Concept Of Individual Differences

Concept Of Individual Differences


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.