San Jose State University
Psychology of Personality
Three Units
Class Number 10009
Winter, 2009
Dudley Moorhead Hall 359
Section 1: January 5 – January 16, 2008
All Friggin Week 9:00 AM – 1:30 PM

PROFESSOR: Dr. Steven A. Del Chiaro     OFFICE: 318 Dudley Moorhead Hall

E-mail:                              SJSU Office Phone: 408.924.5612
Web page:
OFFICE HOURS:  Office hours will be from 8:00 am until 8:45 am.   

Please be aware that I have appointments with clients and will have to leave by 1:30 pm.  Office hours are “drop in” times and are on a first come, first served basis. If you cannot make these times, you can call, e-mail, or see me after class to set an appointment.  I want to be available to you.  During office hours we can discuss questions about the course, psychology as a career, or topics of interest to you.  Please understand that I, just like you, have a busy schedule, but will do my best to be available. 

If you send me an e-mail, I will usually get back to you within 24 hours and I will always respond to let you know that I have received your message.  As a general rule, if you do not hear from me, chances are I didn’t get the message, so you need to re-send it.  

The purpose of this course is to introduce you to the study of personality psychology and to help you think more clearly about many of the questions that people have about their own and others’ personalities.  We will look at the major personality theories and their applications.  The field of personality is at the crossroads of most areas of psychology:  it is the point of convergence between the study of human development and change, of abnormality and deviance, as well as competence and fulfillment, of emotions and thought, of learning, and of social relations.

Traditionally, personality study has been devoted to generating theories about human nature and individuality, about the causes and meaning of important psychological differences among individuals.  In this effort, many personality psychologists have tried to find the most enduring and stable human attributes.  Much attention has also been given to measuring complex human behavior as objectively as possible and to discovering useful methods for studying individuals.  In addition, personality psychologists study how people develop and change, as well as remain stable throughout their course of life.

The two goals of the course are to provide students with a broad understanding of theories and research of personality and develop critical thinking skills applicable to the study of personality psychology.

Specifically, our course objectives are as follows

  1. To present prominent theoretical approaches to studying personality;
  2. To examine the methods of assessment of other practical applications associated with each approach
  3. To analyze research which has emanated from each of the approaches
  4. To be able to compare and contrast differing theoretical perspectives within and among the differing disciplines of psychology
  5. To encourage students to think critically, but diplomatically, about research
  6. Encourage students to apply course material to real-world settings


Burger, J. M. (2007).  Personality - 7th edition.  Wadsworth Thomson Learning. 
            Belmont, CA.  ISBN-10: 0495097861, ISBN-13: 9780495097860

The Burger text comes with some ancillaries that should help you learn more about personality.  Access to the web site is available at:                                                                 

**You can get the book from and enter the ISBN number for the book.  Might save some cash!!!**

The course syllabus presented in this document will be followed as closely as possible. However, the course syllabus, schedule, policies, and procedures are subject to change at the discretion of the instructor or in the event of extenuating circumstances. This includes the tentative dates listed. Possible changes will be announced in advance by the instructor as possible. Since such announcements are typically made during class, it is the student’s responsibility to clarify any of these changes that may have been made when the student is absent.  Seeing that this is a thirteen day class, you had better be here. 

Although you will be responsible for all of the material in the assigned readings, some of the information may not be covered in class. Therefore, if there is material that is unclear to you it is highly recommended that you discuss this material with me at an appropriate time (e.g., during office hours). It is your responsibility to read the syllabus and ask questions about it so that you have a clear understanding of the expectations. If you are unclear about any of the requirements/expectations, then please set up a time to speak with me. I will be grading as though you have a clear understanding of the course requirements and material. 

I will not be taking attendance. You are adults and need to make your own decisions.  Please realize that your decisions have consequences (if this makes no sense to you then you had better take Psychology 155 Human Learning).  Students are responsible for everything that is said and done in class. I strive to make my classes not only educational but also enjoyable. It is important to note that it is the student’s responsibility to withdraw from a course they do not wish to take. If you simply stop coming to the class and do not withdraw from the course, then you will still receive a grade that will be based on the completed work. Additionally, I encourage students to arrive on time for the class. However, I understand that extenuating circumstances do arise that can prevent your diligent efforts toward punctuality. If you are late to class, please take a seat in the row of desks/seats closest to the door in order to prevent disruption to the class. I hope you will take advantage of this policy only when absolutely necessary.  I do have a small portion of your grade based on participation, tardiness affects participation.  Many important pieces of information are discussed in class, and students are responsible for knowing and complying with this information including changes in assignments. Please make appropriate adjustments to your schedule to allow for arrival to the class on time (e.g., arriving early to avoid traffic/parking problems). 

Class disruptions are not tolerated. Students will be asked to leave if they are being disruptive to fellow students or the professor. Disruptions include but are not limited to cell phones and pagers going off for any reason (even accidental), TEXTING (yes, I still see it if you hold the phone under your desk during class!), talking when not participating in an instructor- assigned activity, and not paying attention (e.g., reading the newspaper, sleeping). In addition, please place electronic communication devices (e.g., pagers, cell phones) in the “off” position during class. If you must make or answer a call, please excuse yourself from class for such activity.  In accordance with university policies on student conduct, it is expected that you will treat other students and the instructor with courtesy and respect. Additionally, this class is conducted where you have wireless Internet access, please do not “surf’ the web.  You may use your computer to take notes, but you must sit in the back of the classroom or along the wall with your screen out of other students view.  In addition, if I or other students deem “keyboard noise” distracting, you will have to stop using the computer. This policy is in existence so that you do not distract me or other students.  I reserve the right to ask you to put the computer away at any time.  Failure to do so may result in you being asked to leave the classroom and dropped from the course.

You are responsible for understanding the dates, policies and procedures about add/drops, academic renewal, fee payment, withdrawal and so forth. These are listed under:

Consistent with the mission of San Jose State University, I welcome persons of differing backgrounds and experiences including but not limited to age, disability and health status, ethnicity and race, family structure, geographic region, language, religious/spiritual and secular beliefs, resident status, sex, sexual orientation and gender identity/expression, and socioeconomic status.

It is my goal to foster an environment in which diversity is recognized and embraced and every person is treated with dignity, respect, and justice. I hope that your academic experience in this course and at San Jose State University will provide the opportunity to gain knowledge and experiences necessary to thrive in a diverse, global environment.

Since a portion of the lectures will not come from the assigned readings, taking lecture notes is very important. Coming to class prepared (e.g., thoroughly reading the assigned material) and paying close attention to lecture will benefit the student. Preparation through reading the assigned material will help the student with taking notes during class as the student will recognize some of the material as coming from the readings and as a result will not need to take copious notes on that portion.  Should you happen to miss a class, you are welcome to obtain notes from a peer in the course. Also, please ask your peers in the course if you “missed anything important” and not the instructor. This question is considered rude by most professors including myself. It is important to note that those students who regularly attend class tend to do significantly better in the course.

San Jose State University provides program accessibility and reasonable accommodations for persons defined as disabled under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. Students with disabilities who require accommodations (academic adjustments and/or auxiliary aids or services) for this course must contact the Disabled Student Resources Center.

This course involves extensive use of the Internet for student research and assigned readings. All students are required to have access to the Internet via some means as well as an active/current e-mail address.  If you do not have a computer or access to the Internet, you can use the computers in the computer lab on campus. Labs are typically open late on some evenings and also open on weekends.


San Jose State University has a responsibility to promote academic honesty and integrity and to develop procedures to deal effectively with instances of academic dishonesty. Students are responsible for the honest completion and representation of their work, for the appropriate citation of sources, and for respect for others' academic endeavors. By placing their name on academic work, students certify the originality of all work not otherwise identified by appropriate acknowledgments.





January 5

Class Business/Syllabus/What is Psychology

Chapter 1


Personality Reseach Methods/Psychoanalytic

Chapter 2, 3

January 6

Psychoanalytic Approach Continued
Neo Freudians

Chapter 3,4,5,6

January 7

Neo Freudians Continued
Personality Assignment Due

Chapter 5,6

January 8

Neo Freudians Continued

Chapter 5,6

January 9

Exam 1
Trait Approach


Chapter  7,8

January 12

Trait Approach Continued


January 13

Biological Approach

Chapter 9,10, 11, 12

January 14

Humanistic Approach

Chapter 11,12

January 15

Behavioral/Social Learning Approach

 Chapter 13,14

January 16

Exam 2
*Film Review Paper or Why I Do What I Do Due*


Exams will be multiple-choice, short-answer and fill in.  The tests will have questions from the text, lectures and videos.  Each exam will be given during the lecture period, and you will have the class period to complete the exam.  Students will not be allowed to use the restroom during the exam period and cell phone use during a test, or test review, will result in referral to Judicial Affairs and receive a course grade of F/NC. DUE TO THE SHORT DURATION OF THE SESSION, THERE WILL BE NO RESCHEDULING OF THE EXAMS 

WRITING PROJECTS: (click here for assignments)
This session there will two projects:  (1) Personality Assignment and  (2) Why I Do What I Do Project OR the Film Review Paper.  You must complete the personality assignment and you can choose to do either the project or the paper.  Details about the project are at the end of the syllabus.  You must let me know which you are doing by the first exam.


Structure for Assignments

  1. Your papers need be organized - you should be developing a central idea in each section and the reader should be able to follow the logic of your argument.  Each paragraph should have a coherent theme and paragraphs should follow each other in an organized manner. Read over your papers to be sure that there is a logical order to them. 
  1. Watch for grammatical errors, particularly sentence fragments and run-on sentences. More than five spelling or grammatical errors will result in points deducted from final grades.  More than ten will result in a zero (0).  I encourage you to have your paper proofread. (one word)
  1. Your papers will be typewritten, double-spaced, one-inch margins, using Times New Roman (or VERY similar) font.
  1. On a sheet attached to the front of all your papers, type the Title of your paper. In addition you must include Name, Course, Course Number, Semester/Year, and Due Date.
  1. Citations/references included in your paper are to be done according to APA style as described in the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, 4th Edition, which is available in the library, the campus bookstore, and on-line.  You should have at least 2 references for every paper and they will be listed on a separate sheet of paper attached to the back of your assignment.

Grading will be based on the sum of the following: 

  1. 2 exams covering lectures, films, guest speakers, outside readings and the text are worth 100 points each (200). 
  2. Personality Assignment will be worth 10 points.
  3. Your choice of paper or project will be worth 40 points.

 The grade scale is as follows:



94 – 100%



77 – 79%




90 – 93%



73 – 76%




87 – 89%



70 – 72%




83 – 86%



67 – 69%




80 – 82%



60 – 66%



                F     =

   0 – 59%

If you have read this far, take advantage of your good student habits and earn your only extra credit points in the class. You will get five (5) points of extra credit if you come by my office some time within the first week of class (by January 4) and introduce yourself to me and tell me a little about yourself (to get extra credit, you need to introduce yourself to me in my office EVEN if I already know who you are). Even if you miss the deadline for extra credit, I still strongly encourage you to stop by and introduce yourself during the session. Any help I can get at learning the names of all the students I have this session will be appreciated. Finally, please do not be offended if I have to ask you for your name several times. It has nothing to do with how memorable you are as a person and everything to do with my less than perfect memory for names.