Module Information

Module Identifier
Module Title
Academic Year
Semester 2
Other Staff

Course Delivery

Delivery Type Delivery length / details
Lecture 11 x 2 hour
Seminars / Tutorials 2 x 2 hours
Workload Breakdown (Every 10 credits carries a notional student workload of 100 hours.)


Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment critical literature review (2500 words)  40%
Semester Exam 2 Hours   written examination  60%
Supplementary Exam 2 Hours   Students may resit this module, as decided by the examination board.  If students fail the module overall, any failed component must be re-sat or determined as the Examination Board sees fit.  100%

Learning Outcomes

On completion of this module, students should be able to.
1. Demonstrate an understanding of the contested nature of individual differences.

2. Examine and evaluate different theories of intelligence and personality.

3. Assess the development and application of psychometric testing in modern society.

4. Demonstrate their understanding of the lifespan trajectory and the core domains of development.

5. Critically evaluate theories and research evidence in lifespan development and the complexities of research design in the discipline.


The psychology of individual differences and how we develop as individuals across the lifespan are key elements in an understanding of human psychology The delivery of both subjects at honours level is a core requirement of both the British Psychological Society and the QAA Benchmark for Psychology.

Brief description

This module aims to describe theories and research in the areas of personality and human abilities (intelligence). Both areas are highly controversial and evidence for the development of theories of personality and intelligence and their use in society will be examined. The second part of the module considers how human beings develop across the lifespan from infancy to old age in three core areas of functioning: biological, cognitive and psychosocial and the factors influencing that development.


  • Individual differences
  • - Defining intelligence - Theories of intelligence - Intelligence testing - The roles of heredity and environment - Defining personality - Approaches to understanding personality
  • Lifespan development
  • - Concepts and theories in lifespan development - Infancy - Childhood - Adolescence - Early adulthood - Middle adulthood - Late adulthood - Death and dying

Module Skills

Skills Type Skills details
Application of Number Not directly applicable although students will be expected to comment on aspects of statistical analysis through the examination of research designs.
Communication Students will understand the importance of information and clear communication and how to exploit these. They will know how to use the many sources of information available and how to use the most appropriate form of communication to the best advantage. They will learn to be clear and direct in their and to be direct about aims and objectives. They will learn to consider only that which is relevant to the topic and to focus on the objectives of their argument or discussion. Seminars will be run in groups where oral discussion and presentations will form the main medium of teaching. Students will be expected to submit their work in word-processed format and the presentation of work should reflect effective expression of ideas and good use of language skills in order to ensure clarity, coherence and effective communication.
Improving own Learning and Performance The module aims to promote self-management but within a context of assistance from both the facilitator and the fellow students alike. Students will be expected to improve their own learning and performance by undertaking their own research and to exercise their own initiative, including searching for sources, compiling reading lists, and deciding (under guidance) the direction of their essay and presentation topics. The need to conduct seminar presentations and to meet the coursework deadline will focus students' attention on the need to manage their time and opportunity resources well. Students will be required to reflect on their learning process through the inclusion of formal non-assessed reflection to be included with all coursework.
Information Technology Students will be expected to submit their work in word-processed format. Also, students will be encouraged to search for sources of information on the web, as well as seeking sources through electronic information sources (such as Web of Science, PsychLit and PsychInfo).
Personal Development and Career planning The discussions in particular will help to develop students' verbal and presentation skills. Learning about the process of planning an essay and a presentation, framing the parameters of the projects, honing and developing the projects and seeing through to completion will contribute towards their portfolio of transferable skills
Problem solving Independent project work and problem solving will be one of the central goals of the module; the submission of a critical literature review will require that the student develops independent research skills as well as problem solving skills. The need to research and prepare seminar presentations will also enable the student to develop independent project skills. The ability of students to solve problems will be developed and assessed by asking them to: adopt differing points of view; organize data and estimate an answer to the problem; consider case studies; reason logically; apply theoretical models; consider similar cases; look for patterns; divide issues into smaller problems. A final examination will ensure that an assessment of the student's ability to work alone can be undertaken.
Research skills The submission of the literature review will require students to demonstrate independent research skills. The need to locate appropriate research resources and write up the results will also facilitate research skills. Research preparation for seminar presentations will also enable the student to develop independent project skills. A final examination will ensure that an assessment of the student's ability to work alone can be undertaken
Subject Specific Skills Students will have the opportunity to develop a wide range of subject specific skills that will help them to understand, conceptualise and evaluate examples and research publications presented on the module. These subject specific skills include: *Assessment of scientific methods in psychology. *Differentiation between quantitative and qualitative methods of inquiry. *Demonstration of a familiarity with the techniques required for literature searches. *Appreciation of the nature of ethical research in the social sciences. *Appreciation of the complex interactions and diverse influences on human behaviour.
Team work Seminars will consist in part of small-group discussion where students will be obliged to discuss as a group the core issues related to seminar topics. Such class room debates and discussions are a vital component of the module

Reading List

Should Be Purchased
Berk, L. E. (2007) Development Through the Lifespan. 4th edition Pearson/Allyn and Bacon Primo search Cooper, C. (2002) Individual Differences Its highly recommended to purchase this book 2nd edition. London: Arnold Primo search
Recommended Text
Bee, H. and Bjorklund, B. R. (2004) The Journey of Adulthood. 5th edition Pearson Prentice Hall: Upper Saddle River Primo search Boyd, D and Bee, H. (2006) Lifespan Development. 2nd edition Pearson/Allyn and Bacon Primo search Carlson, N.R., Martin, G.N. and Buskist, W. (2004) Psychology. 2nd edition Pearson Education Ltd. London. Primo search Cervone, D. (2007) Personality Theory and Research. 10th edition. Wiley Primo search Chamorro-Premuzic, T. (2007) Personality and Individual Differences. BPS Blackwell: London Primo search Cook, M. (1993) Levels of Personality. 2nd edition Cassell: London. Primo search Kosslyn, S.M. and Rosenberg, R.S. (2007) Psychology in Context. 3rd edition Pearson Education Ltd. Primo search Mitchell, P. and Ziegler, F. (2007) Fundamentals of Development. The Psychology of Childhood. Psychology Press: London. Primo search Sugarman, L. (2001) Life-span Development Frameworks, Accounts and Strategies. 2nd edition. Psychology Press: Hove. Primo search


This module is at CQFW Level 6