6 Important Characteristics by Which People Differ (According to Psychologists)
Some motor mechanics quickly find out what is wrong with a car while others take much longer. Similarly, training benefits some persons more than it benefits others. So we see that there are inter-individual differences in abilities. That is, people differ in the extent to which they possess an ability.
2. Differences in Intelligence:
The abilities which arouse the greatest interest in people go by the name of ‘intelligence’. Intelligence refers to the ability to learn and to utilise what has been learned. It refers to adjusting to new situations and solving new problems.
There are two major approaches to defining intelligence. One group of theories considers it an organisational mental ability and the second group looks at the nature of intellectual processes themselves.
Differences in intelligence greatly affect people’s ability to cope with the demands of society. The intelligence of various individuals clearly vary in kind as well as in amount. Generally speaking, children who are very bright continue to be bright. Children who are very dull continue to be dull throughout their life.
Some important findings with respect of individual differences in intelligence can be summarised as given ahead:
(i) Children coming from higher socioeconomic status are more intelligent because of the stimulating and enriched home environment.
(ii) Urban children are more intelligent as compared to rural.
(iii) There are no sex differences in intelligence but females do better than males on verbal tasks and males surpass females on spatial, numerical and mechanical tasks.
(iv) Intelligence generally declines with age especially among the elderly people. Ageing leads to decline in intelligence.
(v) Some researchers like Jensen and Cyril Burt have found that there are racial differences in Individual, However, their research results are controversial and have lead to heated debates.
3. Differences in Aptitude:
Intelligence is not the only field where we differ from each other; we also differ from each other in fields of aptitudes. Intelligence refers to general ability while aptitude refers to potentialities for specific sensory, motor, mechanical, artistic and intellectual traits. For example, aptitude for music, or aptitude for literature, etc.
The definition of aptitude states that “Aptitude is not whatever we have achieved so far but what we can achieve in future if we get proper training and environment”.
Different individuals have different aptitudes and the degree of different aptitudes within the same person may differ. It means that, as far as aptitude is concerned we have inter-individual and intra-individual differences. A student may have a high aptitude for math’s but a low one for literature and a mediocre aptitude for mechanics.
Many tests of aptitudes have been developed to measure the individual differences in aptitude. The most widely used multiple aptitude battery is the Differential Aptitude Test (DAT), first published in 1947 and then revised in 1963 and 1973. This battery is useful for grades 8 through 12 but can be used for adults also.
GATB (General Aptitude Test Battery) and Flanagan Aptitude Classification Test (FACT) are widely used today for vocational counselling and employee selection, in business and industry. There are many other batteries which are in use like Guilford Zimmerman Aptitude Survey, The Multiple Aptitude Test, etc.
All these different batteries help one to point out individual differences in various aspects among different individuals.
4. Differences in Interest:
We see individuals taking interest in different types of works, educational curriculum or recreational activities. The same individual who is very interested in classical music may not be interested at all in pop music. It means that even intraindividual differences are in existence, along with inter-individual differences, as far as interest is concerned.
Interest is of great significance in any job, type of education, creative work and so on. If a person is not interested in the work he is doing, it certainly affects his achievement level. The knowledge of one’s interest is very important in choosing one’s occupation which occupies the maximum time of one’s life.
Interests change in quality and quantity along with age. The interests of a child are different from the interests of an adult.
Environment has greater influence on interests than on abilities and attitudes. Of course, when a person has a strong aptitude for a particular activity, he is likely to be interested in it. That is why some mechanically-minded persons have interest in mechanical activity. However, in most cases, interest in an activity is due to the influence of environment. A boy may want to take up the work of his father, either because he admires him or because he finds his father’s work interested. The heredity may have nothing to do with it.
5. Differences in Achievement:
The achievement tests usually deal with the school or college subjects at various grades or age levels. The principle objective of achievement lest is to appraise the effects of college instruction or training on the individual. Achievement tests are primarily concerned with the quality and quantity of learning attained in a subject or subjects of study usually after a period of instruction. Achievement tests represent a terminal evaluation of an individual’s performance upon the completion of training or instruction. Such evaluation may be of some use in predicting the future performance of an individual.
Achievement tests can be useful in:
(1) Telling us an individual’s minimum achievement standard,
(2) In selection,
(3) For classification and placement,
(4) In counselling and guidance, and
(5) In assigning grades more objectively and uniformly.
There are many Achievement tests. Some commonly used ones are:
1. The Metropolitan Achievement Test.
2. The Sequential Test of Educational Progress.
With regard to differences in achievement, research studies have shown the following:
(a) Achievement motivation is considerably influenced by child rearing practices and family influences.
(b) Children of professional parents are achievement oriented.
(c) Those belonging to urban areas are more achievement oriented.
(d) There are also sex differences in achievement motivation. Women in our society are less achievement-oriented. Horner has introduced the concept of “fear of success” to explain why women are less achievement oriented. According to Horner, professional success does not always bring social success. It carries fear of social rejection and ridicule. Hence, women fear success.
(e) Personality factors also determine individual differences in achievement. Individuals who have Type, A personality are more achievement oriented as compared those who are not Type A.
6. Differences in Personality:
Individuals also differ in personality. Personality consists of distinctive characteristics, called traits. People differ from one another in personality traits greatly. Some are shy and reserved; others mix easily. Some are cheerful, and others gloomy.