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Introduction to Psychology: The Psychology of Personality

Explore the complex factors and influences that help shape our personality and examine what makes us different, and why.

57,116 enrolled on this course

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  • Duration

    2 weeks
  • Weekly study

    6 hours

Learn about about the complexities of personality, and what makes us - us

What makes us what we are? A key question within psychology and the subject of endless hours of research and theory within the field. On this course, you’ll examine the factors that influence personality and build your understanding of psychological theories.

You’ll cover Freud’s pioneering work on the psychodynamic perspective of personality, before considering theories of humanism, behaviourism, and personality-traits, as well as examining how the culture of a society affects individual personality.

Explore the theories of personality psychology

You’ll study the approaches, models and theories of the groundbreaking figures who contributed to the field, before looking into the efficacy of personality-tests in helping us to further our understanding of the human decision-making process.

As you build your understanding of different personality traits and the tools that psychologists use to identify them, you’ll learn how to explain psychometric properties of personality tests and explore how different personality theories apply to a case study.

Understand defence mechanisms and how they apply to everyday situations

Every personality type has a set of defence mechanisms that have been developed through childhood experiences and as a result of other personality traits. You’ll discover how to identify at least five of these mechanisms and provide examples of how they work.

Develop your knowledge of self-efficacy and how it can benefit you

Self-efficacy – your belief in your own ability to succeed – is a key factor in resilience, but it can’t be changed without effort. You’ll develop your understanding of the factors that underlie and define self-efficacy, and find out how it can ultimately be changed.

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Skip to 0 minutes and 12 seconds MATTHEW MUNDY: Like many other aspects of our lives, our personality helps differentiate ourselves from other people. Why do some people enjoy being the centre of attention while others prefer solitude? How does success or failure change us? As a science, how does psychology attempt to explain and measure personality, and determine how it influences our behavior? Hi I’m Matthew Mundy and I’m the Director of Education for the School of Psychological Sciences at Monash University in Australia. In this course, you’ll investigate the “Psychology of Personality’. You’ll be introduced to the dimensions that psychologists believe are important for measuring personality, and you’ll explore the mental processes we use to manage challenging or difficult situations.

Skip to 0 minutes and 55 seconds Many of you have probably completed a personality test at some time in your life. In this course you’ll investigate the psychometric properties of a personality test, and find out how different types of tests can provide us with useful insights into human behaviour. This introductory course is designed for everyone, regardless of experience or background. No prior study of psychology is required or expected. So if you want to learn about personality and how it influences our behaviour, by a School of Psychological Sciences that’s ranked among the best in the world. Then I encourage you to join us in this course.

What topics will you cover?

  • Freud, the psychodynamic perspective, and Neo-Freudians
  • Defining and assessing personality
  • Humanistic and learning approaches
  • Trait theories and biological influences
  • Culture and gender

Learning on this course

On every step of the course you can meet other learners, share your ideas and join in with active discussions in the comments.

What will you achieve?

By the end of the course, you‘ll be able to...

  • Explain why psychologists are better able to determine a person’s personality than non-psychologists.
  • Identify at least five defence mechanisms and provide examples of each.
  • Apply the concept of self-efficacy in your own life and identify ways that self-efficacy can be changed.
  • Identify five dimensions psychologists believe are important for measuring personality.
  • Explain at least three psychometric properties of a personality test.
  • Compare objective and projective personality tests.
  • Explore how four different personality theories may explain a simple case study.

Who is the course for?

This introductory course is for anyone interested in psychology - you don’t need any past experience.

It might be of particular use to learners who have already completed a Bachelor degree in other disciplines who are interested in expanding their science and research skills.

Who will you learn with?

I am Associate Professor and Director of Education for the School of Psychological Sciences, Monash University, Australia. My research is in the cognitive neuroscience of memory and perception.

Who developed the course?

Monash University

Monash University is one of Australia’s leading universities, ranked in the world’s top 1% by the Times Higher Education World University Rankings. It was established in Melbourne in 1958.

  • Established

  • Location

    Melbourne, Australia
  • World ranking

    Top 60Source: QS World University Rankings 2021

Learning on FutureLearn

Your learning, your rules

  • Courses are split into weeks, activities, and steps to help you keep track of your learning
  • Learn through a mix of bite-sized videos, long- and short-form articles, audio, and practical activities
  • Stay motivated by using the Progress page to keep track of your step completion and assessment scores

Join a global classroom

  • Experience the power of social learning, and get inspired by an international network of learners
  • Share ideas with your peers and course educators on every step of the course
  • Join the conversation by reading, @ing, liking, bookmarking, and replying to comments from others

Map your progress

  • As you work through the course, use notifications and the Progress page to guide your learning
  • Whenever you’re ready, mark each step as complete, you’re in control
  • Complete 90% of course steps and all of the assessments to earn your certificate

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