Module Information

Module Identifier
Module Title
Individual Differences & Lifespan Development
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 essay (2000 words)  40%
Semester Exam 2 Hours   written examination  60%
Supplementary Exam 2 Hours   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

The first part of the module considers how human beings develop from infancy to childhood through to adolescence, looking at developmental milestones at each stage of development. The second part of the module aims to describe theories and research in the areas of personality and 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.


  • Infancy
  • Toddlerhood
  • Childhood
  • Adolescence
  • Individual differences
  • Theories of personality
  • Intelligence
  • Applied individual differences

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 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 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. The need to meet an essay deadline will focus students' attention on aspects of time-management and the opportunity to use scientific journal article resources efficiently.
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, framing the parameters of the essay, honing and developing the final piece of work and seeing through to completion will contribute towards their portfolio of transferable skills
Problem solving Problem solving will be one of the central goals of the module. Through the submission of the essay students will be required to develop independent research skills as well as problem solving skills. Researching articles to form the basis of the essay, engaging in a critical analysis of scientific evidence, adopting a point of view in light of conflicting research evidence, logical reasoning, application of theoretical models, and searching for patterns in scientific research conducted over time, will all contribute to students' problem solving skills development. The end of year examination will assess students' ability to work independently.
Research skills Students will learn about contemporary developmental research methods through lectures and seminars. They will be required to show their ability to conduct literature searches and reviews for the essay.
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 of small group discussions as well as discussions within the larger group, the latter being led by the facilitator.

Reading List

Should Be Purchased
Cooper, C. (2002) Individual Differences. Highly recommended to purchase 2nd edition. London: Arnold. Primo search
Essential Reading
Berk, Laura E. (2007.) Development through the lifespan /Laura E. Berk. 4th ed. Pearson/Allyn and Bacon 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, Denise Roberts. (c2006.) Lifespan development. 4th ed. Pearson/A and B 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. Wiley: London 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. London 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 5