Learning, personality and intelligence

Available October 2020

This module explores personality and intelligence and considers different models for explaining and predicting how you will behave. We will address what personality is, how personality develops and what behaviour we can predict from personality. We will consider the same questions for intelligence. The module will introduce you to learning theory and ideas of behavioural psychology – we will consider how our life experience shapes who we are today.

Topics covered

Introduction to personality
Behavioural psychology
Learning theory
Configural learning
Semantic knowledge
Concept learning
Causal learning
The heritability of intelligence
Social learning
Intelligence and its measurement.

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module, you will be expected to be able to:

  • Understand the historical background to personality testing, including influential models of personality.
  • Understand the learning theory approach to individual difference in behaviour and personality.
  • Understand the history of behaviorism and key phenomena of conditioning.
  • Describe the Rescorla-Wagner (1972) model of learning, understanding key learning effects that the model accommodates.
  • Understand the configural approach to learning.   
  • Understand generalization of learning and factors that influence this.
  • Understand how learning theory is applied to concept learning and semantic knowledge.
  • Understand the approaches that have been taken to determine the genetic basis of personality.
  • Understand how social learning contributes to personality.
  • Understand the historical background to intelligence testing.
  • Appreciate the limitations of using IQ as a predictor of behaviour or future success.


  • Coursework (30%)
  • Examination (70%)