PSYCH 207 : Theories of Personality and Development


2021 Semester One (1213) (15 POINTS)

Course Prescription

The major personality theories are presented including: Behavioural, Cognitive, Social-Cognitive, Psychodynamic, Humanistic/Phenomenological, Trait/Dispositional and Biological/Evolutionary. The hypotheses generated by these theories, about development from early childhood onwards and about 'normal' and 'abnormal' behaviour, will be discussed and evaluated in terms of empirical evidence and utility. Attention will be paid to cultural issues of relevance in a New Zealand context.

Course Overview

This course will give students insights into a variety of theories psychology has used to understand why people differ in the way they think, feel and behave (their personality) and how this affects how they grow and develop. The course also gives an important historical overview of how key ideas about why humans behave in particular ways have changed over time. The course is likely to be of interest to students interested in thinking about individual differences in behaviour and those looking at careers that will involve working closely with others (e.g., clinically, in human resources, education, or business).

Course Requirements

Prerequisite: 30 points at Stage I in Psychology

Capabilities Developed in this Course

Capability 1: Disciplinary Knowledge and Practice
Capability 2: Critical Thinking
Capability 3: Solution Seeking
Capability 5: Independence and Integrity
Capability 6: Social and Environmental Responsibilities
Graduate Profile: Bachelor of Science

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this course, students will be able to:
  1. Critically evaluate and synthesise the major theories of personality including each theory's hypotheses about how humans develop from early childhood through to adulthood (Capability 3 and 6)
  2. Critically explore how personality relates to a current day topic or issue (Capability 2, 3 and 5)
  3. Explain and critically evaluate the usefulness of the different personality theories within a number of applied settings (e.g., clinical, educational and the work place settings) (Capability 1, 2 and 6)
  4. Explain and reflect on the role of culture and identity within personality theory and research (Capability 6)


Assessment Type Percentage Classification
Quiz 20% Individual Coursework
Assignments 25% Individual Coursework
Final Exam 50% Individual Examination
Tutorial task 5% Individual Coursework
Assessment Type Learning Outcome Addressed
1 2 3 4
Final Exam
Tutorial task
This course runs a plussage system. For those students eligible for plussage  ( see below) their final grade for Psych 207 will be based either on the final exam alone marked out of 100, or on the final exam marked out of 50 plus the coursework marked out of 50, whichever alternative gives the student the better mark.   

For those students not eligible for plussage, the final grade is based on the final exam marked out of 50 plus the coursework marked out of 50. Thus, if you are not eligible for plussage, you are still able to sit the final exam, but your coursework will automatically count toward 50% of your final overall grade.
To get plussage for this course you need to:
  • Complete the 20% quiz and 25 % assignment
  • Complete the experiential learning component of the course (see below)
  • Obtain a passing grade of 50% overall for course work

Key Topics

  • Psychodynamic Theory
  • Phenomenological Theory
  • Attachment Theory
  • Personal Construct Theory
  • Trait Theory
  • Indigenous Perspectives on Personality
  • Evolutionary Psychology 
  • Behaviourism
  • Social Cognitive Theory
  • Positive Psychology

Special Requirements

Experiential Learning Component
Research is a vital part of psychology – it is how the field learns about human behavior. Being a research participant also helps you come to a better understanding of the research process. As part of the Experiential Learning Component for PSYCH 207, students will be asked to log on to the online participant scheduling system and either (a) participate in two credits worth of research (approximately 2 hours) or (b) complete two alternative writing assignments.  
Completion of either option is part of the plussage requirement for the course (NOTE: you can also complete one alternative writing assignment and one credit worth of research to satisfy the ELC plussage requirement).

Workload Expectations

This course is a standard 15 point course and students are expected to spend 10 hours per week involved in each 15 point course that they are enrolled in.

For this course, your week includes approximately 3 hours of lectures, a 1 hour tutorial, 2-3 hours of reading and thinking about the content and 4-5 hours of work on assignments and/or test preparation.

Delivery Mode

Campus Experience

  • Attendance is expected at scheduled activities including tutorials. 
  • Each tutorial will have a brief  task which can only be completed if you attend tutorials.  You need to adequately complete 5 of the tutorial tasks to receive the full 5% .  
  • Lectures will be available as recordings.
  •  Other learning activities including tutorials and office hours will not be available as recordings.
  • Attendance on campus is required for the exam.
  • The activities for the course are scheduled as a standard weekly timetable.
  • This course is available to offshore students and students who have been exempted from in-person attendance. Different conditions will apply for these students.

Learning Resources

• Cervone, D. & Pervin, L. (2019). Personality: Theory and research. New Jersey: John Wiley & Sons. 14th edition.
• Note the 12th and 13th Editions of this textbook can both be used.
• A digital e-copy can also be purchased from UBIQ
• Please note that several copies of the text are also available in the library.
• Please see the Canvas reading list for other recommended texts  if you wish to read more in the general area

Student Feedback

During the course Class Representatives in each class can take feedback to the staff responsible for the course and staff-student consultative committees.

At the end of the course students will be invited to give feedback on the course and teaching through a tool called SET or Qualtrics. The lecturers and course co-ordinators will consider all feedback.

Your feedback helps to improve the course and its delivery for all students.

The contact details of the class representatives will be made available on Canvas but please note you are also welcome to give feedback directly to the lecturers or pop in for a chat during a drop in session.

Other Information

We want every student to succeed on this course and we are here to help make that possible. If you have questions about the course or the course content,  just want to go over things that weren't clear, or simply want to talk about psychology, then please come to a drop in hour, post a question to the discussion board or piazza, and or join a study group.  

Digital Resources

Course materials are made available in a learning and collaboration tool called Canvas which also includes reading lists and lecture recordings (where available).

Please remember that the recording of any class on a personal device requires the permission of the instructor.

Academic Integrity

The University of Auckland will not tolerate cheating, or assisting others to cheat, and views cheating in coursework as a serious academic offence. The work that a student submits for grading must be the student's own work, reflecting their learning. Where work from other sources is used, it must be properly acknowledged and referenced. This requirement also applies to sources on the internet. A student's assessed work may be reviewed against online source material using computerised detection mechanisms.


The content and delivery of content in this course are protected by copyright. Material belonging to others may have been used in this course and copied by and solely for the educational purposes of the University under license.

You may copy the course content for the purposes of private study or research, but you may not upload onto any third party site, make a further copy or sell, alter or further reproduce or distribute any part of the course content to another person.

Inclusive Learning

All students are asked to discuss any impairment related requirements privately, face to face and/or in written form with the course coordinator, lecturer or tutor.

Student Disability Services also provides support for students with a wide range of impairments, both visible and invisible, to succeed and excel at the University. For more information and contact details, please visit the Student Disability Services’ website

We really want all students to succeed in this course, so please do let us know if there are additional ways we can support you to do well.

Special Circumstances

If your ability to complete assessed coursework is affected by illness or other personal circumstances outside of your control, contact a member of teaching staff as soon as possible before the assessment is due.

If your personal circumstances significantly affect your performance, or preparation, for an exam or eligible written test, refer to the University’s aegrotat or compassionate consideration page

This should be done as soon as possible and no later than seven days after the affected test or exam date.

Learning Continuity

In the event of an unexpected disruption we undertake to maintain the continuity and standard of teaching and learning in all your courses throughout the year. If there are unexpected disruptions the University has contingency plans to ensure that access to your course continues and your assessment is fair, and not compromised. Some adjustments may need to be made in emergencies. You will be kept fully informed by your course co-ordinator, and if disruption occurs you should refer to the University Website for information about how to proceed.

Under the government’s Covid-19 Alert Levels, we anticipate using the following delivery modes. Note this is subject to change depending on the specific circumstances.
Level 1: Delivered normally as specified in delivery mode
Level 2: You will not be required to attend in person. The assignment tutorials will have both an in person option and a remote option. The tutorials that are not related to the assignment are discussion based and will only be run in person, they will not be streamed or recorded. Students who do not attend these tutorials will be encourage to attend a weekly zoom drop in meeting with the teaching team, to ask any questions, or to discuss or go over any content from that week.
Level 3 / 4: All teaching activities and assessments are delivered remotely. 

Student Charter and Responsibilities

The Student Charter assumes and acknowledges that students are active participants in the learning process and that they have responsibilities to the institution and the international community of scholars. The University expects that students will act at all times in a way that demonstrates respect for the rights of other students and staff so that the learning environment is both safe and productive. For further information visit Student Charter


Elements of this outline may be subject to change. The latest information about the course will be available for enrolled students in Canvas.

In this course you may be asked to submit your coursework assessments digitally. The University reserves the right to conduct scheduled tests and examinations for this course online or through the use of computers or other electronic devices. Where tests or examinations are conducted online remote invigilation arrangements may be used. The final decision on the completion mode for a test or examination, and remote invigilation arrangements where applicable, will be advised to students at least 10 days prior to the scheduled date of the assessment, or in the case of an examination when the examination timetable is published.

Published on 26/01/2021 09:41 a.m.