Psychology of Personality

PSY70016 12.5 Credit Points Online


  • One Semester or equivalent

Contact hours

  • Swinburne Online: Fully online

On-campus unit delivery combines face-to-face and digital learning. For Online unit delivery, learning is conducted exclusively online.

2023 teaching periods

Swinburne Online

Teaching Period 3

6 Nov 23 - 11 Feb 24

5 Mar 24

Last self enrolment:
19 Nov 23

1 Dec 23

Last withdraw without fail:
29 Dec 23

Aims and objectives

This unit explores key themes in the development of personality theory. The psychodynamic, psychosocial, biological, trait, humanistic, and social cognitive approaches to understanding personality are compared and critically evaluated according to the available evidence. Assessment of individuals according to each theory is also critically evaluated. Applications of the personality theories to real-world problems are emphasised in the unit so that students begin to appreciate the importance of understanding differences between people and how these differences drive behaviour. This unit will help students develop their understanding of key theories and research methods in the psychology of personality, and adapt skills learned in previous studies to the analysis and communication of contemporary problems in the area.

Students who successfully complete this unit will be able to:
1. Explain the main features of some of the major perspectives on the psychology of personality (e.g., psychoanalytic/neoanalytic; trait, motive, learning and social-cognitive approaches, and the narrative approach).
2. Critically review the major elements of historically important theories within each perspective.
3. Apply knowledge of major elements of contemporary theories within each perspective to real world issues.
4. Critically evaluate how various approaches to personality explain specific issues such as the unconscious, the self, personality change, the effect of early childhood experiences, the effect of motivation on personality.
5. Explain how an integration of many of these theories leads to a better understanding of human personality.

Courses with unit

Graduate Diploma of Psychology