Module code: PSY3116

Module Overview

Please note: This module is part of the Developmental Psychology stream of Level 6 optional modules and may not be running every year. In some years an alternative optional module within the Developmental Psychology stream will be offered instead.

Personality traits have traditionally been conceptualised as fixed, stable characteristics, however, in recent years this conceptualisation has given way to an appreciation that many aspects of personality can and do change throughout our lives. This module will draw on a life course developmental perspective to examine questions such as (i) How does our personality affect our life in terms of health and success? (ii) What are the typical patterns of personality change throughout the life course? (iii) What life events and experiences change our personalities? (iv) Can we use interventions to change our personalities? This module will allow you to consider debates in the literature, and engage critically with the material.

Module provider


Module Leader

NG-KNIGHT Terry (Psychology)

Number of Credits: 15

ECTS Credits: 7.5

Framework: FHEQ Level 6

Module cap (Maximum number of students): N/A

Overall student workload

Independent Learning Hours: 128

Seminar Hours: 22

Module Availability

Semester 2

Prerequisites / Co-requisites

BSc Psychology Levels 4 and 5 (or equivalent). This module has a capped number and may not be available to ERASMUS and other international exchange students. Please check with the departmental exchange coordinator.

Module content

Indicative content includes:

  • The life course developmental approach.

  • How does our personality influence our lives?

  • Are personality traits themselves a developmental phenomenon? i.e., Do they develop?

  • Infant temperament – what is the evidence for a biological/genetic basis of personality?

  • What are the environmental influences on personality?

  • Self-control/regulation and emotion regulation – How does it develop?

  • Personality and ageing.

  • Personality and transition periods (e.g. the transition to adulthood).

  • Personality and education.

  • Measuring personality.

Sessions will involve lectures and group presentation and discussion of papers from the literature.

Assessment pattern

Assessment type Unit of assessment Weighting
Coursework Research proposal (6 pages) 50
Examination Examination (1 hour) 50

Alternative Assessment

Students who take temporary suspension partway through this module may not be able to complete the remaining classes for this module on their return if it is not running in the following academic year. Such students will have the choice to take a replacement module, or, if they have already completed an assessment for the original module, to attend classes from a new optional module within the same stream (area of psychology) and complete an alternative assessment based on this content that meets the learning outcomes of the original module. The specific alternative assessment will be determined on a case-by-case basis.

Assessment Strategy

The assessment strategy is designed to provide students with the opportunity to demonstrate their understanding and knowledge of personality and development, including critical analysis and interpretation of research studies.

Thus, the summative assessment for this module consists of:

Exam – a one-hour unseen exam will assess your knowledge and critical engagement with the module content (learning outcomes 1, 2, 3).

Coursework (6 pages) – you will be required to develop a research proposal, drawing on your critical analysis of existing research (learning outcomes 1, 2, 3).

Formative assessment: During each lecture there will be a group presentation on a relevant paper. Students will be assigned to a group, the aim is to stimulate class debate and discussion.

Feedback: Students will receive verbal feedback during class discussions and presentations.

Module aims

  • • Increase understanding of personality and developmental theory
  • • Provide an overview of perspectives that view personality as a developmental concept (rather than fixed)
  • • Provide an understanding of how personality changes throughout the life course
  • • To explore and critique evidence on the factors that affect personality development
  • • Provide an understanding of the role personality plays in life outcomes and development
  • • Improve presentation skills
  • • Improve statistical literacy via exposure to a range of research designs used in developmental and personality psychology

Learning outcomes

Attributes Developed
001 Critically analyse and summarise research articles on personality and development CK
002 Discuss causes of personality stability and change CK
003 Interpret results from a range of complex research studies CKPT

Attributes Developed

C - Cognitive/analytical

K - Subject knowledge

T - Transferable skills

P - Professional/Practical skills

Methods of Teaching / Learning

The learning and teaching strategy is designed to: Introduce new concepts and increase students’ knowledge; Provide students with opportunities to critically engage with existing research; Provide opportunities for feedback on students’ interpretation and critical analysis. 

The learning and teaching methods include: Lectures/seminars (2 hours per week for 11 weeks) – typically consisting of one-hour lectures and one-hour of presentation and discussions (subject to some variation).

Indicated Lecture Hours (which may also include seminars, tutorials, workshops and other contact time) are approximate and may include in-class tests where one or more of these are an assessment on the module. In-class tests are scheduled/organised separately to taught content and will be published on to student personal timetables, where they apply to taken modules, as soon as they are finalised by central administration. This will usually be after the initial publication of the teaching timetable for the relevant semester.

Reading list
Upon accessing the reading list, please search for the module using the module code: PSY3116

Other information


Programmes this module appears in

Programme Semester Classification Qualifying conditions
Psychology BSc (Hons) 2 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module

Please note that the information detailed within this record is accurate at the time of publishing and may be subject to change. This record contains information for the most up to date version of the programme / module for the 2020/1 academic year.