A Little Bit About Me
Class Information
Psy 208 Syllabus
Psy 136 Syllabus
Psy 101 Syllabus
Psy 200 Syllabus
Psy 215 Syllabus
ORI 100 Syllabus
PSY 215 ALP Syllabus
PSY 136 ALP Syllabus
PSY 204 Syllabus

Montgomery Community College – West Campus

PSY 136 Personality Psychology

Section UW – 3 Credits – Fall 2007

Thursday 7:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m. Room 214



Instructor:                Mr. Francis P. O’Neill M.A.

Office:                        140-C  

Phone:                      610-718-1842

Email:                        foneill@mc3.edu (best method of communication)

Office Hours:           By appointment

Class Room:           West 214

Prerequisite:            None: Recommended English 101 & Psychology 101




A. Required Text:                                       Psychology Applied to Modern Life:Adjustments to the 21st Century 8ed., 2006, Wayne Weiten & Margaret A. Lloyd,  Thompson/Wadsworth Publishing

B. Supplementary Reading Material:    Provided by instructor

C. In Class Video:                                      Films and video tapes provided by instructor

D. Movie for Assignment:                        Supplied by student independent from the classroom setting.


A comparison of major approaches to the study of the development and structure of normal personality. Topics include the applications of psychological research to understanding and promoting mental health and human resilience. Consideration is given to the role of healthy personality in managing frustration, conflict, adjusting to predictable and unpredictable life changes, and achieving maximum well-being.


This course is designed to foster knowledge and attitudes which will assist the student in understanding and to know the scholarship developed within the discipline.

Students are Responsible for the Following:

Course Competencies & Objectives
Upon completion of this course, the student should be able to:

  1. Identify the concepts of personality and self as central to healthy patterns of adjustment.


  1. Identify and analyze past, current and future passages, turning points and stages in the life cycle


  1. Identify and assess different models or conceptions of mental health and adjustment.


  1. Clarify perceptions of self vs. ideal self


  1. Identify behaviors, attitudes and classroom practices that facilitate the mental, emotional, and social well being of classroom students


  1. Identify and assess healthy and unhealthy aspects of  relationships


  1. Explore well being in a variety of chosen adult roles


  1. Examine  the variety of approaches and avenues for personal growth


  1. Examine how attitudes and social awareness impact our patterns of adjustment


  1. Develop complex skills in communicating clearly


  1. Examine coping methods to reduce stress


  1. Develop personal strategies for coping effectively, resolving crises, problem solving, and creative living


  1. Develop a fuller self-understanding, with special attention to the values, attitudes, knowledge, abilities and skills that are needed to be effective in the classroom and life

Participation and Attendance: So that you can get the most out of the class you need to be present for the majority of the sessions. It is also important to interact in the classroom discussions and exercises. Most formal learning will come from the classroom interaction. All extra credit test questions will be taken from classroom lecture material!

After 2 absences you will drop one letter grade 2 more absences (total 4 absences) and you will receive an “F” grade for this class.

Excessive lateness/tardiness is to be avoided, but it’s better to be late than absent. If you are late, after roll is taken, you need to see the instructor immediately after class to be counted as being present for class. 3 times late equals one absence.

Official Withdraw from Class:

1.      Students can withdraw from class up to one week after mid-semester with a formal withdraw application. Grade will then be a “W”. Last date to withdraw without a signature from the instructor October 24th, 2007.

2.      After this time a withdraw with a “W” is at the discretion of the instructor. The instructor must sign off for a class withdraw at this point. Last date to withdraw with a signature from the instructor  December 13th, 2007 (Last class day).

3.      Failure to attend class may lead to a grade of an “F”, it will not constitute an automatic withdraw from class.



Grading will be as follows:


A = 90 – 100+

B = 80 – 89

C = 70 – 79

D = 60 – 69

F  = 0 – 59


Grades will be based on the final grade breakdown. There will NOT BE A CLASS CURVE. This means that everyone can get an "A".

No “I" (incomplete) grades will be submitted for this course, unless a death in the family occurs or another serious situation develops. An “I” grade is at the sole discretion of the instructor. It is paramount that all test and assignments be completed before the course ending date. No exceptions unless there is a medical emergency!

Exams: There will be 3 major exams and one final. Each exam will consist of multiple choice & true false questions with the possibility of extra credit questions added at the end of the test. If a student misses an exam the possibility of a make-up is strictly on the basis of a medical or other serious reason at the discretion of the instructor. You must be present for each exam on the date of the exam. A make up test can not be taken after a week from the original testing date, if at all. You must be present for the final or you must take it early if you can’t be present NO EXCEPTIONS!




  1. 3 exams worth 100 points each (extra credit poss.)             300+pts
  2. Class Participation & Attendance                                              50 pts
  3. Postings on Blackboard                                                              50 pts
  4. Hero & Life Review Assignment                                                100 pts
  5. Movie Assignment                                                                         100 pts
  6. Final Exam                                                                                       100 pts


All points will be added up and divided by 7


Class Participation & Attendance:


You will get points throughout the semester for several reasons:


bullet 25 points - Questions relevant to class discussions
bullet 50 points - Posts on Blackboard
bullet 12.5 points - Coming to class on time
bullet 12.5 points - Handing in papers on time and being ready to present on your scheduled day
bullet These points will be summed up in two categories and are approximate. Totals above are maximums for area breakdown.


Grades will be based on the final grade breakdown. There will NOT BE A CURVE. This means that everyone has the possibility of getting an "A".


It is paramount that all test and assignments be completed before the course ending date. No exceptions unless there is a medical emergency!


Other Information


Reading: It is VERY important that you complete the reading for each day on the course schedule BEFORE you come to class that day. The most important goal for the class is for you to have fun while learning about psychology. But to do this, you’ll have to stay on top of the reading (and there’s a lot). Take note that class lectures will not reiterate the text book, but will be used to enhance the selections read. Participation points will rely on this reading to some extent!!

Student Conduct:

1.      Academic integrity is expected. Cheating in any form is unacceptable, and will be dealt with per college policy. Which could include but, is not limited to, expulsion from class with a failing grade (F) and possible dismissal from the college? There will be no individual or group warnings.

2.      Plagiarism (taking false claim for work that you did not generate) of any type is unacceptable and will be dealt with per college policy. Which could include but, is not limited to, expulsion from class with a failing grade (F) and possible dismissal from the college? There will be no individual or group warnings.

3.      Classroom behaviors that are encouraged: Asking questions, answering instructor’s questions, discussion of topics between students before the entire class, and the participation in structured learning activities.

4.      Classroom behaviors that are discouraged: Two way conversation between students during lectures or class discussions and leaving the classroom before the instructor dismisses the class.

5.      Respect for all the class is paramount. Anything less is unacceptable.

Class Cancellation Policy:


If there is inclement weather please check the college web site and/or call the campus at 610-718-1800 and listen to the message. Also the school codes are 395 for day and 2395 for the evening division. Also please refer to the campus calendar for days off and breaks in the class schedule.


Important Dates for Papers, Tests and Days Off:

9/6       First Day of Class

10/4     Exam #1 Chapters 1, 2, 3 & 4

10/24   Last day to withdraw without a signature

10/25   Exam #2 Chapters 5, 6 & 7

11/1     Movie Paper Due

11/29   Exam #3 Chapters 8, 9, 10 & 11

12/6     Hero & Life Review Paper Due

12/13   Last Class

12/13   Last day all papers will be accepted for credit

12/13   Last day to withdraw with a signature

12/20   Final - Last Chapters 12, 14 & 15 Classroom 214 7:15-9:15


The instructor reserves the right to make any content or rescheduling revisions as deemed appropriate or necessary.  

Students with Disabilities Policy:

Students with disabilities may be eligible for accommodations in this course. Contact the director of services for students with disabilities in the counseling center, College Hall, at 215-642-6575/6577 for more information. At West Campus, contact the director of student affairs, 610-718-1839.

MCCC web site information http://www.mc3.edu/sa/stdisab/stdisab.htm

Assignment Submission Guide Lines:


All papers assignments handed in must be typed!


Spelling, grammar and sentence structure must be correct.


Page layout should be 12 pitch font, Times New Roman or Arial, double spaced with a one inch margin on the top and bottom and on the sides. You are to hand in TWO copies of each assignment.


Format: Information on the cover page should include your name, The assignment (“movie assignment” etc.), date the paper is handed in, class (Psy 136 Spring 2006), instructor’s name (Frank O’Neill), movie chosen (or other needed info). Centered under this should be a title of the assignment ex. Unfaithful - Wife exhibits classic signs of guilt but… or The Shining – Here’s Johnny! Have fun with this assignment!


All footnotes are to be APA style please remember to cite all referenced material!

Missed Deadlines:
Any material turned in late will subject to a reduction in points. 5 point reduction for every class late. Items not turned in by the last date due will be counted as a zero.

Online Help:

You can access the text books information, this syllabus and the class schedule through BlackBoard: www.mc3.edu All grades and info pertaining to the course will be posted on Blackboard. Slides used in class are also posted in the documents sections. 

The use of BlackBoard will be a major part of the class. Announcements to the class will be posted weekly, the forums will count towards participation and your grades will be available after posting 24/7.

The text Books web site is: http://psychology.wadsworth.com/weiten_lloyd8e/  

Major Assignment #1

Hero’s and the Shaping of Your Personality


This will be an 8-12 page typed, double-spaced paper attempting to write your own "Personality’s life-history".  Use the text book and lecture material in class, ask questions of people who know you. Learn about “you!” This assignment is not as easy as it sounds. It will require you to think critically and to analytically write down a working theory of your personality and what you find important in personality development.


A. Pick a person alive or dead who you consider a hero.


1.                  Write as to why they are a hero?

2.                  What part of the person’s personality attracts you to this person?

3.                  Give details of the person’s personality. (Use references from the text book)

4.                  What aspects don’t you like about the person?

5.                  What don’t you understand about this person and the way he/she acts?

6.                  Do you like this person? Why? Why Not?

7.                  What life events shaped this person to act the way they do?


B. Pick a person alive or dead who you consider an anti-hero.


8.                  Write as to why they are a anti-hero?

9.                  What part of the person’s personality attracts you to this person (to label him/her an anti-hero)?

10.             Give details of the person’s personality. (Use references from the text book)

11.             What aspects don’t you like about the person?

12.             What don’t you understand about this person and the way he/she acts?

13.             What life events shaped this person to act the way they do?

14.             Do you like this person? Why? Why Not?


C. Relate this to yourself and others around you.


15.             What do you see in yourself that is within both the hero and anti-hero?

16.             What events help shape who you are?

17.             What would you like to change about yourself and why?

18.             What do you like about yourself?

19.             Do you look for hero or anti-hero qualities in the people close to you? What are they? Why?

20.             Do belief systems and challenges in life shape our personality? Or are we born this way (temperament)? Or is it both? Explain in relation to yourself.

Of course, in such a limited space this will not be a full recounting of your life. Identify and select what you see as the handful of most important, formative events in your development and integrate them into a narrative that communicates both who you are (your action tendencies, ways of feeling, beliefs and cognitive style) and how you got that way. Within the context of part “C” Include:


1. Basic demographic information (birth-place, geographical movements, number, age and sex of siblings, marital status and occupations of parents, etc).


2. Whatever experiences and circumstances you believe have contributed to making you uniquely "you". Most importantly, identify two to four "themes" that have dominated and shaped your life. Examples of life themes might include "loss", "intimacy vs commitment" "self-assertion", "care for others" "loyalty" "seduction" "competition", and the list goes on and on.


Feel free to be as frank and honest as you are comfortable – no one but the instructor will see these papers.

Your paper will be evaluated in part in terms of how successful you are in
1) Articulating a vision of personality, and using it to identify and organize the relevant data of your experience
2) Demonstrating perceptive and sensitive understanding of your own life story. Does your paper show evidence of increased self-honesty and understanding?
3) Demonstrating clear writing style and employing appropriate writing mechanics.

No references or footnoting is required (unless of course you use direct quotation).

Major Assignment #2

Film Review

I would like you to review a film of your choosing from the list provided which relates to the subject matter of the course in some way. There are lots of great films about differing personalities (or you could use any film as long as it relates to the course content and is approved by me). You can view the film with other members of the class, however you each must write your own unique assignment. Please do not discuss the assignment with your peers. Check with me if you are not sure whether the film you want to use will fit with the course.

Your Review should contain, at a minimum, the following information:

Shorter Parts of the assignment:

bulletThe title & year of the movie you are reviewing (short)
bulletA basic plot summary of the movie. You must write this yourself. Copying information from the back of the box or from movie review websites is plagiarism and will be treated as such. (short)

Longer parts of the assignment:

o                    Explain in depth the relationship of the movie to the course content.

o                    Identify the themes/ideas from the film that relate to the course.

o                    Evaluate these themes. Were these aspects of personality portrayed accurately? Why or why not? (you should use evidence from your text or lecture to support your statements)

o                    Give in depth analysis of a major character in the film as he/she relates to the course. Use chapters 2 & 5 to help guide you in this.

o                    Give in depth analysis of a major relationship in the film as they relates to the course. Use chapters 6, 7, 8 and/or 9 to help guide you in this.

o                    Personal evaluation of the film - would you recommend it to others, why or why not?


Movie List


1 The Breakfast Club (1985) (R) (language)

A group of detention-bound high school students enters the library on a Saturday morning with nothing to say to one another. By 4 p.m., however, the jock (Emilio Estevez), the brain (Anthony Michael Hall), the criminal (Judd Nelson), the princess (Molly Ringwald) and the kook (Ally Sheedy) have terrorized the principal (Paul Gleason), bared their souls and started to understand one another in this seminal 1980s film from John Hughes.

 2 Casablanca (1942) (PG)

As time goes by, this 1942 classic starring Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman (as Rick and Ilsa, star-crossed lovers who just aren't meant to be) only gets better. Of all the "gin joints" in Morocco, Ilsa, with husband Victor (Paul Henreid) in tow, had to walk into the one owned by Rick, a former beau she abandoned in Paris. War looms over them all, and in a much-discussed ending, Rick and Ilsa make heroic but heartbreaking choices.


1 Gone with the Wind (1939) (G)

Margaret Mitchell's sweeping Civil War saga remains one of the greatest examples of cinematic storytelling. Vivien Leigh's tempestuous Scarlett O'Hara and Clark Gable's handsome rogue Rhett Butler bicker and battle from antebellum plantations to the streets of postwar Atlanta. (Long movie!)


3 Fatal Attraction (1987) (R) Sexual Situations, Language

Happily married New York lawyer Dan Gallagher (Michael Douglas) finds himself attracted to his colleague Alex (Glenn Close), and the two enjoy a passionate tryst while Dan's wife (Anne Archer) and child are away. But the one-night stand comes back to haunt Dan when Alex refuses to let him go and begins to stalk him and his family. Just how far will she go to get what she wants?


2 When Harry Met Sally (1989) (R) (language)

Can men and women remain friends without the sex part getting in the way? Nora Ephron's episodic screenplay introduces womanizing, neurotic Harry (Billy Crystal) and ambitious, equally neurotic Sally (Meg Ryan) as chums who resist sexual attraction to maintain their friendship -- a relationship always teetering on the brink of love. As the two draw closer, the question resurfaces: Can they stay just pals, or will the sex part get in the way?


1 Road to Perdition (2003) (R) (violence, including some gruesome images, and language)

Two-time Academy Award winner Tom Hanks in one of his best performances (Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Time) stars as Michael Sullivan, a father fighting to keep his only son from traveling the "Road to Perdition".



2 One Hour Photo (2002 ) (R)

Sy "the photo guy" Parrish (Williams) has lovingly developed photos for the Yorkin family since their son was a baby. But as the Yorkins' lives become fuller, Sy's only seems lonelier, until he eventually believes he's part of their family.


2 The Game (1997) (R)

San Francisco banker Nicholas Van Orton (Michael Douglas) is a financial genius and a coldhearted loner. On his birthday, he receives an unusual present from his brother (Sean Penn) -- a gift certificate to play a unique kind of game. In about a nanosecond, Douglas finds himself consumed by the game and unable to distinguish where the charade ends and reality begins.


1 Unfaithful (2002) (R)  (Warning sexuality, language and a scene of violence)

In Adrian Lyne's erotic thriller, Diane Lane is Connie, a wife and mother who lives in a beautiful house with her handsome husband, Edward (Richard Gere). But their marriage has lost its sexual spark, and when Connie literally runs into handsome book collector Paul (Olivier Martinez), he sweeps her into an all-consuming affair. But Edward soon becomes suspicious...


1 Dead Poets Society (1989)(PG)

John Keating (Robin Williams) is an unconventional English teacher who lives by a simple motto: Seize the day! Neil Perry (Robert Sean Leonard) is a prep school student who dreams of being an actor but lives in fear of his imperious father, who wants to see him matriculated into Harvard's medical school. Can Keating -- and his infectious love of poetry -- inspire Neil to reach for his dreams? The screenplay won an Oscar.


2 O Brother, Where Art Thou? (2000) (PG-13)

Three convicts (George Clooney, John Turturro and Tim Blake Nelson) break out of jail during the 1920s with an eye toward retrieving a cache of hidden money. Along the way, they fast-talk their way out of jams, sidestep alluring riverside sirens and record a hit country song. O Brother is a rollicking romp in the tradition of Bob Hope and Bing Crosby's "road" pictures.


3 The Count of Monte Cristo (2002) (PG-13)

A beautifully photographed rekindling of the classic Alexandre Dumas story. Edmond Dantès's (Jim Caviezel) life and plans to marry the beautiful Mercedes (Dagmara Dominczyk) are shattered when his best friend, Fernand (Guy Pearce), deceives him. After spending 13 miserable years in prison, Dantès escapes with the help of a fellow inmate (Richard Harris), cleverly insinuates himself into the French nobility and plots his revenge.

5 The Kid (2000) (Lighter fair, PG)

In this thoroughly enjoyable family comedy, Bruce Willis is Russ Duritz, a powerful businessman so immersed in his work that he has no life. Magically, Russ meets a younger version of himself -- a chubby, charming 8-year-old -- who absolutely hates what the adult version has become. With Russ's help, Willis comes to grips with the person he used to dream of being and who he's actually become.


2 Witness (1985) (R)

In director Peter Weir's tense thriller, cop John Block (Harrison Ford) goes undercover in an Amish community to protect a boy who witnessed a murder. Once inside, the faux-Amish Block must adjust to major culture shock while cautiously romancing the child's mother (Kelly McGillis). Suspense and romance intermingle memorably in William Kelly's airtight script, a frequent model for budding screenwriters.


1 About a Boy (2002) (PG-13) (Some language)

Will Lightman (Hugh Grant) is a rich, hip, irresponsible Londoner who, in search of available women, invents an imaginary son and starts attending single-parent meetings -- confident in both parties' inability to make a commitment. But when Will meets Marcus, the troubled 12-year-old son of Fiona (Toni Collette), a quirky and unexpected friendship develops as both Will and Marcus help each other grow up.

1 Cast Away (2000) PG-13 (intense images and action sequences)

After Federal Express systems engineer Chuck Noland's (Tom Hanks) plane crashes in the Pacific Ocean, he finds himself fighting to survive on a deserted island with nothing but a painted volleyball for company.

1 Matchstick Men (2003) PG-13 (thematic elements, violence, some sexual content)

A professional con man (Nicolas Cage) struggling with an obsessive-compulsive disorder meets the daughter (Alison Lohman) he never knew he had, inadvertently jeopardizing his very organized and artificially controlled life.

Number ratings are as follows:

 1          More substance to write about.

2          A little less than a 1 but still very good.

3          On the lighter side and may not be very psychological based but still some good stuff to pull out.

4          Not the greatest in either character content or script, but if you like a challenge…

5          Light on things that offend, almost no language or violence. Still okay for psychological debate.


All info and reviews is taken from Netflix.com or Walmart.com

If you’re religious faith forbids movies or if you are opposed to violence, sex or coarse language in film please discuss this assignment with me.


Psychology 136 Personality Theories

Class Schedule* – Fall 2007 –


9/6       Introduction, Review Syllabus etc. & Chapter 1    

9/13    Chapter 2 Theories of Personality

9/20    Chapter 3 Stress and its Effects

9/27    Chapter 4 Coping Processes

10/4    Exam #1 Chapters 1-4

10/4    Chapter 5 The Self

10/11  Chapter 6 Social Cognition and Social Influence

10/18  Chapter 7 Interpersonal Communication

10/24  Last day to withdraw from class without a signature

10/25  Exam #2 Chapters 5-7

10/25  Chapter 8 Friendship and Love

11/1    Movie Paper Due!

11/1    Chapter 9 Marriage and Intimate Relationships

11/8    Chapter 10 Gender and Behavior

11/15  Chapter 15 Psychological Disorders

11/22  Thanksgiving Day! No Class     

11/29  Exam #3 Chapters 8, 9, & 10

11/29  Chapter 15 Psychological Disorders

12/6    Chapter 16 Psychotherapy

12/6    Hero Paper Due

12/13  Chapter 16 Psychotherapy or Final

12/13  Last class – Last day to withdraw with a signature

12/20 – Final Chapters 15 & 16

Spring Break is March 14th & 16th No Class

* All dates are tentative and subject to minor changes