Kies de Nederlandse taal
Course module: 400818-M-6
ReMA-IDA: Theoretical Models of Ind.Diff
Course info
Course module400818-M-6
Credits (ECTS)6
CategoryMA (Master)
Course typeCourse
Language of instructionEnglish
Offered byTilburg University; Tilburg School of Social and Behavioral Sciences; TSB: Developmental Psychology; Development Psychology;
Is part of
M Individual Differences and Assessment (research)
Coordinator course
prof. dr. J.J.A. Denissen
Other course modules lecturer
prof. dr. J.J.A. Denissen
Other course modules lecturer
prof. dr. J.M. Wicherts
Other course modules lecturer
Academic year2019
Starting block
Course mode
Registration openfrom 13/08/2019 up to and including 21/08/2020

The course has the following objectives, which are divided into multiple types.

Knowledge transfer

  • 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: 

  1. 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.
  2. 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:

  1. Course outline, history of differential perspective
  2. Properties of good theories; universal theories
  3. Concepts and theories of personality research
  4. Classic theories of personality research
  5. Modern theories of personality
  6. Concepts and theories of intelligence research
  7. Classic theories of intelligence
  8. Modern theories of intelligence
  9. Concepts and theories of motivation research
  10. Classic theories of motivation
  11. Modern theories of motivation
  12. Theories integrating personality, intelligence, and motivation
  13. The future of research in personality, motivation, and intelligence
  14. Remaining questions and topics for discussion

Type of instructions

Lectures, group discussions

Type of exams

Open-ended exam plus essay
Course available for exchange students
Research Master level, conditions apply
Contact person
prof. dr. J.J.A. Denissen
Timetable information
ReMA-IDA: Theoretical Models of Ind.Diff
Written test opportunities
Written test opportunities (HIST)
Schriftelijk / WrittenEXAM_01BLOK 1115-10-2019
Schriftelijk / WrittenEXAM_01BLOK 2207-01-2020
Required materials
Recommended materials


Kies de Nederlandse taal