Humans show a vast range of personality characteristics: patterns of thought, feeling and behaviour. We spend much time and effort trying to understand and influence others. In this course we consider why differences evolved and explore a number of theoretical approaches for understanding different personalities. The course includes how the human nervous system functions and explores seven different frameworks/approaches to thinking about personality. Social psychology (the impact of circumstance on behaviour) is contrasted to personality theory. No theoretical framework has successfully explained the full range of personality: humans are too complex for that. Some theories contradict each other. However, looking at various theories can increase our insight into ourselves and others.
Peter Flynn received a PhD in Chemical Engineering in 1974 from U of A, and spent 25 years in industry in technical, management and executive roles. His lifelong interest in psychology helped in managing and motivating others. In 1999, he was appointed to the Poole Chair in Management for Engineers and developed a course in Personality Theory and Management, from which this course is derived.