Origins of Competence: Cognitive Ability, Interests, and Conscientiousness (PSY10158)

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Origins of Competence: Cognitive Ability, Interests, and Conscientiousness (PSY10158)

Professor Timothy Bates

Semester 1

BPS core areas: Biological psychology, Differential psychology

Overview

The course will give an overview current research on personality, interests, and cognitive ability as causes of socio-economic competence and attainment. A primary focus will be on traits of conscientiousness and cognitive ability. The course will begin with documenting how these traits higher socioeconomic status. We will then examine the measurement of conscientiousness and of intelligence. This will be followed by research on factors claimed to increase these traits, including genetics and family environment, as well as interventions. The course will cover these topics over 10 weeks of lectures. The course will develop students skills at critical analysis and writing, as well as in depth content knowledge of the key data and theories in the field.

Delivery: 2-hour weekly lecture

Learning outcomes

  1. Understand the main concepts of conscientiousness and cognitive ability.
  2. Show awareness of major findings in behaviour genetics of ability. Interpreting these.
  3. Understand the major methods for measurement, as applicable to HR and personality assessment, along with their limitations.
  4. Show awareness of relations between individual differences major socioeconomic outcomes. Ability to interpret causal inferences critically.
  5. Understand the major strengths and limitations of alternative approaches, including mindset theory, grit, meta-cognition, bias/prejudice, and hyper-environmentalism.

Assessment

Mid-term: Multiple-choice questions (30% of final grade)

Final assessment: Multiple-choice questions and short essay due on Thursday 8th December 2022 (70% of final grade)

Reading

Russell T Warne (2020) "In the Know: Debunking 35 Myths about Human Intelligence"

Robert Plomin (2019) "Blueprint: How DNA Makes Us Who We Are"