Understanding the Self: Personality Theories


Who am I? Why am I this way? Why do I make certain choices? Can I change?

This beginners' day school presents the main personality theories, and explains how psychologists measure it. The history behind personality measurement, as well as Freudian, behavioural, and neuroscientific theories will be explored.

The day is intended to provide an introduction to the field of personality to non-psychologists. It aims to familiarise you with general principles in personality psychology so that they can apply various approaches in order to better understand yourself and others.

Topics covered include basic definitions of personalities and its measurement, trait theory, psychoanalytic theories, neurobiological research from brain scanning studies and theories of emotion and motivation. The day describes the key tools used in assessment of personality traits. It also considers abnormal personality and the definition, diagnosis and treatment of personality disorders.

Please note: due to the nature of the contents of this day, this is not suitable for people under 18 years old.

Please note: this event will close to enrolments at 23:59 BST on 20 September 2024.

Programme details

All times UK times, BST (UTC+1)

Who are you? What is personality?


Trait theory, reliability and validity of personality measures

Lunch break

Freud vs. the Behaviourists


Biological theories, emotion and motivation

End of day


Description Costs
Course Fee £115.00


If you are in receipt of a UK state benefit or are a full-time student in the UK you may be eligible for a reduction of 50% of tuition fees.

Concessionary fees for short courses


Dr Anna Scarna

Dr Anna Scarnà is a psychologist who is interested in language, personality traits, and psychological disorders. Her research has been on non-drug treatments for mood disorders, such as bipolar disorder, and autism in females. Anna's most recent work has involved the occurrence of trauma in chimpanzees who were taught sign language and she has written two books about Nim Chimpsky: Primatology, Ethics and Trauma (2023) and Trauma in Sentient Beings: Nature, Nurture, and Nim (2024), both published by Routledge.


Please use the 'Book' button on this page. Alternatively, please contact us to obtain an application form.

IT requirements

The University of Oxford uses Microsoft Teams for our learning environment, where students and tutors will discuss and interact in real time. Joining instructions will be sent out prior to the start date. We recommend that you join the session at least 10-15 minutes prior to the start time – just as you might arrive a bit early at our lecture theatre for an in-person event.

If you have not used the Microsoft Teams app before, once you click the joining link you will be invited to download it (this is free). Once you have downloaded the app, please test before the start of your course. If you are using a laptop or desktop computer, you will also be offered the option of connecting using a web browser. If you connect via a web browser, Chrome is recommended.

Please note that this course will not be recorded.