This course is an introduction to the study of personality. The course examines theoretical explanations for understanding personality development and explores each theory. The course also investigates how personality is assessed. The focus is on approaches that psychology has developed for understanding personality and on applications for organizational processes.

Personality is the combination of behavior, emotion, motivation, and thought patterns that define an individual. Personality psychology attempts to study similarities and differences in these patterns among different people and groups.Personality psychology is a branch of psychology that studies personality and its variation among individuals. It is a scientific study which aims to show how people are individually different due to psychological forces. Its areas of focus include: ... investigation of individual psychological differences. The course will draw from major theories in personality psychology, as well as current empirical research on individual differences and personality development, including work in genetics, psychobiology, evolutionary psychology, emotions, traits, motivation, social learning theory, and attachment theory.

Course Objectives:

  • To make students understand the essential dynamics of personality so that they can appreciate the human diversity and come across with their own conception of human nature.
  • To orient students towards the historical developments in the field of personality psychology so that the classical theories of personality may be comprehended in terms of contemporary insights into the discipline
  • To inculcate a holistic approach among the students so that they extend their knowledge of personality to research endeavors 
  • To give a detail understanding of human personality

  • To help students integrate theory and research in personality psychology

  • To help students to think critically about human personality


    To create a coherence and balance in different approaches to the personality in the minds of the readers

    Learning Outcomes 

    On completion of the course, the student should - be able to account for central personality theories and place these in a context regarding psychological theorising - be able to account for relevant arguments in the discussion regarding if and how personality can be measured - be able to account for methodological methods in the study of personality, for example within biological personality research and by means of personality tests. - be able to account for the principle about operationalisation of personality psychological concepts by means of a scale with covarying items and in a short report comment on the outcome upon collecting data with a self-constructed scale and an established instrument.


            Definition of Personality Essential Features of Personality

Theories of Personality

·         Why do we need personality theories?

·         Advantages and disadvantages of personality theories

Six Approaches to Personality

·         Psychodynamic, Humanistic/Existential, Trait, Biological, Behavioral/Social learning, Cognitive

Characteristics of a Good Theory

- Empirical validity (verifiability)                 - Generatively (heuristic value)

- Internal consistency (coherence)             - Parsimony

Issues in Personality Psychology

·         Collectivist orientations, Situational causes and cues, Inconsistency in behavior, Evolving nature of responses and patterns, Nature vs. Nurture, Major Motive of life, Debate of human nature, Consistency vs. variability in behavior


Freud’s Theory

Dynamics of Personality and Levels of Consciousness

Infantile sexuality; Sex and aggression; Conflict and Defenses

Balance, Libido and Conservation of energy

Fixation, Frustration and Overindulgence

Freud’s structural model: Id, Ego, and Superego

Psychosexual stages: Oral stage; Anal stage; Phallic stage; Latency stage; Genital stage

Types of defense mechanisms; Ways to achieve mental health

Assessment in Psychoanalysis, Parapraxes (slips); Hypnosis; Free association; Dreams; Projective tests


·         Cultural and social determinants of behavior

·         Extension of development across the lifespan

·         The importance of conscious thoughts

·         Focus on goals and strivings

·         Emphasis and elaboration of normal development

·         More positive views of human nature

Adler’s Individual Psychology

- Inferiority complex                              - Striving for superiority

- Striving through social interest           - Importance of parental interactions

- Birth order; Pampering; Neglect         - Style of Life

- Creative Self

Jung’s Analytical Psychology

- Personal vs. collective unconscious     - Archetypes

- Principles                                           - Synchronicity

- Psychological attitudes                        - Psychic functions

Erikson’s Ego Psychology

  • Epigenetic principle
    • Optimal times; Tasks or crises; Maladaptive and malignant tendencies; Virtue or strengths; Mutuality

·         Stages and Conflicts in Personality Development

o    Basic trust vs. mistrust; Autonomy vs. shame and doubt; Initiative vs. guilt; Industry vs. inferiority; Identity vs. role confusion; Intimacy vs. isolation; Generativity vs. stagnation; Ego integrity vs. despair     

Horney’s Relational Psychology

  • Neurosis as ways of interpersonal control and coping
  • Neurotic needs
  • Coping strategies
  • Development
    • Basic evil--parental indifference
    • Basic hostility
    • Basic anxiety
    • Coping strategies
  • Self theory
    • Tyranny of the shoulds

Fromm’s Humanistic Psychoanalysis

  • Freedom ; Escape from freedom
    • Authoritarianism
    • Destructiveness
    • Automaton conformity
  • Family origins
    • Symbiotic families
    • Withdrawing families
  • The social unconscious; Orientations; Evil; Human needs


            Greek traditions—Hippocrates and the four humors

            How do we describe ourselves - patterns of behavior

            Characteristics of Traits

            How to measure traits?

Gordon Allport

Idiographic approach to personality

  • Opportunistic functioning and Propriate functioning

Central traits; secondary traits; cardinal traits

  • Proprium
  • Personal traits or dispositions
  • Psychological maturity and functional autonomy

Raymond Cattell

            Empirical, nomothetic approach             Factor analysis and Types of data

            Source traits

Five-Factor Theory (Norman, McCrae and Costa)

 - Extraversion – introversion                 - Agreeableness             - Conscientiousness                  - Emotional stability - neuroticism   - Culture (openness to experience)

Situation vs. Trait

5. Stress, adjustment and personality

6. Occupational life and personality

Recommended Books

  1. Burger, J. M. (2019). Personality (10th ed.). Boston, MA: Cengage Learning.
  2. Cervone, D., &Pervin, L. A. (2017). Personality: theory and research (13th ed.). Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons.
  3. Carver, C. S., &Scheier, M. F. (2017). Perspectives on Personality (8th ed.). New York: Pearson Education.
  4. Larsen, R.J., & Buss, D. M. (2018). Personality Psychology: Domains of Knowledge About Human Nature (6th ed.). New York: McGraw-Hill Education


Mid Term:       30

Sessional:      20 ( Assignments & Presentation: 10 Marks, Class Participation & Attendance: 05 Marks, Class Test: 05 Marks)

Final Term:     50

  • Mid Term & Final Term Exam will include objective and subjective question in 40% and 60 % ratio respectively.

CLASS TIMINGS: BS 6th Reg (Wednesday: 09:30 - 11:00 AM) (Thursday: 08:00 - 09:30 AM)

Course Material