Personality in Psychology Lesson Plan

Instructor: Kerry Gray

Kerry has been a teacher and an administrator for more than twenty years. She has a Master of Education degree.

This lesson plan is a tool for helping teachers instruct students about personality psychology. Students will learn about a variety of theories related to the development of personality, including psychoanalytic theory, humanistic theories, and trait theories.

Learning Objectives

Upon completion of this lesson on personality psychology, students will be able to:

  • Ask and answer questions about personality development.
  • Summarize various theories related to how thoughts, feelings, and behavior is developed.
  • Describe examples for each of the theories using content-specific vocabulary.


90 minutes

Common Core Curriculum Standards


Cite specific textual evidence to support analysis of primary and secondary sources, connecting insights gained from specific details to an understanding of the text as a whole.


Determine the central ideas or information of a primary or secondary source; provide an accurate summary that makes clear the relationships among the key details and ideas.


Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including analyzing how an author uses and refines the meaning of a key term over the course of a text (e.g., how Madison defines faction in Federalist No. 10).


  • Behaviorism
  • Big Five Theory
  • Ego
  • Erikson's Eight Stages of Psychosocial Development
  • Humanistic theories
  • Id
  • Incongruence
  • Inferiority complex
  • Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs
  • Mood
  • Neo-Freudian
  • Personality
  • Psychoanalytic theories
  • Psychosexual stages of development
  • Self-actualization
  • Social psychoanalytic theories
  • Superego
  • Theory of mind
  • Trait
  • Unconscious mind


  • Copies of the quiz
  • Copies of the lesson
  • Paper
  • Pencils

Video & Discussion Questions

  • Preview vocabulary with students prior to watching the lesson.
  • Watch Personality Psychology: Definition & Theories as a class, and discuss the following questions:
    • What is the difference between personality and mood?
    • What are some examples of personality traits?
    • What did Sigmund Freud theorize about personality development?
    • According to the theory of mind, what are the three elements of our personalities? Describe each.
    • How are neo-Freudian theories different from Freud's theories?
    • Describe behaviorism.
    • What are some of the criticisms of behaviorism?
    • How are humanistic theories different from behaviorism?
    • What are the categories of the Big Five Theory?
    • According to the Big Five Theory how is personality developed?
  • Ask if there are any questions, then give the students the lesson's printable worksheet to check for understanding.
  • Check the answers as a class.


Analyzing Self

Materials needed: copy of lesson, paper, pencils, internet/computer access

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