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In many ways, it is the "classic" psychology that the general public refers to - it refers the psychology of the person - the psychological differences between people and their similarities. Plato stated more than 2000 years ago: “No two persons are born exactly alike; but each differs from the other in natural endowments, one being suited for one occupation and the other for another.” Individual difference psychology examines how people are similar and how they differ in their thinking, feeling and behaviour. No two people are alike, yet no two people are unlike. So, in the study of individual differences we strive to understand ways in which people are psychologically similar and particularly what psychological characteristics vary between people. The science of psychology studies people at three levels of focus captured by the well known quote: “Every man is in certain respects (a) like all other men, (b) like some other men, (c) like no other man" (Murray, H.A. & C. Kluckhohn, 1953). Individual differences psychology focuses on this second level of study. It is also sometimes called Differential Psychology because researchers in this area study the ways in which individual people differ in their behavior. This is distinguished from other aspects of psychology in that although psychology is ostensibly a study of individuals, modern psychologists often study groups or biological underpinnings of cognition. For example, in evaluating the effectiveness of a new therapy, the mean performance of the therapy in one group might be compared to the mean effectiveness of a placebo (or a well-known therapy) in a second, control group. In this context, differences between individuals in their reaction to the experimental and control manipulations are actually treated as errors rather than as interesting phenomena to study. This is because psychological research depends upon statistical controls that are only defined upon groups of people. Individual difference psychologists usually express their interest in individuals while studying groups by seeking dimensions shared by all individuals but upon which individuals differ. Importance of Individual Differences The study of individual differences is essential because important variation between individuals can be masked by averaging. For example, a researcher is interested in resting metabolic rate in humans. The researcher gathers a sample of men, women, and children, measures their metabolic rate and gets a single average. The researcher then tells the whole population that they should be eating 1,900 calories a day. What's wrong with this study? The researcher has neglected individual differences in activity level, body size, sex, age, and other factors that influence metabolic rate. The average reported based on the results is masking multiple dimensions that should be used to determine daily caloric intake. Therefore, his or her conclusions are misleading if not outright false. This is an
g. There are few remaining "differential psychology" programs in the United States. and emotion unique to an individual. the ego. while motives serve to satisfy needs that are not directly tied to the body requirements. such as the need to remove the physiological deficiency of hunger or thirst. industrial psychology. such as hunger. concept formation. including educational psychology. in psychology. although research in this area is very active.. Motivation has long been a central subject of study in psychology. In this view human drives serve to satisfy biological needs.. motivation Factors within a human being or animal that arouse and direct goal-oriented behaviour. Sigmund Freud asserted that the human mind could be divided into three significant components—the id. IQ. and social psychology programs. but it illustrates the problems that can arise by averaging across groups. Motives are sometimes classed as deficiency motives. words and abstract symbols. eduction of relations and . motivation. self-efficacy. such as companionship. Current researchers are found in a variety of applied and experimental programs. mental manipulation of memories. purposive responses to novel or changing situations. inference. leading to goal-directed behavior. A number of theories have attempted to explain human personality. unstereotyped. Learned motives are sometimes linked with drives. the patterns of behavior. ___________________________________________________________ personality personality. e. Areas of Study Individual differences research typically includes personality. intelligence and ability. motives to attain greater satisfaction and stimulation. and the ways they interact to help or hinder the adjustment of a person to other people and situations. a motive is defined as an innate mechanism modified by learning. and the superego—which work together (or come into conflict) to shape personality. intelligence General mental ability due to the integrative and adaptive functions of the brain that permit complex. images.e. the motivation to achieve social status is often viewed as a derivitive of the sex drive.extreme example to make a point. While a drive is often considered to be an innate biological mechanism that determines the organism's activity (see instinct). motivation. self-concept. In his psychoanalytic interpretation. values. learning. thought. or abundancy motives. Some human activity seems to be best explained by postulating an inner directing drive. i. and self-esteem (to name just a few). in psychology. generalization. the intention of achieving a goal. interests. involving discrimination.
and problem solving. Although there remains a strong tendency to view intelligence as a purely intellectual or cognitive function. selfesteem or self-worth includes a person's subjective appraisal of himself or herself as intrinsically positive or negative to some degree. in psychology. The term "self-esteem" is one of the oldest concepts in psychology. Studies done on families. generalizing. Raymond Cattell argued that intelligence can be separated into two fundamental parts: fluid ability and crystallized ability. Howard Gardner maintained (1985) that intelligence is comprised of seven components: musical. particularly among identical twins and adopted children. classifying. Early investigations into intelligence assumed that there was one underlying general factor at its base (the g-factor). while crystallized intelligence is the information and skills that are acquired through experience in a cultural environment. the general mental ability involved in calculating. Karen Horney asserted that low self-esteem leads to the development of a personality that excessively craves approval and affection and exhibits an extreme desire for personal achievement. Guilford tried (1982) to show that there are 150 different mental abilities that constitute intelligence. low self-esteem leads people to strive to overcome their perceived inferiorities and to develop strengths or talents in compensation. the French psychologist. According to Alfred Adler's theory of personality. storing and retrieving information.n psychology. but they have also suggested that environment is a critical factor in determining the extent of its expression. and adjusting to new situations. defined intelligence as the totality of mental processes involved in adapting to the environment. reasoning. linguistic. Alfred Binet.correlates. spatial. and intrapersonal. is responsible for an individual's level of intelligence. It is generally accepted that intelligence is related to both heredity and environment. learning quickly. interpersonal. heredity and environment. have shown that heredity is an important factor in determining intelligence. For instance. controversy regarding intelligence has centered primarily around how much of each factor. reasoning. P. having been first coined by American psychologist and philosopher William James in 1890. children reared in orphanages or other environments that are comparatively unstimulating tend to show retarded intellectual development. bodilykinesthetic. J. basic reasoning skill. Family relationships during childhood are believed to play a crucial role in its development. perceiving relationships and analogies. self-esteem Sense of personal worth and ability that is fundamental to an individual's identity. It is one's . In recent years. Parents may foster self-esteem by expressing affection and support for the child as well as by helping the child set realistic goals for achievement instead of imposing unreachably high standards. Other psychologists have further divided intelligence into subcategories. using language fluently. but later psychologists maintained that intelligence could not be determined by such a simplistic method. logical-mathematical. Fluid ability is considered innate. considerable evidence suggests that intelligence has many facets. intelligence.
"I believe I am a good writer. psychological. whereas self efficacy relates to a person’s perception of their ability to reach a goal. These components and attributes can each be condensed to the general concepts of self-image and the self-esteem. Self-esteem involves both self-relevant beliefs (e. which is the power to produce an effect (in essence. Finally. most people don’t invest much of their self esteem in this activity. For example.. Self esteem relates to a person’s sense of self-worth. In addition. In Rogers' view. confidence/caution). but this wouldn’t need to affect their selfesteem. the self is the central ingredient in human personality and personal adjustment.. self-efficacy Self-efficacy is the belief that one has the capabilities to execute the courses of actions required to manage prospective situations. "I am liked/disliked") and associated selfrelevant emotions (e. Three commonly studied types of self-efficacy beliefs are * Self-Regulatory Self-Efficacy: ability to resist peer pressure. and feel proud of myself in general").. and social attributes. "I am competent/incompetent". Unlike efficacy.. It also finds expression in behavior (e. self-esteem can be specific to a particular dimension (e. self-efficacy is the belief (whether or not accurate) that one has the power to produce that effect.g. He also believed that in every person there is a tendency towards self-actualization and development so long as this is permitted and encouraged by an inviting environment . beliefs and ideas. engage in leisure time activities * Academic SelfEfficacy: ability to do course work. They would likely have a poor efficacy in regard to rock climbing.. developing out of interpersonal relationships and striving for consistency. habits. meet expectancies Self-concept or self-identity is the mental and conceptual awareness and persistent regard that sentient beings hold with regard to their own being. be assertive. By far the most influential and eloquent voice in self-concept theory was that of Carl Rogers (1947) who introduced an entire system of helping built around the importance of the self.mental perception of his qualities. Rogers described the self as a social product.g. assertiveness/timorousness. He maintained that there is a basic human need for positive regard both from others and from oneself. regulate learning activities. Components of a being's self-concept include physical.000 articles. and can be influenced by its attitudes.It is important here to understand the distinction between self esteem and self efficacy. "I believe I am a good person. pride/shame). say a person is a terrible rock climber. triumph/despair. and feel proud of that in particular") or global in extent (e. self-esteem is the third most frequently occurring theme in psychological literature and over 25. avoid high-risk activities * Social Self-Efficacy: ability to form and maintain relationships. self-esteem can be construed as an enduring personality characteristic (trait self-esteem) or as a temporary psychological condition (state self-esteem).g. not physical features. In addition.g. and books refer to the topic.Types of self efficacy:One can have self-efficacy beliefs about any human endeavor. competence).g. chapters.
on the basis of internally chosen options. moral . religious or social beliefs and values) * Innate (inborn values such as reproduction and survival. right or wrong. such as a plant that might be found to have medicinal value in the future. and can be both processes or goals. pleasing) * Doctrinal (political. rather. opinion and ideas. values themselves cannot be proved correct or incorrect. Second. virtue . ideological. Third. Values develop out of our direct experiences with people who are important to us.impermissible) * Aesthetics (beautiful. Clash of differing Values: If an individual expresses a value which is in conflict with their society's norms. Characteristics: Values are implicitly related to a degree of behavioural freedom or autonomy by human beings. right . If a statement can be proven true or false. imprisonment can result from conflict with social norms that have been established as law. Notice that values do not involve external. values define what is right and what is wrong. values are developed early in life and are very resistant to change. outside standards to tell right or wrong. or something left for the next generation. permissible . In this case those participants share a culture. the society can carry out various ways of stigmatizing or conforming the individual. values imply the (conscious) prioritising of different behavioural alternatives which are perceived to be possible for the individual. * Potential/option . then it cannot be a value. Values can apply to groups (such as 'American values') or individuals (religious values). Thus. * Ethics (good . Values rise not out of what people tell us. democracy is both a process. ugly.the value of something that's known to be only potentially valuable. values steer or guide the person.vice. attention .immoral . regardless of any evidence or lack thereof.amoral. good or bad are intrinsic. unbalanced. Integrity in the application of a "value" ensures its continuity and this continuity separates a value from beliefs. For example. valid or invalid. even when an individual participant's cultural values might not entirely agree with some normative values sanctioned in the larger society.includes the value based on something never used or seen. and a goal. In example.wrong. wrong. They guide and mold our options and behavior. but as a result how they behave toward us and others. Values tell what we should believe. Societies have values (norms) that are largely shared among many of the participants. Value System A value system is the ordered and prioritized set of values (usually of the ethical and doctrinal categories described above) that an individual's culture upholds.bad. a controversial category) * Non-use/passive . Values are our subjective reactions to the world around us. First.Values Each individual has certain underlying values that contribute to their value system (see value in semiotics).Virtues:A virtue is a character trait which is evaluated as being good. Values have three important characteristics. particularly our parents.
” while a score below 70 is considered to reflect mental impairment or mental retardation. the act or state of applying the mind to an object of sense or thought.” whose physical correlates include changes in the voltage potential of the cerebral cortex and in the electrical activity of the skin. superior. multiplied by 100. who emphasized active selection of stimuli. Psychologists today consider attention against a background of “orienting reflexes” or “preattentive processes. distinguishing between broad and restricted fields of awareness. and muscular tightening. and about cultural and class bias in test construction and standardization procedures. who noted the role attention plays in activating conditioned reflexes. but use of the concept of mental age has been largely discontinued. Intelligence tests have provoked great controversy. An IQ between 90 and 110 is considered average. The IQ was originally calculated using the ratio of a person's “mental age” (as measured by a standardized test) and chronological age. . Watson sought to define attention not as an “inner” process but rather as a behavioral response to specific stimuli. A score above 130 is considered to reflect “giftedness. See also attention deficit disorder.In psychology. and Ivan Pavlov. increased cerebral blood flow. and IQ is now generally assessed on the basis of the statistical distribution of scores. The most widely used intelligence tests are the Stanford-Binet test (1916). John B. pupil dilation. Wilhelm Wundt was perhaps the first psychologist to study attention. for children. The IQ was originally computed as the ratio of a person's mental age to his or her chronological (physical) age. over 120. IQ Number intended to represent a measure of relative intelligence as determined by the subject's responses to a series of test problems. and the Wechsler test (1939). He was followed by William James. originally for adults but now also for children. particularly about what kinds of mental ability constitute intelligence and whether IQ adequately represents these abilities.