Personality Theory

(Spring I, 2006)


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 Tuesdays from 5:30 - 9:30. 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 critique.

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) 24%
Critique 6%

Examinations: Exams will include multiple choice, matching, short answer, and essay. They will cover material presented in lecture, readings, and discussion. Two exams will be given. Each exam will constitute 35% of your final grade.

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 is worth 8% of your final grade. 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.

Critique: The purpose of the critique is to provide you the opportunity to critique a particular theorist using the criteria outlined and discussed in class. Due date is listed below on the course outline.

All papers must be submitted electronically in Word format to

Policy Statements:

This course is offered in an intensive eight-week format and demands an intensive coursework load. Class attendance and class participation are required and will be considered in evaluation of the course grade. This course is recommended for students that can make the required commitment.

Plagiarism (attempting to pass off the work of another as one's own) is not acceptable and 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.

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

DateTopic Readings
January 17 Introduction to the Class

Introduction to Personality Theory

Sigmund Freud and Psychoanalysis

  • Chapter 1
  • Chapter 2

Additional Web Resources:

January 24Carl Gustav Jung and Analytical Psychology

Karen Horney and Humanistic Psychoanalysis

  • Chapter 4
  • Chapter 6

Additional Web Resources:

January 31Exam I

Erik Erikson and Ego Psychology

Critique Due - Jung (February 3)

  • Chapter 9

February 7

Alfred Adler and Individual Psychology

Fromm and Humanistic Psychoanalysis

Analysis Paper I Due - Freud or Horney (February 10)

  • Chapter 3
  • Chapter 7

Additional Web Resources:

February 14Maslow: Holistic-Dynamic Theory

Rogers: Person-Centered Theories

Analysis Paper II Due - Erikson or Adler (Febuary 17)

  • Chapter 10
  • Chapter 11

Additional Web Resources:

February 21Exam II

May: Existential Psychology

  • Chapter 12

February 28


Bandura: Social Cognitive Theory

Rotter and Mischel: Cognitive Social Learning Theory

Analysis Paper III Due - Maslow, Rogers, or May (March 3)

  • Chapter 15
  • Chapter 16
  • Chapter 17

March 7Analysis Paper IV Due - Skinner or Bandura (March 10)

Exam III

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