Personality Psychology


Personality refers to the patterns in individuals’ ways of behaving, thinking, and feeling, and the psychological mechanisms that drive these patterns. This course will examine methods of personality research, various approaches and theories (specifically: psychoanalytic, humanistic, trait, biological, learning, and cognitive approaches), as well as contemporary research in personality (e.g., personality change, personality judgment, and self-perception). 


Stereotyping & Prejudice


In this course, we will examine stereotyping, prejudice, discrimination, and the psychological experience of belonging to a low-status group (e.g., racial/ethnic minorities, women, LGBT individuals, etc.) from a social psychological perspective.


In the first part of the course, we will examine bias from the perpetrator’s perspective including: (1) the phenomena and processes associated with one’s beliefs about members of social groups (stereotypes), (2) attitudes and evaluative responses toward group members (prejudice), and (3) behaviors toward members of a social group based on their group status (discrimination). In the second part of the course, we will examine stigma from the target’s perspective (i.e., how stereotyping, prejudice, and discrimination impact the experiences of low-status group members). Finally, we will identify interventions that may help alleviate inter-group bias that arises during social interactions among people of differing socio-cultural backgrounds.


We will approach these issues with a focus on psychological experiments and theory that focus on understanding the psychologically-based causes, correlates, and consequences of discrimination and prejudice; thus, a special emphasis will be placed on understanding and evaluating original research articles.


Research Methods


Psychologists have a difficult task of measuring and studying human behavior, but using the scientific method and a little creativity in our research design, we are able to answer a wide array of important questions. In this course, you will learn the major research design approaches (descriptive, correlational, and experimental design), as well as important research methods (e.g., creating valid and reliable measures and experiments) useful for testing research questions. Ultimately, you will learn how to critically evaluate psychological research to help you make inferences in your own life.