HPS307/791 Personality Assessment

Overview of Assessment Tasks

The assessment tasks for HPS307/791 consist of: 

  • Assessment 1: Lab report (45% of overall grade) 
  • Assessment 2: Personality Profile report (25% of overall grade)
  • Assessment 3: Examination (30% of overall grade)

Two major features of this unit are that we (a) base your AT1 lab report on real data that we collect at the start of trimester, and (b) we return your own personality profile data to you for use in AT2. We hope that this will help you feel connected to the assessments and be inspired to delve deeply into understanding your own personality as well as the processes involved in understanding personality more generally.  

We will help you develop the skills required for your assessment tasks in the tutorial stream, and I encourage you to take advantage of the tutorials to your fullest ability. 

Data for AT1 & AT2

In order for you to engaging in real world research (AT1) in introspection/reflection (AT2), we need to collect the data for your lab report and your personality profile report in real time. To do so, we would like you to consider completing a survey about personality and some additional outcome measures (described below). This aspect of the unit is entirely voluntary. If you do not wish to complete the survey, the data you usefor AT2 will be that of a made-up person (there is no advantage or disadvantage to this, though perhaps it may not be as interesting as using your own data). There will be a Plain Language Statement at the start of the survey which explains that you are able to contribute your data to ongoing research in this area if you would like to. You have no obligation whatsoever to consent to contributing your data. If you decline to have your data pooled for research purposes, it will be deleted at the end of T2 (i.e. after your assessment tasks are completed and marked). If you consent to contributing your data, it will be anonymised before being added to a larger data set. The data may be used in personality journal publications, and much of the past HPS307/791 data has been published in personality journals. There is no compulsion to allow your deidentified data to be used in this way, and the unit team, including the Unit Chair, will not know if you have elected to contribute your data or not. It’s wholly your decision.

In addition to providing you with your own data, we have developed a methodology to enable us to give you other people’s assessment of your personality. This aspect of AT2 is always interesting and sometimes enlightening, but importantly it’s a really good way to help you develop a first-hand understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of personality testing.  At the end of your survey, you will have an opportunity to invite three people who know you really well to complete the same personality inventories that you did, however the questions they answer will be asking about how they see you. That means we can give you personality data as you see yourself, and an averaged profile of how other people see you (i.e. averaged across the three people who have completed the personality inventory for you). Will they be the same or different?  What does it mean if other people don’t see you the way you see yourself? These are the sorts of really interesting questions that can come out of the HPS307/791 assessment process! 

In order to protect relationships, we will give you your other-rater data back as an averaged profile. That is, you will get one set of scores for all three other-raters. This is to ensure that your other-raters feel free to answer the questions about you truthfully, as they will know that you won’t be able to see how they rated you. Please encourage your other-raters to answer the questions honestly. It’s quite possible, in fact probable, that the people who love or care for you may alter their responses about your personality in a socially desirable way if they know you will see what they said!  

Before you enter the other-raters’ email addresses in the survey, please contact each person you would like to nominate and ask them if they mind completing the survey. You can reassure them that they should answer the questions honestly, and that you won’t ever know what their actual responses were (because they will be averaged with two other people’s responses). This aspect of the assessment is a big undertaking and involves a lot of planning and coordination on our part and on yours, but it does provide you with some really interesting data to sink your teeth into. If your otherraters have any questions that you’re not sure how to answer, please feel free to email the HPS307 inbox. 

Note: The survey will have items that measure additional outcomes; wellbeing, narcissism, competitiveness, and intelligence. Here is why we have more than just personality and social media use in the survey;

The narcissism and competitiveness data will form the basis of the T3 lab report. The T3 cohort is typically quite small, so we kindly ask T2 students to complete the additional items to provide a robust sample size for the T3 cohort (they thank you in advance). 

The intelligence data will be used in our tutorials and forms part of AT2 for the HPS791 students. 

The wellbeing is a follow-up from the 2020 cohort. The 2020 lab report looked at the impact of COVID-19 on wellbeing and whether personality traits we related to how people were coping, and we would very much like to follow the wellbeing of our students in this semi-post-COVID-19 (?) environment. The 2020 data can be found in this publication.  

We will return your scores for any and all of the scales that you complete as we know that students find this information interesting.  In HPS307/791 we are conducting genuine, publishable research – nothing here is contrived for assessment purposes only. You can even read some of the published personality research that past cohorts have engaged with. We hope that engaging with a real research project, in real time, with real data that will contribute to the personality literature will ignite your interest in research!  

1. Lab Report—Due 26th August, 8pm

Your task is to write a research report that investigates the association between personality and problematic social media use. We will look at social media use general, as well as specific platforms (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tik Tok, YouTube).  

1.1 The research topic

In this study we will consider a topic that many people relate to – social media use and it’s potential to leave us feeling less than happy. The rise of social media has been super fast and unprecedented in terms of uptake and usage. According to data from Deloitte (2021), 92% of Australians now own or use a smartphone, which in real terms is effectively population saturation. We love our phones!! We also know (from the Deloitte data) that just over half of Australians (55%) use their smartphones to access social media at least once per day. This seems like a lot of people using social media every day, but this data reflects a decrease in social media use! In the 12 months prior to the Deloitte survey, 32% of respondents said that that had stopped using social media in that past 12 month window. Some of the reasons that we cited for ceasing social media use were: 

  • I was bored with the content (34%)
  • There was too much fake news (31%)
  • I spent too much time on it (29%)
  • I found the content (posts and comments) too negative (27%), and 
  • It didn’t make me feel good about myself (22%)

While social media undoubtedly has some positive features, like helping people remain in contact with friends and family (especially so since 2020), there also seem to be a lot of down sides to social media use. 

So why do we keep using it, and in such high volumes? Well, we need to think about a number of factors to answer this very big question, but one thing we can think about in HPS307/791 is the role of personality in how we engage with social media. Our personality traits inform a lot of what we do or don’t do, so we’re interested to know if how we engage with social media is associated with who we are at the basic level of personality. Can you think about some aspects of personality that, on face value, might be associated with the types of behaviours that we see in social media use?


HPS307 students will formulate two hypotheses for AT1, while HPS791 students will formulate three. Your hypotheses should be guided by the following research questions: 

HPS307 & HPS791

  1. Which Big 5 factor will be most strongly associated* with problematic social media use? 
  2. Which social media platform (Twitter/Facebook/Instagram/YouTube/TikTok) usage will have the strongest association with negative affect? 

* Note that ‘strongest relationship’ can mean positive or negative correlation. 

HPS791 only

3) Which Big 5 factor will be most strongly associated with total time spent on social media?

1.2 Reading (AT1): 

The paper we have supplied you with is a meta-analysis of social media addiction and personality research, which will give you a very good grounding and starting point for this topic.  You must include this paper in your lab report, as well as other articles you deem appropriate. There is no minimum number of references, we would prefer you to have fewer articles that are well-chosen, relevant and reliable than lots of articles that aren’t high quality or are poorly used in your report. Quality over quantity is the aim here. We spend time in Tutorials 2 and 4 going over AT1 so please remember to watch the cloud recordings if you are unable to attend in person.   

This paper is available for you to download in the AT1 folder in Cloud Deakin. You will see that I have annotated it to help guide your thinking as you read through it. We will begin working on the Lab Report in our Week 2 tutorial, but you are encouraged to start thinking and reading as early as possible. 

HPS307 & HPS791

 Huang, C. (2022). Social media addiction and personality: A meta-analysis. Asian Journal of Social Psychology, doi:https://doi.org/10.1111/ajsp.12531  

1.3 Survey Information—AT1 and AT2

We will use the following questionnaires in our survey – they feed into both AT1 and AT2 (see notation beside each reference). You are welcome to look up the associated papers, the references are at the end of this document. The below information will be enough for you to write up your materials section for AT1. You can copy and paste but you may also like to finesse them a little and, where appropriate, format it in APA7 style. Remember to only include the scales we used for AT1 data in your materials section.    

i. Big Five Aspects Scale (DeYoung, Quilty, & Peterson, 2007; AT1 & AT2)

The BFAS is a 100-item self-report inventory that provides a measure of the Big 5 factors—Neuroticism, Extraversion, Conscientiousness, Agreeableness, and Openness to experience. It also measures 10 aspects, two per factor. Items are answered on a 5point Likert scale, ranging from 1= ‘Strongly disagree’ to 5 = ‘Strongly agree’.

ii. Adolescent Pre-occupation with Screens Scale, modified (Hunter et al., 2017; AT1) 

This 21-item self-report scale assesses potential preoccupation with screen use across a broad range of screens and screen-based activities in non-clinical settings. The items are scored on a 5-point Likert scale, ranging from 1= ‘Never’ to 5 = ‘Always’. The scale has been modified for adult use by changing the word ‘parents’ to ‘family and friends’. The word ‘screens’ has been replaced with a more specific criteria, ‘social media’. 

iii. HEXACO Personality Inventory (Lee & Ashton, 2004; AT2)

This 100-item inventory measures the six factors of Honesty-humility, Emotionality, Extraversion, Agreeableness, Conscientiousness, and Openness. It also measures the facets that underpin each factor. Items are answered on a 5-point Likert scale, ranging from 1= ‘Strongly Disagree’ to 5 = ‘Strongly Agree’

iv. The International Cognitive Ability Resource (ICAR; Condon & Revelle, 2014; AT2)

The ICAR is a public-domain assessment of cognitive ability. Items assess a range of cognitive domain including (but not limited to) matrix reasoning, letter and number series, vocabulary, abstract reasoning, situational judgement, and three-dimensional rotation. 

v. Social media usage items (AT1)

Individual items were used to assess the social media platforms that participants had used in the previous three months. The platforms included Twitter, Facebook, Tik Tok, Instagram, and YouTube. Participants were asked to rate their frequency and duration of use for each platform they had accessed. 

vi. Positive and Negative Affect Schedule (Watson, Clark, & Tellegen, 1988; AT1)

The PANAS is a 20 item self-report scale where respondents rate their feelings and emotions over the past week. Items are scored on a 5-point Likert scale, ranging from 1= ‘Very slightly or not at all’ to 5 = ‘Extremely’

1.4 Assessment criteria

The assessment criteria will be posted in the assignment folder of Cloud Deakin. The criteria are generic lab report criteria, designed to ensure that the guidance you get in all units is the same. Broadly, your Lab Report will be evaluated according to:

  1. How well your abstract provides a concise but meaningful description of the study.
  2. How well you build a string rationale for your study, and how it addresses a problem or gap in the literature. 
  3. How well your method section describes what was done to answer the research question.
  4. How well your results section describes how the data were prepared and analysed, as well as what was found. 
  5. How well you interpret and synthesise the results in your discussion, factoring in the aims, hypotheses, and broader literature.
  6. Your overall writing style (i.e. scientific writing).

1.5 Word count 

HPS307 & HPS791

Your Lab Report should be approximately 2000 words. You can be over or under by 10%, but do try to stick to 2000 as much as possible. The title page, abstract, tables and reference list are not included in your word count. In-text citations are counted. Your abstract should be around 200 words. 

HPS791 additional challenge

HPS791 students have the same word limit as HPS307, but you must incorporate an additional hypothesis. Hence, your writing will need to be concise and to the point to cover all of the necessary aspects of the task. 

Both HPS307 & HPS791

At third year level, you will need to increase the number of resources you access from previous years. Keep in mind, that if you go on to 4th year and beyond, the number of resources you need to integrate into your writing jumps pretty significantly, so this is a good chance to hone your research and concise writing skills. There is no minimum number of articles to incorporate, but in order to write a reasonable lab report, you will need to read more widely than the articles provided. Remember, we are not so much looking at how many papers you use, but how you use the papers you choose. 

Limit your search of the literature to the past 5-10 years so that you are not overwhelmed with papers to review.  Many of the papers you find in your search might not be relevant once you read them, so make sure you choose carefully. You can use papers that are older than 10 years if they are seminal resources. That means, if a paper changed the way we understand something or proposed a theory that we still use, it can be cited. For example, Bandura, Piaget, Vygotsky etc. are theorists whose work is still cited despite it being 40-50 years old now. In most cases though, research more than 10 years old is too old (or there is more recent research published). 

Given the word limit, you will not be able to critique each of these fully. However, there will be a few papers that are highly relevant that you should focus on more fully than some of the others. You could consider the similarities between the papers so that you might group them together in some way to discuss them.

Your review should provide a critique of what has been found in the literature to date and the gap or gaps in that literature that your study aims to address.

1.6 Resubmission of Discussion section  

This is an optional step. When your Lab Report is returned to you, your marker will have left lots of actionable feedback. In order to help you develop your research and writing skills, you may choose up to five (5) separate items of feedback to action for an additional point per item (i.e. an additional 5/100)*. If your marker has not been able to identify five items to improve on in your discussion, your work is already at a very high standard. You can still address the points they have raised, however, your marks are capped at the number of points raised. 

Very important: In order for your marker to see the changes you have made, you must use the ‘track changes’ tool on your resubmitted document (instructions for using track changes in the Resubmission Resources folder, under AT1). Resubmitted assignments that do not show the changes that have been made will not be marked (markers are not allocated time to compare documents looking for what has been updated, you must make it very clear for your marker). 

For students who received less than 45/100 for their Lab report, resubmission can be undertaken in order to achieve a maximum score of 50/100 for the task. The resubmission must demonstrate substantial improvements by addressing most, if not all of the marker’s major comments in all sections of the report. 

In order to achieve further marks, you must demonstrate that you have thought about, and actioned, meaningful aspects of your marker’s feedback. Minor formatting and editing issues that are pointed out should be obvious to you, so the following list of minor writing issues can (and should) be corrected, but do not attract points in the resubmission process. 

  1. Punctuation errors.
  2. Spelling errors.
  3. Deletion of text without replacement.
  4. An error that occurs multiple times. If your marker indicates that you have a mistake (e.g. APA formatting error) that occurs throughout your report, you must correct all instances of the error to be awarded the point. 
  5. Replacing an older reference with a newer one without changing the text in the associated paragraph. 
  6. Anything that your marker has denoted with an asterisk (*).

The main thing we hope that you will do is take note of any conceptual feedback that your marker gives you. This is an excellent opportunity to check that your report is on track.   

* Your final score cannot exceed the maximum points available. For example, if your overall score is 96/100 after first marking, you can only be awarded a maximum of four more marks in the resubmission process. 

2. Personality Profile Report—Due Friday 23rd September, 8pm 

This assessment will require you to score and plot your own personality profile data and your other-rater profile data. You will have self and other Big 5 scores (factors and aspects), and self and other HEXACO scores (factors and facets).  We will step you through scoring and plotting your profiles in tutorial time.  

The report will be in short answer format, and questions will relate to aspects of personality testing and the usefulness (or not) of conducting personality assessments. This assessment task is designed to help you develop a sense of the accuracy of personality inventories (you will be able to judge if your profile really reflects who you are), as well as their uses and their limitations.  

HPS791 students will have one additional question to respond to. The additional item will relate to the associations between personality, social media use, and intelligence. 

2.1 Assessment criteria

Your Personality Profile Report will be evaluated according to the rubric supplied in the AT2 folder. Broadly, the assessment pertains to;

  1. Your interpretation and understanding of the scores across the BFAS and HEXACO inventories.
  2. How well you apply critical thinking and reasoning to self-versus-other-rater data which we use to explore the strengths and weaknesses of the inventories.

Given the above discussions, a position on personality testing is provided with rationale and justification to support the perspective.

2.2 Word count

The word limit for this assignment ranges from 1000-1500 words. This is because we know that your profiles are all unique and some people may have more to write about than others; however, this is not meant to be a lengthy piece of work. It is expected that you will be succinct. 

No marks are allocated to formatting or APA style. You can simply answer the questions in a ‘question and answer’ format, however you still must still write well and use full sentences (i.e. no dot points etc.). You are not required to provide in-text citations or a reference list, but it is good practice to acknowledge others’ work if you do happen to include a reference. 

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