Ever wondered why children in the same family are so different from one another?
Why do each one of us have a different opinion on the same issue?
What do couples actually mean when they say that they can’t be together because they are “too different” from each other?
“I love watching Korean dramas but my friend absolutely loathes them” OR “Oh, we are two different peas in a pod”
Some prefer tea while some love coffee. Some enjoy outdoor activities while some find their peace staying indoors. Some are believers while some are atheists. The list of differences can go on. But why are we so different from each other? What makes us vary from one another?
Well, we as humans do differ from each other in various aspects, based on a number of factors. Such can also be called individual differences. Dr. R.K. Suri, best psychologist in west Delhi says that according to the science of psychology, individual differences are nothing but the variations from one person to another, based on variables such as values, morals, self-esteem, and the rate of cognitive development of each individual or the degree of agreeableness. These can be taken as those tiny little bits and pieces that set us apart and make us unique from each other.
These changes are seen in physical forms like height, weight, colour, complexion, strength, difference in intelligence, achievements, interest, aptitude, attitudes, learning habits, motor skills etc. We all have different sources of faith and religion and nature that we follow according to our individual belief systems that vary due to variety of backgrounds we come from, such as caste, race, ethics, gender, colour, culture and so on. Such as, Indians may be considered very peace loving and traditional whereas Americans may be too frank and outspoken in their approach to life in general. Japanese may be workaholics whereas Chinese may be considered a bit harsh and at times cruel in their nature!
Each one of us out here, has his or her own unique set of goals and aspirations to achieve, depending upon individual interests and abilities. Our morals and values in life differ too, due to the type of upbringing we have grown into and the type of thoughts instilled into us, influenced by the surroundings and environment we find ourselves in. The ways in which we react to certain situations in our lives also differ accordingly! Some people are by temperament active and quick, while others can be passive and slow, some humorous or others short tempered!
Dissimilarity is a principle of nature. No two people are alike. We all ultimately differ. Children born of the same parents and even the twins are not alike. Each individual has an intellectual capacity through which he gains experience and learning. Every person has his own unique emotional quotient, his own levels of emotions of love, anger, fear and feelings of pain and pleasure. Emotional stability of an individual is differently affected by his physical, mental and environmental factors. The need for independence, success and acceptance varies from person to person as well. And all such differences together form our individual differences.
Now, there are certain factors that influence these differences. These may include our heredity, i.e. our inherited traits from our parents that explains our unique skin tone, colour, size, shape, or rather the entire structure of our body. Not to mention, that some of our intellectual differences are also determined by hereditary factors to a great extent.
Being a male or a female matters too! Gender has a huge role in determining individual differences as well. It’s due to this sex variation that makes each one of us different from each other in many different ways. For example, usually men are considered strong both physically and mentally. On the other hand, women on a typical average, show greater amounts of superiority over men when it comes to memory, language and aesthetic senses. When put to work, it is observed that women excel men in shouldering equal social responsibilities and may have a better control over their emotions.
Age and Academics also play a major role in determining our differences. People tend to act and change or respond according to their age groups and education levels, that is, the ability to think and react may vary from being very profound and mature to being childish and haughty. But the interesting part here is that, all these basic factors accumulate together in a cluster to form the most influencing aspect for individual differences, which is our personality!
What makes some of us an extrovert while some as introverts? According to Skinner, today we think of individual differences as including any measurable aspects of our total personality. It is clear from this, that individual differences comprehend every aspect of personality which is in some way measurable. Each personality type differs due to the various clusters of individual differences it is made up of. We name some as a Big Five Model which includes extroversion, introversion, neuroticism, agreeableness and openness to experience.
For example, in a classroom, the teacher should first know and study such individual differences and the personalities of his students that determine the difference in their bodily appearance, physique, habits and skills, interests and temperaments, abilities that set each student apart from the other.
This would further help the teacher to understand the uniqueness that each student brings to the class and this will lead to effective teaching based on the students’ needs that results in effective learning. It is an admitted fact that some people are honest, others are dishonest, and some can be aggressive while some can be humble, some are social, others can be lonesome, some are critical and some are sympathetic. Thus, we see that the differences in personality are dependent on personality traits. A teacher like in the example above, should keep in mind these differences while imparting education to students.
Now, in the world of psychology and mental health, these individual differences drive an area of theory and research through techniques like REBT (Rational- emotive behaviour therapy). Although REBT is essentially a cognitive-behavioural theory, it lends itself well to individual differences in considerations of mental health, as it allows us to understand how individuals differ in terms of their approaches to things and through their perceptions and thoughts about the world. It’s how we emotionally respond to something that simply depends on our interpretations, beliefs, views etc. According to the best psychologists in Delhi, this is a challenging form of therapy used to change an individual’s thinking and ultimately to replace any irrational beliefs due to his individual differences with rational alternatives.
We can hence summarize that just like the declaration of Independence by Jefferson proclaims, that we hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal and that they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights, among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Thus, this embraces the philosophy that studying individual differences can help understand how and why humans differ from one another so that we can ensure every individual has an equal opportunity for optimal development.
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