The course has the following objectives, which are divided into multiple types.
- Able to reproduce the most important elements of theories about structure (Five Factor Theory of personality; Holland structural models; Cattell-Horn-Carroll model of intelligence, g theory of intelligence) and process (formal models of personality functioning and motivation; Heckhausen theory of achievement motivation; Expectancy x Value Theory of motivation; mutualism model of intelligence by van der Maas et al.).
- Able to reproduce theories that are relevant for understanding theories about individual differences: learning theory, social cognitive theory, network theory, evolutionary theory.
- Able to reproduce the most important economic, health-related, and social (relationship) consequences of intelligence, motivation, and personality.
Application of knowledge
- Use theoretical frameworks (see above) to generate explanations regarding the structure, processes, and consequences of individual differences.
Evaluation of knowledge
- Compare theoretical frameworks (see above) in terms of the consistency and logic of their arguments, and their ability to explain the structure, processes, and consequences of individual differences.
The examination consists of two equally weighted parts:
- Written exam about personality, motivation and intelligence theory. The exam is a mix of factual knowledge about theories, understanding of theories, and application of theoretical principles to selected articles.
- Essay of 10 pages (double spaced, excl. title page, incl. references) focusing on a selected theory. The essay needs to highlight historical precursors, internal consistency, predictions, and link with other theories. In addition, the essay should highlight ways in which the theory can be modified or expanded to better match future challenges of individual differences research.
The course does not follow a single textbook. Rather, each session will discuss a number of papers and/or book chapters, which are listed in the course syllabus that will be distributed by the teachers.
The course starts with a general discussion of the individual difference perspective, and the properties of good scientific theories. Following this, theories from the area of personality, intelligence, and motivation are reviewed. Finally, integrative theories are presented, and novel developments are discussed. This content matter is covered in 14 sessions:
- Course outline, history of differential perspective
- Properties of good theories; universal theories
- Concepts and theories of personality research
- Classic theories of personality research
- Modern theories of personality
- Concepts and theories of intelligence research
- Classic theories of intelligence
- Modern theories of intelligence
- Concepts and theories of motivation research
- Classic theories of motivation
- Modern theories of motivation
- Theories integrating personality, intelligence, and motivation
- The future of research in personality, motivation, and intelligence
- Remaining questions and topics for discussion
Type of instructions
Lectures, group discussions
Type of exams
Open-ended exam plus essay