Personality Theory

(Spring 2008)


Dr. Linda M. Woolf

Office Hours:

  • By appointment.

  • 301 WH, Behavioral and Social Sciences Department.

  • Phone 968-6970 or 968-7062


Course Description:

This course focuses on the major models of personality including Psychoanalytic, Neoanalytic, Learning, Dispositional, and Humanistic-Existential. During the term we will examine these models and approaches, the major theories representative of each, each theories methods and research, and will explore the assumptions about human nature which underlie each perspective. We will examine how people like Freud, Jung, Maslow, and others reached their conclusions about personality. In addition, we will apply various theorist's and traditions ideas in an analysis of the main character in Camus' The Stranger.

Course Objectives:

  1. Objective: To become familiar with the major models and traditions related to the study of personality and personal growth.

  2. Outcome: Students will be able to articulate the underlying themes, methodology, and assumptions of each model and tradtion.

  3. Objective: To examine, in depth, specific theories under each of the major psychological models of personality. To examine each theories concepts and principles, their explanation of personality development, their assessment techniques, and their application to treatment of psychopathology.

  4. Outcome: Students will be able to articulate the major concepts and principles of each personality theory discussed in the class and in the text. Students will be able to articulate each theories assessment techniques and the theories approach to the treatment and understanding of psychopathology. Students will be able critically evaluate each theory.

  5. Objective: To become familiar with a specific set of criteria which can be used to evaluate any theory of personality.

  6. Outcome: Students will be able to critically evaluate a theory of personality using the outlined criteria.

  7. Objective:To develop the skills necessary to be able to draw on these theories to describe and explain an individual's personality or behavior.

  8. Outcome: Students will be able to use the various theorists ideas to explain the behavior of the main character in Camus' book The Stranger.

Class Meetings:

The class will meet on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from 12:00 - 12:50 p.m. Attendance is expected as material will be presented that is not in the book.

Incoming Competency:

All students should have completed 9 hours of psychology and be capable of 3000 level work.

Course Requirements:

Three exams, four analysis papers, and a written book revie2.

All grades will be assigned on a scale of 0 - 10 with:

90 - 100A-,ASuperior Work
80 - 89B-,B,B+Good Work
70 - 79C-,C,C+Satisfactory Work
60 - 69D,D+Passing, but less than Satisfactory
Less than 60FFailing

Percent of Grade:

Examinations (3)70%
Analysis Papers (3) 20%
Book Review 10%

Examinations: Exams will include multiple choice, matching, short answer, and essay. They will cover material presented in lecture, readings, and discussion. Three exams will be given.

POLICY STATEMENTS: All exams must be taken on the date scheduled except in case of an emergency. In case of the above, the instructor must be notified in advance that a test is going to be missed. No make-up exams will be provided if you fail to notify and discuss your situation with the instructor. No extra credit work will be made available to make-up for a poor test grade.

Analysis Papers: The purpose of the analysis papers is to provide you the opportunity to apply a major theorist from each of the major categories of personality theorists to the character of the stranger. Each analysis paper must include examples from the book and lecture to support your analysis. Also, include aspects of the character's personality or behavior that the theory does not adequately explain. Dates when each analysis paper is due are listed on the course outline. While four analysis papers can be completed, only the top three grades will be recorded.

Written Review: The purpose of the written report is to provide you the opportunity to read and report on an original work written by a personality theorist. All books must be approved by the instructor via email prior to reading and reporting on any book.

  • All papers must be typed, double-spaced, 1 inch margins, and in APA style format.

    If you are in doubt as to what this means, see me for details.


    All papers must be submitted electronically in Word format to

  • Policy Statements:

    Plagiarism (attempting to pass off the work of another as one's own) is not acceptable. Plagiarism includes copying all or part of another's writings (even a single sentence), inappropriate paraphrasing, using another student's paper as your own, submitting a paper for more than one class. All papers will be submitted to the university's plagiarism database for review. Plagiarism, either intentional or unintentional, will result in a grade of 0 for that assignment and will be turned over to the appropriate university source for disciplinary action. In addition, cheating on exams will also result in the same fate.

    Here are some Web sites that will help you avoid the problem of plagiarism particularly plagiarism resulting from paraphrasing too closely to the original source. -

    Late withdraws from this class will not be approved by the instructor except in cases of emergency discussed with the instructor. No late withdraws will be approved on the basis of poor class performance.

    This syllabus is subject to change at the instructor's discretion. All changes concerning course requirements will be provided in writing. Changes concerning exam dates may be made at the instructor's discretion and communicated verbally to the class.

    It is understood that remaining in this course (not dropping or withdrawing from this course) constitutes an agreement to abide by the terms outlined in this syllabus and an acceptance of the requirements outlined in this document.

    Course Outline

    Week EndingTopic Readings
    January 18 Introduction to the Class

    Introduction to Personality Theory

    • Chapter 1

    January 25; February 1Sigmund Freud and Psychoanalysis

    • Chapter 2

    Additional Web Resources:

    February 8 Carl Gustav Jung and Analytical Psychology
    • Chapter 4

    Additional Web Resources:

    February 15Karen Horney and Humanistic Psychoanalysis

    • Chapter 6

    February 22

    Erik Erikson and the Life Cycle

    Analysis Paper I Due - Jung or Horney, Friday, February 22

    • Chapter 9

    February 29

    Alfred Adler

    Exam I, Chapters 1,2,4,6,9 (Monday, February 25)

    • Chapter 3

    Additional Web Resources:

    March 7 Erich Fromm

    • Chapter 7

    March 21 Abraham Maslow and Transpersonal Psychology

    Analysis Paper II Due - Adler or Fromm, Friday, March 21

    • Chapter 10
    Additional Web Resources:

    March 28 Carl Rogers and Person Centered Psychology

    • Chapter 11

    Additional Web Resources:

    April 4Rollo May and Existential Psychology

    Analysis Paper III Due - Maslow, Rogers, or May, Friday, April 4

    • Chapter 12

    Additional Web Resources:

    April 11 Gordon Allport

    Exam II - Chapters 3, 7, 10-12 (Wednesday, April 9)

    • Chapter 13

    Additional Web Resources:

    April 18 Eysenck, McCrae, and Costa

    • Chapter 14

    Additional Web Resources:

    April 25Skinner

    • Chapter 15

    Additional Web Resources:

    May 2Bandura
    Rotter, and Mischel

    Analysis Paper IV Due - Allport, Eysenck, or Skinner, Monday April 28

    • Chapters 16 - 17
    Additional Web Resources:

    May 7 (Check Posted Final Exam Schedule for date and time) Exam III - Chapters 13-17

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