This is a course about great ideas. In this course we will study a series of ideas concerning personality--but these should only be considered candidates for the title "great." In this course you will learn a lot about personality theories; but more importantly, you will learn to think critically about the greatness of ideas in psychology. What makes an idea great? What makes an idea bad? You may come away from this course feeling that some of the theories you have studied are indeed great, while some are bad, and others are mediocre. Different people are likely to arrive at different conclusions. The readings, listed in the order the instructor thinks you should read them, represent an attempt to let both the proponents and the critics of the ideas speak for themselves. You will weigh their arguments and come to your own conclusions.

During the first class period we will discuss the subject matter of the course--personality--and will ask ourselves what makes an idea regarding personality great. We will also discuss examples of alternative representations.

During the second class period we will meet in the psychology department computer lab (in the basement of Swift Hall) in order to allow students a chance to learn about the world wide web. We will learn to open Netscape and to use search engines, and will visit some websites relevant to personality. There will also be time for students to choose the other person with whom they would like to be in a group (group assignments will be made during the second class period). Groups will not only work together on the group project (if they choose to do one), but also will be assigned regularly to lead class discussions, sometimes taking a position either for or against a given theory.

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