chapter 1 variations in psychological attributes

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  • 1.Chapter 1: Variations in Psychological Attributes Individual Difference: For psychologists, individual differences refer to distinctiveness and variations among peoples characteristics and behaviour patterns. Variability is a fact of nature. Individuals too vary in terms of physical characteristics- tall, short, thin, fat etc. They also vary in terms of psychological characteristics- like creativity, outgoing or withdrawn, intelligent or dull, dominant or submissive etc. Psychologists have two opinion related to individual differences: Behaviours are influenced by personal traits- own personality, intelligence etc. Behaviours are influenced by situation factors- For e.g.- a person fwho is aggressive may behave submissive in front of his boss. This view is also known as situationism. This believes that situations and circumstances (external factors) plays an important role to influence human behaviour. Assessment of Psychological Attributes: What is assessment? What are different kinds of assessments? Assessment refers to the measurement of psychological attributes of individuals and their evaluation, often using multiple methods in terms of certain standards of comparison. Assessment can be of two types: Informal assessment1

2. Formal Assessment Informal Assessment: It varies from case to case, and from one person to another. This is open to subjective interpretations. When psychologists watch children playing and try to assess behaviour- this would be under informal assessment. Psychological assessment uses systematic testing, procedures to evaluate abilities, behaviours and personal qualities of individuals. Formal Assessment: It is objective, standardized and objective. For e.g.we assess IQ of a child to find out his or her intellectual strengths and weaknesses. MALINs intelligence test is one of the standardized test and can be said to be formal assessment. Q. What are different psychological attributes which are of interest to psychologists? A. Psychological attributes are complex and multi-dimentional. To assess a person, psychologists assess how he/she functions in various domain or areas, such as cognitive, emotional, social etc. The attributes are categorised on the basis of varieties of tests: Intelligence: Intelligence tests measures the cognitive competence. Intelligence is the global capacity to understand the world, to think rationally and use available resources effectively when faced with challenges. Aptitude: Aptitude tests are used to predict what an individual will be able to do if given proper training. For e.g.- a person with high mechanical aptitude can be an automobile engineer with appropriate training.2 3. Interest: Interest is individuals preference towards any activity. Assessment of interests of students may help to decide what subjects to take to pursue any career. Personality: Personality is enduring characteristics of a person that make him/her distinct from others. Personality tests assess whether one is dominant or submissive, moody or emotionally stable etc. Values: Values are enduring beliefs about an ideal mode of behaviour. In value assessment, psychologists try to determine the dominant values of a person (e.g.- political, religious, social or economic) Q. What are different assessment methods? A. The different assessment methods are as follows: 1. Psychological tests: Psychological tests is an objective and standardised measure of individuals mental and/ or behavioural characteristics. There are various kinds of objective and projective tests. 2. Interview: Interview involves seeking information from the person on one-to-one basis. For e.g.- journalists interviews important people on various national or international issues. 3. Case study: Case study is an in-depth study of the individual in terms of his/her psychological attributes, psychological history etc. For case studies, different methods, e.g.- interview, observation, questionnaire, psychological tests etc. are used.3 4. 4. Observation: Sometimes psychologists wants to understand the behavioural phenomenon in natural setting. In this, systematic, organised and objective process are used. The major challenge is subjectivity in interpretation. Certain phenomena such as mother child interaction is easy to observe. 5. Self report: Self report is a method in which a person provides factual information about self or opinions, beliefs etc. he/she holds about anything. In this interview schedule, questionnaire, personal diary or psychological tests are used. Q. How do psychologists characterise and define intelligence? A. Albert Binet was one of the first psychologist who worked on intelligence. He defined intelligence as the ability to judge well, understand well and reason well. Wechsler defined intelligence as the global and aggregate capacity of an individual to think rationally, act purposefully and to deal effectively with his/her environment. Gardner and Sternberg suggested that an intelligent individual not only adapts to the environment, but also actively modifies or shapes it. The Oxford dictionary explains intelligence as the power of perceiving, learning, understanding and knowing. Thus, we can say that an intelligent person would have certain attributes, like mental alertness, ready wit, quickness in learning and ability to understand relationships. Q. What are the different theories of intelligence? A. Theories can be classified as: 4 5. 1. Psychometric approach/ structural approach 2. Information processing approach.The Psychometric approach considers intelligence as an aggregate of abilities. The Information processing approach describes the processes people use in intellectual reasoning and problem solving. In this, the focus is on how an intelligent person acts.Some representations of these theories (Psychometric approach) are: Uni-or one factor theory of intelligence- Binet Two factor theory- Charles Spearman in 1927 Theory of Primary Mental abilities- Louis Thurston Hierarchical model of intelligence- Arthur Jensen Structure of Intellect Model- J.P. GuilfordUni or One Factor Theory of Intelligence: Binet conceptualised intelligence as consisting of one similar set of abilities which can be used for solving any or every problem in an individuals environment.5 6. Two Factor Theory: In 1927, Charles Spearman proposed two factor theory of intelligence. Here he employed a statistical method called factor analysis. He mentioned intelligence consists of: General Factor (g-factor) Specific factor (s-factor) In excellent singers, architects, scientists, athletes, who may be high on g-factor, their s-factor (specific abilities) are also high in their respective domains.Theory of Primary Mental Abilities: After Charles Spearman, Louis Thurston proposed this theory. He suggested that intelligence consists of seven primary abilities, each of which is relatively independent of the others. These primary abilities are: Verbal comprehension (grasping meaning of words, concepts and ideas). Numerical abilities (speed and accuracy in numerical and computational skills). Spatial Relations (Visualizing pattern and forms). Perceptual speed (speed in perceiving details). Word Fluency (using words fluently and flexibly). Memory (accuracy in recalling information).6 7. Inductive Reasoning (deriving general rules for presented facts).Hierarchical model of intelligence: Arthur Jensen proposed this model. He mentioned intelligence consists of abilities that operates at 2 levels: Level Iii. Level IILevel I: This is the associative learning in which output is more or less similar to input (e.g.- Rote learning and memory)Level II: This is called cognitive competence. This involves higher-order skills as they transform the input to produce an effective output (creating story with help of picture).Structure of Intellect Model: This was proposed by J.P. Guilford. He classified intellectual traits among 3 dimensions: Operations Contents Products7 8. Operations: What the respondent does- cognition, memory, recording, memory retention, divergent production, convergent production and evaluation. Contents: Refers to the nature of materials or information on which the operations are performed (visual, auditory, symbolic- e.g.- letters, numbers; semantic- e.g.- words; behaviour- e.g.- information about peoples behaviour, attitudes, needs etc.) Products: Refers to the form in which information is processed by the respondent. Products are classified intoUnits b. Classes e. Transformationsc. Relations d. Systems f. Implications6 X 5X 6 categories. So has 180 cells. Each cells- has at least one factor or ability. Some cells have more than one factor. Each factor is described in terms of all 3 dimensions.Q Explain the theory of Multiple Intelligence. (Information Processing Approach) A. Howard Gardner proposed the theory of multiple intelligence. According to him, there are 8 types of intelligence which interact and work together to find a solution to a problem. But they are independent of each other. The 8 types are:8 9. 1. Linguistic: It is the capacity to use language fluently to express ones thinking and understand others. Persons high on this intelligence are word-smart. Poet and writers are very strong on this component of intelligence. 2. Logical-Mathematical- (scientific thinking and problem solving)People with this intelligence engage in abstract reasoning, can think logically and critically, can solve mathematical problems effectively. Scientists and Nobel Prize winners are likely to be strong in this component. 3. Spatial (Skills in forming, visual images and patterns)- The person high on this intelligence can easily represent spatial world in their mind. Pilots, sailors, sculptors, painters, architects, interior decorators and surgeons are high on this intelligence. 4. Musical (Sensitivity to musical rhythms and patterns)- People high on this intelligence are very sensitive to sounds and vibrations, and in creat


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