether you understand personality, is the ability to predict the behaviors it causes.
    • Try your hand at writing behavior items in this google doc.
    • What behaviours differentiate hi/lo people on N,E,O,A,C? e.g. do hi-C people fold their underwear (and low C not, and other dimensions don't affect this?
    • What would an extrovert/introvert or stable vs unstable or conscientious vs unconscientious person find hard to do/not do?
  2. How are things measured? This page lists several questionnaires we will use in the course. You should log in (use your matriculation ID) and take them. Again: Seeing exactly what is in a questionnaire avoids jingle jangle fallacies and promotes insight.


Personality and Individual Differences, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Journal of Personality, Journal of Research in Personality, Behavioral and Brain Sciences, Behavior Genetics, European Journal of Personality, Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, and many more)

Datasets you can use!