Credit points


Campus offering

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PSYC100 Foundations of Psychology , PSYC101 Applications of Psychology , PSYC104 Research Design and Statistics I

Teaching organisation

3 hours contact per week over 12 weeks or equivalent

Unit rationale, description and aim

Psychology is the discipline devoted to the scientific study of people who display 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 unit introduces the major personality theories and concepts to explore the historical and contemporary developments that have led to the current understandings of those aspects of individuals that guide their thoughts, feelings, and behaviours in everyday life and are used in a range of professional and applied settings. As a whole, this unit contributes to the APAC accredited sequence designed to develop foundational knowledge of this key topic in psychology, including theory, measurement, and applications, as well as the appropriate values and ethical principles underlying research and reporting in psychology.

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.

On successful completion of this unit, students should be able to:

LO1 - describe the major historical and contemporary models of personality (GA4 & GA5);

LO2 - compare and contrast the strengths and weaknesses of theoretical approaches and measures of personality (GA4);

LO3 - explain the role of culture in and on individual differences (GA1);

LO4 - demonstrate skills in interpretation of relevant individual differences measures (GA4, GA5, & GA8);

LO5 - write psychological reports at an advanced level (GA9).

Graduate attributes

GA1 - demonstrate respect for the dignity of each individual and for human diversity 

GA4 - think critically and reflectively 

GA5 - demonstrate values, knowledge, skills and attitudes appropriate to the discipline and/or profession 

GA8 - locate, organise, analyse, synthesise and evaluate information 

GA9 - demonstrate effective communication in oral and written English language and visual media 


Topics will include: 

i. Introduction to individual differences 

ii. Theories of Personality, including constructs, historical context, and measures for the following perspectives 

  • Psychoanalytic 
  • Trait 
  • Biological 
  • Cognitive 
  • Humanistic 

iii. Individual differences,  

  • Social relations and interpersonal relationships 
  • Culture 
  • Health and clinical applications 

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

This unit is primarily delivered face-to-face. Students have 3 contact hours per week which involve a 2 hour lecture and a 1 hour tutorial. Some lectures may be delivered online (or partly online) with the face-to-face time devoted to activities designed to consolidate knowledge of constructs, measures and applications. The tutorial program is designed to provide experience with measures and their use, and to support the integration of unit content and assessments.

Assessment strategy and rationale

In order to successfully complete this unit, you need to complete and submit all of the assessment tasks. In addition to this, you must obtain an aggregate mark of at least 50% to pass the unit.  

There are three components involved in assessment of the unit. You will complete a case study using measures of personality and individual differences. The purpose of the case report is to allow you to develop a familiarity with a key application of individual differences in psychology. The second assessment will be a laboratory report that is designed to enhance your awareness of contemporary research in personality and individual differences in psychology and to allow you to demonstrate your skills in laboratory report writing. Finally, you will complete a 2-hour examination in the end of semester examination period assessing your recall and understanding of material, and your ability to apply theories.

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning OutcomesGraduate Attributes

Case study (1000 words) 

The purpose of this assessment is to provide you with experience of applying key personality and individual differences theories.


LO1, LO2, LO5

GA4, GA5, GA9

Laboratory Report (1500 words) 

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


LO2, LO4, LO5

GA4, GA5, GA8, GA9

End of semester exam (2 hours) 

The purpose of this assessment is to assess your knowledge and understanding of the range of topics covered in the lectures, tutorials, and assigned readings.


LO1, LO2, LO3

GA1, GA4, GA5

Representative texts and references

Cervone, D., & Pervin, L.A. (2016). Personality: Theory and Research (13th ed).  Hoboken, NJ: Wiley & Sons. 

American Psychological Association (2009). Publication manual of the American Psychological Association (6th ed.). Washington CD: Author.

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