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Introduction to

Personality Psychology



Class website:  www.paultrapnell.com/2300  
Printable copy of syllabus:  syllabus  
Printable copy of UW Psychology Degree Programs:  UW Psychology Degree Programs  


Required Textbook:  Larsen, Buss, King, & Ensley (2017), Personality Psychology.


Test marks:   Test 1    Test 2    Final Marks (Unofficial)   




UW Library:


Psychology Journal Search:

EBSCO Psychology Database


Personality Psych Web Resources:

NEO   •  More tests   •  PersRes.org   •  PersProj.org   •  SPSP   •  IPIP

Personality Research Journals:

JPSP   PSPB   JPers   JResP   PAID   EJP   IDiff   JPA

Research Review Journals

CurrD   AnnRv    PBull   PInq    RGen    BBSc

Assocs/Flagship Journals

APS   Observer   PsySci   •  APA   Monitor   AmPsy

Related Journals:

JAbn   JSI   JSSR   ASexB   JSR

Science News/Commentary:

SciDaily   Newsci   SciAm   Edge   Skeptic   SkepInq   Neuroskeptic


2019 Winter Semester

Section 1


11:30 - 12:45      Room 1L07

Section 2


02:30 - 03:45      Room 2L17


Dr. Trapnell
Office: 4L39
Office Hours: by appointment (use email below).

Teaching Assistant

Mark Morrow
Office: 4L42
Office Hours: By appointment

Required Text

Personality Psychology, Larsen, Buss, King, & Ensley (2017), 1st Cdn Edition.


textbook cover


Course Description

This course introduces the general aspects of personality science. These may include (a) theories of personality, (b) personality assessment from a psychometric perspective; and (c) past and present research on personality processes and individual differences. Students should gain a good understanding of how the methods and findings of correlational and experimental research contribute to the study of personality from a natural science approach. The course will cover most but not necessarily all of these topics.


Examples of possible topics covered: Introduction to Personality Psychology • Personality Assessment, Measurement, and Research Design • Traits and Trait Taxonomies • Personality Dispositions over Time: Stability, Change, and • Coherence • Genetics and Personality • Physiological Approaches to Personality • Evolutionary Perspectives on Personality • Motives and Personality • Sex, Gender, and Personality • Disorders of Personality



Course grades will be determined by 3 term tests (exams) and a cumulative discussion mark. Across the course, a total of 9 or 10 textbook chapters will be assigned as mandatory readings. Assigned chapters include all parts of those assigned textbook chapters whether or not class lectures covered all parts of those assigned chapters. Tests are based on these assigned readings PLUS any additional material covered in class lectures. Because lectures overlap a lot with textbook material but do include material not in the textbook readings, about 70% of the exam questions are based on textbook readings and about 30% are based on lecture information not covered in the textbook readings.

Small Group Discussions (these occur only five times)


Five times during the term, we will form small groups inside the classroom and you will discuss anything of interest from the text/lecture material of the preceding two weeks. REQUIRED: For each discussion day you must submit on that day 5 discussion questions WITH short answers for each of your five questions. You can base these submitted questions and short answers on anything covered in the preceding two weeks (in the textbook or lectures). Each of your five questions MUST include a brief answer or commentary, e.g., 3-5 sentences in which you try to answer or reflect thoughtfully on your question. There are no right or wrong answers to your questions—the goal is only to stimulate reflection and discussion of some of your questions/ideas during the very brief (30 min) small group discussion periods. You must hand them in with your name and student# at the top of the page at the beginning of class during each of these five discussion days. You will be awarded one discussion point each time. Your submissions are NOT graded or returned. If you demonstrate reasonable effort that indicates you took the task reasonably seriously, and if you hand the assignment in on time, you will receive the point. If you fail to hand them in on time, or hand in something clearly unconscientious, you will not receive the point.


You will also receive an attendance point for each discussion period you attend, for a total of 5 attendance points. The maximum total number of discussion points is thus 10 points, or 10% of your final grade. Most students get 10/10 pts.





There will be 3 exams. Except for 10 cumulative questions at the end of Exam 3 (described further below), all three exams are otherwise NON-CUMULATIVE: each is based only on material covered since the last test. (Click here for sample questions  Click here for additional sample questions).  Calculators, dictionaries, and handheld devices are NOT permitted during exams. Language translation dictionaries are allowed for ESL students (upon request). Photo ID is required during all three exams.



Exam Schedule:


Test 1 will be given during the first week of February, and will cover chapters 1, 2, 3 and 5 in the textbook, plus all lecture material up to that date. VERY IMPORTANT: Chapter 5 is assigned reading for Exam 1, but I rarely lecture in class on that chapter. However, there will be some exam questions on Exam 1 covering Chapter 5, so be sure you read that chapter. Exam 1 is 50 questions, all multiple-choice.




Test 2 will be given during the first week of March and will cover chapters 6 and 7 plus all lecture material since the last test. Exam 2 is 50 questions, all multiple-choice.




Test 3 will be given on a date in April assigned to us by the university administration later in the sememster. This test is worth 38% of the final grade. IMPORTANT: Exam 3 has a total of 60 questions--not 50. The first 50 questions, however, are all multiple-choice, and cover only the material since the last exam. After these 50 multiple-choice questions, there will be 10 fill-in-the-blank questions based on the whole course. These 10 fill-in-the-blanks questions target very basic course knowledge (“Top 10” things) that you are likely to know by the end of the course if you were reasonably well prepared for each of the three term tests during the course.





Note: The instructor reserves the right to slightly delay (e.g., by 1 lecture day) the date for each of the first 2 exams. If that occurred, however, you would be notified about the date change 2 weeks in advance in the exam date.


Makeup exams

There is one common date and time for all makeup exams. This time is the hour immediately AFTER exam 3. Note that our exam 3 is held during the April final examination period. (The exact date and location will be announced when the administration finalizes the April examination schedule for the university). Permission to write a makeup exam must be granted by the instructor. Any missed exam will result in a mark of 0% unless the absence was excused by the instructor. Excused absences are those for medical, travel, or family reasons, where the instructor has been notified prior to the start of the missed exam (e.g., by email to: paultrapnell@gmail.com). Students with an excused absence from an exam will be permitted to write a makeup exam during the hour immediately after exam3 in that room where exam3 will be held (TBA).


Other Notable Dates




Grade calculation


When are marks posted?


Grade Interval Cutoffs





1. Grade intervals.   The above cutoffs are tentative and may be changed in either direction by (i) the professor, (ii) the Departmental Review Committee, or (iii) the Senate, when circumstances warrant. Such changes rarely occur but can occur.


2. Voluntary Withdrawal.   The final date to withdraw from this course without penalty is March 15. Please refer to the General Calendar for Voluntary Withdrawal procedures. NOTE: You must formally withdraw from a course. If you simply stop going to classes, you may receive an “F” on your transcript and loss of tuition credit. If you are considering withdrawing from this course, I encourage you to talk to me in case I can help in anyway.


3. Academic Misconduct.   Students are responsible for understanding the nature of and avoiding the occurrence of academic offenses. There is a section in the General Calendar on academic misconduct dealing with regulations on student discipline and grade appeals. http://www.uwinnipeg.ca/academics/calendar/docs/regulationsandpolicies.pdf. Students facing a charge of academic or non-academic misconduct may choose to contact the University of Winnipeg Students’ Association (UWSA) where a student advocate will be available to answer any questions about the process, help with building a case, and ensuring students have access to support. For more information or to schedule an appointment, visit our website at www.theuwsa.ca/academic-advocacy, or call 204-786-9780.


4. Religious Holy Days and Exam Dates.   Students may choose not to attend classes or write examinations on holy days of their religion, but they must notify their instructors at least two weeks in advance. Instructors will then provide opportunity for students to make-up work and/or examinations without penalty. A list of religious holidays can be found at: http://uwinnipeg.ca/academics/calendar/docs/important-notes.pdf


5. Ensure that cell phone ringers are turned off during class.   Attendance in university is voluntary. If you attend class, you must respect others’ need for quiet during class. I must therefore reserve the right to assess some sort of grading penalty (3-5% reduction of the final mark) for repeated disruptions of the lectures by a class member after several warnings to cease such disruptions. I have never had the need to assess such a penalty, thankfully, but this possibility must be noted in the service of protecting all students’ educational rights.


6. Services for Students with Disabilities.   Students with documented disabilities, temporary or chronic medical conditions, requiring academic accommodations for tests/exams (e.g., private space) or during lectures/laboratories (e.g., access to volunteer note-takers) are encouraged to contact Accessibility Services (AS) at 786-9771 or email accessibilityservices@uwinnipeg.ca to discuss appropriate options. Specific information about AS is available on-line at http://www.uwinnipeg.ca/accessibility. All information about a student’s disability or medical condition remains confidential.


7. Medical and/or Personal Circumstances.   If you feel that you have a medical or personal problem that is interfering with your work, you should contact Accessibility Services or Counselling Services as soon as possible. Problems may be documented and possible arrangements to assist you can be discussed at the time of occurrence rather than on a retroactive basis. In general, retroactive requests for grade revisions on medical or compassionate grounds will not be considered.


8. Maintain a Respectful Learning Environment.   All students, faculty and staff have the right to participate, learn and work in an environment that is free of harassment and discrimination. The UW Respectful Working and Learning Environment Policy may be found online at www.uwinnipeg.ca/respect.