Credit points


Campus offering

No unit offerings are currently available for this unit


PSYC100 Foundations of Psychology AND PSYC101 Applications of Psychology AND (PSYC104 Research Design and Statistics I OR PSYC110 Research Design and Data Analysis 1 )


PSYC213 Individual Differences

Teaching organisation

3 hours contact per week over 12 weeks or equivalent

Unit rationale, description and aim

Personality and individual differences is the area of psychology devoted to the scientific study of people’s individual tendencies in their patterns of thoughts, feelings, and behaviours over time and across situations. This unit provides an introduction to a range of individual differences, with particular emphasis on personality. The major personality theories and concepts, historical and contemporary developments, and scientific basis of the field are examined. Further, the unit explores how personality and other individual differences influence thoughts, feelings, and behaviours in everyday life and how this knowledge can be applied to a range of professional and applied settings. The aim of the unit is to develop knowledge and skills related to theory, measurement, applications and the scientific basis of the field of personality and individual differences.

Learning outcomes

To successfully complete this unit you will be able to demonstrate you have achieved the learning outcomes (LO) detailed in the below table.

Each outcome is informed by a number of graduate capabilities (GC) to ensure your work in this, and every unit, is part of a larger goal of graduating from ACU with the attributes of insight, empathy, imagination and impact.

Explore the graduate capabilities.

Learning Outcome NumberLearning Outcome DescriptionRelevant Graduate Capabilities
LO1Describe the major historical and contemporary models, the role of culture, and the research findings in the field of personality and individual differencesGC1, GC3, GC11
LO2Evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of theories and measures a of personality and other individual differencesGC2, GC3, GC7, GC9, GC11
LO3Demonstrate skills in interpretation of personality and other individual differences measuresGC1, GC2, GC3, GC8, GC11
LO4Write research and applied psychological reports relating to personality and other individual differences which demonstrate appropriate consideration of ethical principlesGC1, GC2, GC3, GC7, GC8, GC9, GC11


Topics will include: 

  • Theories, constructs, historical context, measures, and research evidence of Personality perspectives and individual difference.
  • Personality perspectives:
  • Psychoanalytic
  • Trait and biological approaches
  • Cognitive and socio-cognitive approaches
  • Humanistic
  • Individual differences:
  • Motivation, social orientations, and attitudes
  • Sex, gender, and sexuality
  • Culture, including critical consideration of the adequacy of applying models developed with WEIRD samples to Australian Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander peoples
  • Individual differences in psychological health and wellbeing 
  • Test administration, scoring and reporting 
  • Ethical principles and considerations related to personality research and applications of the knowledge
  • Cultural and gender biases in the field of personality and individual differences 

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

Students have the equivalent of 3 contact hours per week over a 12-week period, which may involve lectures and tutorials. Presented content is designed to introduce, elaborate, and consolidate knowledge of constructs and theories, measures, evidence, and applications. The tutorial program is designed to develop essential skills, provide individual and collaborative learning opportunities and support the completion of assessments. In addition, students are expected to complete the weekly assigned reading, and undertake independent and asynchronous learning, including posting questions and responses to forums online as needed.

Assessment strategy and rationale

In order to successfully complete this unit, students must:

  • complete and submit all of the assessment tasks listed in the table below
  • obtain an aggregate mark of at least 50%
  • demonstrate achievement of each learning outcome

There are three components involved in the assessment of this unit. Students will complete a Case Report on a psychological assessment using measures of personality and other individual differences to address a hypothetical client’s self-knowledge goal. The Case Report allows students to develop a familiarity with how personality and individual differences information is used and presented in professional settings. The second assessment is a Laboratory Report that is designed to enhance awareness of contemporary research in personality and other individual differences in psychology and to allow students to develop skills in laboratory report writing. Specifically, students will formulate hypotheses and test them using correlational data. Finally, students will complete an examination assessing understanding of unit content, and the ability to apply theories.

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning Outcomes

Assessment Task 1: Case Report

Case reports are a key professional activity for practising psychologists. Case reports provide a summary of an individual’s (i.e., a client) psychological assessment using qualitative data from a brief interview and quantitative data from psychometric measures. As part of this assessment, students will demonstrate the ability to formulate an assessment aim; select, score, and interpret appropriate individual differences measures and client information; and propose evidence-based implementable recommendations. 


LO1, LO3, LO4

Assessment Task 2: Laboratory Report 

The laboratory report will allow students to demonstrate the ability to develop an argument leading to hypotheses by locating, discussing, evaluating, and synthesising the research literature in personality and individual differences. Further, students are to demonstrate the ability to describe the methodology and findings of a study, and to interpret and discuss these findings.


LO1, LO2, LO3, LO4

Assessment Task 3: Exam

This take-home exam assesses student's knowledge and understanding of the range of topics covered in the lectures, tutorials, and assigned readings via 10 short answer questions.


LO1, LO2

Representative texts and references

APA. (2019). Publication manual of the American Psychological Association (7th ed.). Author.

Cervone, D., & Pervin, L. A. (2018). Personality: Theory and research (14th ed.). Wiley.

Deci, E. L., & Ryan, R. M. (2012). Self-determination theory. In P. van Lange, A. W. Kruglanski, & E. T. Higgins (Eds.), Handbook of theories of social psychology (Vol. 1). Sage.

Kaufmann, L., & Findlay, B. (2020). How to write psychology research reports and assignments (9th ed). Pearson.

Maltby, J., Day, L., & Macaskill. A. (2017). Social attitudes, in Personality, individual differences, and intelligence (4th ed.), chapter 20. Pearson.

Mooney, J., Seaton, M., Kaur, G., Marsh, H. W., & Yeung, A. S. (2016). Cultural perspectives on Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australian students' school motivation and engagement. Contemporary Educational Psychology, 47, 11-23.

Twenge, J. M., & Campbell, W. K. (2020). Personality psychology: Understanding yourself and others (2nd ed.). Pearson. 

Have a question?

We're available 9am–5pm AEDT,
Monday to Friday

If you’ve got a question, our AskACU team has you covered. You can search FAQs, text us, email, live chat, call – whatever works for you.

Live chat with us now

Chat to our team for real-time
answers to your questions.

Launch live chat

Visit our FAQs page

Find answers to some commonly
asked questions.

See our FAQs