Introduction to Personality

PSYC 331/3.0

Outline of a head filled with smaller heads all different colours


This course is intended to introduce students to both the foundations (theory) and findings (research) of personality psychology. This course is evidence-based, focusing on what psychologists have discovered about human personality. The course will provide a broad overview of the various domains or perspectives of personality research including dispositional, biological, intrapsychic, cognitive, social/cultural and adjustment domains.   This course will also introduce students to personality assessment and re-search methods. Most importantly, there will be a focus on cutting edge research and developments in the understanding of personality, such as the widely accepted "Big Five" approach and gender differences in personality.

Learning Outcomes

  1. Identify key concepts and commonalities within the six major domains or schools of thought in understanding personality. Through doing this, students will appreciate the complexity of these different approaches.
  2. Evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of  different approaches to understanding personality for describing individual differences in behaviour.
  3. Compare and contrast the utility of personality concepts and methods based on empirical research literature.
  4. Describe the scientific approach to personality, and differentiate empirically supported tools for personality assessment from “pop” psychology approaches.
  5. Debunk common myths about personality disorders and critically evaluate how these disorders are defined.


Winter 2023
Course Dates
Delivery Mode


5% - Course Engagement Activities and Quizzes (5 of 8)
0% - Psychobiography Assignment Part 1 - Statement of Rationale
30% - Psychobiography Assignment Part 2 - Final Paper
25% - Midterm Exam (Ch. 1-10)
40% - Proctored Final Exam (Larsen Chs 1-14; 16-18; Twenge Ch 14) 

*Evaluation Subject to Change*

Proctored Exams

If a student is enrolled in ONLY online courses (section 700), they may choose either of the following options to write the exam:

  • Write the final exam online: you will write in onQ with Examity proctoring. A $100 online exam fee will be charged to your SOLUS account.  
  • Write the final exam in-person: you will write on Queen’s campus in Kingston. You will not be charged an extra fee to write on campus. 

If a student is enrolled in ANY in-person courses (section 001, 002, etc), you MUST write all your final exams in-person on Queen’s campus, including for an online course. You may not choose to write your exams online. 

Location and Timing of Final Examinations 

Once the exam schedule has been finalized the exam date will be posted on your SOLUS account. The exam dates for each Term are listed on the Faculty of Arts and Science webpage under "Important Dates." Student exam schedules for the Fall Term are posted via SOLUS immediately prior to the Thanksgiving holiday; for the Winter Term they are posted on the Friday before Reading Week, and for the Summer Term they are individually noted on the Arts and Science Online syllabi. Students should delay finalizing any travel plans until after the examination schedule has been posted. Exams will not be moved or deferred to accommodate employment, travel/holiday plans or flight reservations.

Instructor Information

Dr. Jeremy Stewart (

Textbook and Materials

Available from the Queen’s Campus Bookstore:

Required Textbook:

  • Larsen, R. J., Buss, D. M., King, D. & Ensley, C. (2020). Personality psychology: Domains of knowledge about human nature, 2nd Canadian Edition. McGraw Hill.

    There are 2 formats to choose from, depending on your preference and needs.

    1. McGraw Hill E-Book
    2. McGraw Hill Print Textbook

Students are responsible for all assigned readings because they contain more material than can be covered directly in the lesson notes. Similarly, some material covered in lesson notes will not appear in the assigned readings. Students are responsible for all this material because it may appear on exams.

Time Commitment

108 (36L;72P)