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We are not all the same..


Lots of research looks at the typical or average person But what about unusual people? Psychologists of individual differences study what makes people DIFFERENT

What makes us unique?

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PERSONAL QUALITIES Personality Intelligence Moral values Mental health GROUP IDENTITIES Race Culture Gender

Meaning of individual difference


According to the dictionary of education: Individual differences stand for the variation or deviations among individuals in regard to a single characteristic or number of characteristics. It stand for those differences which in their totality distinguish one individual from another. So we can say that individual differences is the differences among humans that distinguish or separate them from one another and makes one as a single unique individual.

Individual difference

Individual differences are the variations from one person to another on variables such as self esteem, rate of cognitive development or degree of agreeableness.

Individual difference

Individual differences are the differences in personality, attitudes, physiology, learning or perceptual processes, etc., that account for variation in performance or behavior.


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Following are the types of individual differences Differences in Interest

Interest may refer as a motivating force that impels us to attend to a person, a thing, or an activity. So in educational field differences in interest means you observe some students like a particular subject, teacher, hobby or profession than other.

Difference in Attitude
Difference in attitude is psyche related to some thing. Few learners have positive attitude towards a specific topic, subject, and profession than other. The role of education in society is to develop positive attitude.

Difference in Values
Values are the things that are given importance by an individual. Some learners value materialist life style other moral or religious life style etc. So education must mould the mind of young generation to have a balance values between materialism and spiritualism.

Study Habits
It is clearly observable that some students markedly differ from other students in study habits. Some students are studious and study all the subjects with interest but other may not. Some study in isolation and some in group.

Difference in Psychomotor Skills

This is a type of individual differences Psychomotor Skill is related to some skill acquisition. Some students differ in this area also. Some students like football, other cricket, etc. Some students easily learn operating a machine and some may not. A wise teacher should diagnose students psychomotor skills abilities and encourage them in that direction.

Difference in Self Concept

Difference in self concept is the totality of attitudes, judgment, and values of an individual relating to his behavior, abilities, and qualities. So some students have positive self concept than boost their confidence level and perform better against those who have negative self image.


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The followings are the main causes of individual differences: 1. Hereditary (Nature) Individuals have various endowments, abilities, and capacities provided by hereditary. Hereditary also put limits upon individuals growth and development in various dimensions. Hereditary also contributes to sex, intelligence, and other specific abilities. 2. Environment (Nurture) Environment also plays key role in individual differences. Individual differences occur on the basis of simulation received by individual from his or her internal and external environment. This may include family set up, peer group, economic status, education etc.

Why Individual Differences Are Important?


Individual differences have a direct effect on behavior People who perceive things differently behave differently People with different attitudes respond differently to directives People with different personalities interact differently with others.


Dimensions of individual difference

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Self concept Intelligence Personality Abilities Personal values and ethics


Self Concept

The term self-concept is a general term used to refer to how someone thinks about or perceives themselves. The self concept is how we think about and evaluate ourselves. To be aware of oneself is to have a concept of oneself.



Baumeister (1999) provides the following self concept definition: "the individual's belief about himself or herself, including the person's attributes and who and what the self is".


Lewis (1990) suggests that development of a concept of self has two aspects:

(1) The Existential Self This is the most basic part of the self-scheme or selfconcept; the sense of being separate and distinct from others and the awareness of the constancy of the self (Bee 1992). The child realizes that they exist as a separate entity from others and that they continue to exist over time and space


(2) The Categorical Self Having realized that he or she exists as a separate experiencing being, the child next becomes aware that he or she is also an object in the world.


Carl Rogers(1959) believes that the self concept has three different components:
The view you have of yourself (Self image) How much value you place on yourself (Self esteem or self-worth) What you wish you were really like (Ideal self)



Dictionary definition The ability to use memory, knowledge, experience, understanding, reasoning, imagination and judgement in order to solve problems and adapt to new situations. AllWords Dictionary, 2006 The ability to learn, understand and make judgments or have opinions that are based on reason Cambridge Advance Learners Dictionary, 2006


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Psychologist definitions Intelligence is not a single, unitary ability, but rather a composite of several functions. The term denotes that combination of abilities required for survival and advancement within a particular culture. A. Anastasi An intelligence is the ability to solve problems, or to create products,that are valued within one or more cultural settings. H. Gardner [ 18

The ability to carry on abstract thinking. L. M. Terman

A global concept that involves an individuals ability to act purposefully, think rationally, and deal effectively with the environment. D. Wechsler


Is a single definition possible?

If we scan through the definitions pulling out commonly occurring features we find that intelligence is: A property that an individual agent has as it interacts with its environment or environments. Is related to the agents ability to succeed or profit with respect to some goal or objective. Depends on how able to agent is to adapt to different objectives and environments.


The term personality is derived from the Latin word persona meaning a mask. Personality is a patterned body of habits, traits, attitudes and ideas of an individual as these are organized externally into roles and statuses and as they relate internally to motivation, goals and various aspects of selfhood.



According to Robert Park and Earnest Burgess Personality is the sum and organization of those traits which determine the role of the individual in the group.
Personality is the dynamic organization within the individual of those psychophysical systems that determine his unique adjustments to the environment. (1937) Allport 22

Summarization of definitions

In brief it can be said: Personality is not related to bodily structure alone. It includes both structure and dynamics. Personality is an indivisible unit. Personality is neither good nor bad. Every personality is unique Personality refers to persistent qualities of the individual. It expresses consistency and regularity. Personality is acquired. Personality is influenced by social interaction. It is 23 defined in terms of behavior.


Abilities = stable and enduring "hardware" which enable people to be successful at some skills and unsuccessful at others :visual acuity, body configuration, IQ (verbal vs. numeric),reaction, speed, manual dexterity, kinesthetic, sensitivity.

Abilities Versus Skills

Abilities are not skills Abilities are genetically determined, unmodified by practice, few in number, underlie skill Skills developed by practice, modified by practice, many in number, depend on abilities abilities plus practice > abilities or practice



Ability is a persons existing capacity to perform the various mental or physical tasks needed for a given job. It includes relevant knowledge and skills. Intellectual Ability is the capacity to do mental activities. Intelligence contains four subparts: cognitive, social, emotional, and cultural. Groups of Mental abilities (L.L.Thurston)



Verbal factor (V)-Comprehension of verbal relations, words and ideas. Spatial factor (S)-Involved in any task in which the subject manipulates an object imaginatively in space. Numerical factor (N)-Ability to do numerical calculations rapidly and accurately. Memory factor (M)-Involves the ability to memorize quickly.


Word fluency factor (W)-Involved whenever the subject is asked to think of isolated words at a rapid rate. Inductive reasoning factor (RI)-The ability to draw inferences or conclusions on the basis of specific instances. Deductive reasoning factor (RD)- is the ability to make use of generalized results. Perceptual factor (P)- is the ability to perceive objects accurately. Problem solving ability factor (PS)- is the ability to solve problem with independent efforts.

Physical Abilities- The capacity to do tasks demanding stamina, dexterity, strength, and similar characteristics. Nine Physical Abilities are: Strength factor
Dynamic- Ability to exert muscle force repeatedly over time. Trunk- Ability to exert muscular strength using the trunk muscles. Static-Ability to exert force against external objects. Flexibility factor External-Ability to move the trunk and back muscles as far as possible. Dynamic-Ability to make rapid, repeated flexing movements. Body coordination-Ability to coordinate the simultaneous actions of different parts of the body. Balance-Ability to maintain equilibrium despite forces pulling off balance. Stamina- Ability to continue maximum effort requiring prolonged efforts over time.

Definition of Ethics

Ethics: Deciding what is right (or what is more right) in a particular situation: determining what ought to be; deciding what is consistent with ones personal or organizational value system.

Some definitions would include: Deciding what is right or wrong, good or bad, just or unjust Making decisions which are consistent with ones value system and the value system of the organization. When encountering the many grey areas in which it is difficult to distinguish right from wrong, there is always an answer that is more right than the others. This is an ethical answer.

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The Five Ps of Ethical Power 1. Purpose: Your objective or intention; a goal. 2. Pride: The sense of satisfaction you receive from your accomplishments, and those individuals of whom you care. 3. Patience: Trust the process! 4. Persistence: Maintaining your commitment and making your actions consistent with your guiding principles. 5. Perspective: The capacity to see what is REALLY important in any situation.

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What is an Ethical Decision One that is related to a specific content; in the same situation, there may be business ethics, educational ethics and personal ethics (one or more of these may be in conflict) One that is best for the organization rather than for the leaders; one that is not self-serving. One that is made in the clear and is consistent with full disclosure. One that is honest and based on facts and is consistent with the spirit of rightness and fair play. One that is consistent with the values and principles for which the organization and institution stand. One that can be defended and supported by ones peers and superiors. One that is made in good faith. One that you could tell your others you honestly feel good about making.


Values are the principles & priorities which help us make decisions on a daily basis.
If you truly value honesty, you will choose to be honest in interactions. If you value family strongly, you will make time in your life for family. If growth is a top value for you, you will make decisions which encourage personal development.

Values are constantly changing & developing throughout our lives


Personal Values

Personal values are the beliefs, principles or ideas that are important to you in your life. Personal values are important because they provide us with a road map for the kind of life we aspire to lead. The more our choices line up with our values, the better we generally feel about ourselves.
Our personal values should play an important role in relationship decisions and actions. They may guide your decisions about... ...the type of partner you want. ...or the types of behaviors you're comfortable with in a relationship.

Personal Values

Personal values are those standards that you set for yourself to live by. Since these values vary by individual, they are "personal" and can include many things. Religion, morals, and ethics play a part in personal values. All personal values are tools to make the individual feel good about his conduct. There is a fine line between ethics and values.

Values are very much personal while ethics is very much societal Ethics is guidelines or rules that are set for a society or an organization rather than for an individual. Values are guiding principles in life and every person has his own value system which helps him in his behavior and action throughout his life. On the other hand, ethics are moral codes of conduct that decide what is wrong and what is right about the behavior of an individual or a group in a society. Values can be universal as well as personal and are actually beliefs a person has that help him behave in a particular manner all his life. Ethics are unwritten code of conduct that are to be followed by an individual or employees in an organization. 36