No two individuals are exactly similar Every individual is different from the other. They differ widely in their physical, mental and emotional characteristics. The concept of individual differences got attention by the introduction of psychology in the field of education. Frobel and Madam Montessori emphasized the fact of individual differences.

Now the schools and the teachers are emphasizing more on individual differences as without it optimum development of the children is not possible. The areas of individual differences

1.Physical Differences:

Individual differences in physical size are prominent at the age of puberty. At this age some youngsters are nearly wice as tall and twice as heavy. as others of the same age and ex. Vast differences also exist in physical fitness.

2.Sex Differences:

Cognition and Development Males are taller, heavier and stronger than females. Females become mature earlier. Boys have more mechanical aptitude. Girls have language superiority Boys are good in science, mathematics, games, achievement or brain power. Terman’s sample of 1000 gifted children consisted of 120 boy for every 100 girls.Girl are more emotionally and socially mature. They are more quiet, docile, friendly, sensitive and responsive.

3.Age Differences:

Physical height increases in early age but gradually decreases in late teens while the weight reaches the peak later. The physical competencies decline with age. The muscular strength is maximum at maturity and decreases in old age. The mental functioning als decreases with an increase in age. Learning ability in cer areas remain good till late in life but it falls off rather sharply when the material to be learned conflicts with old habits or evokes motivational resistance.

4.Socio-Economic Differences:

The differences due to social and economic status have been noted, in physical size, mental health, values, attitudes, intellectual and academic status. Of particular importance from the standpoint of later development are socio-economic differences in parental care and child-rearing practices.

5.Intellectual and Academic Differences:

Students have different intellectual and academic potentials. Each child is unique. No two children even with the same IQ, are intellectually equal. The achievements or marks of the student with same IQ will be different.Children start first class in same age, move one class per year, use same text books, same curriculum, face same students but few of all get admissions in medical or engineering colleges. It shows the academic and intellectual differences of the children.


Intelligence is an important area in which individuals differ. Different scholars have defined intelligence in their own styles. This also speaks of individual differences. For example, Binet regarded it as a collection of faculties like judgement’, ‘practical sense’, ‘initiative’ etc. Terman emphasised ‘abstract thinkings’ as the representative factor in intelligence. Some others have equated intelligence to the capacity to learn or the capacity to adjust to the environment. A number of theories have also been put forward to understand the nature of intelligence

7.School Achievement:

The second important area in which individuals differ is school achievement. In our country, the only proof of individual differences in school achievement is obtained from the public examination the result of which is open to all. When the results of various public examinations are made known, we are told that some have passed with distinction, others in first class (marks 60%) or above), still others in second class (50%-60%) and a large number of them have failed. Within the school, this fact is revealed by the house tests or class tests. By and large, standardised tests of achievement are used mostly for the purpose of research.

8.Special Aptitudes and Talents:

Individuals differ in their special aptitudes and talents. Different persons may have different proportions of social skills, mastery of the “subject matter and the way of present impor to be successful, say, in the area of teaching. The classes of abilities which are usually used. for prediction purpose are:

  • Mental abilities
  • Mechanical and related abilities
  • Psychomotor abilities
  • Visual skills
  • Some special aptitudes such as reading speed, comprehension, vocabulary, perceptual speed, etc.


Individuals differ in their personality make up, too. Personality is an elusive term. Different scholars have attempted to specify personality differences by classifying people into various categories. Glen, Spranger, Kretschmer, Sheldon, to name only a few scholars, have classified people on the basis of body ‘humours’, types, body built up and so on.

10.Interests and Values.

Interests and values are an integral part of one’s personality. The area of interests is of special significance for vocational psycholo s or educational counsellors. It is the knowledge of interests possessed by an individual which can help experts to guide him properly. Individuals do differ in what they value more or less. This is the reason why the teaching of values is receiving increasing attention in schools. No wonder, human behaviour is determined by the value judgements of individuals. A number of tests or scales for the study of values have been made available since 1931 when Allport and Vernon published their text on the study of values. The areas of values mentioned in 1951 revised version of the text are:

  • Theoretical or Scientific interest in discovering truth;
  • Economic or Utilitarian-interest in the practical things which have utility;
  • Aesthetic or Artistic-interest in beauty;
  • Social or Humanitarian -interest in helping others:
  • Political or power seeking-interest in seeking power;
  • Religious or spiritual-interest in supernatural.

11.Special abilities.

During the junior and senior high school as well as the college stage, the individual differences in respect of special abilities in Addition to the general intelligence are also important since special professions and specialised fields of vocations all need certain specific abilities. Abilities of this kind are concerned with mental, artistic, personality or motor ability

12.Differences of Background.

In school, the differences/that the children exhibit are outcome of their different families and their communities. Attitudes towards education and authority differ in each family, culture and class. Some of these attitudes are favourable while others are unfavourable to education. In either condition, the difference of attitudes results in differences among children. Besides these attitude, the child’s emotional, social, aesthetic and moral development is influenced by his family and the neighbouring. Hence differences of background are also manifest in individual differences.

13.Alacrity in Learning.

Difference in the quickness or alacrity in learning is visible not only in children of different ages also among children in the same age group. This difference is dependent upon their maturity and educational background. Differences in the alacrity of learning result in benefits accruing from formal education.

14. Mental age.

Children of differing ages as well as children of the same age show differences in their respective mental ages. Generally speaking, all students studying in the same class differ according to their mental ages. It has been observed that in the age of 6, differences in mental age range upto 5 years. Mental age and education are intimately related. The child’s level of education is determined according to his mental age.

15.Motor ability.

The individual’s movements of the hand and feet and other physical abilities are seen to be very individual to individual as they do not resemble another’s to any great extent. Till the individual attains adulthood, his manual dexterity, rate of muscular movement and resistance to fatigue develops continually. In this manner, the some individual in different age groups manifests considerable differences in manual dexterity.

16.Sex differences.

Makneiner and Terman discovered the following differences between men and women, on the basis of some studies.

  • Women have greater skill in memory while men have greater motor ability.
  • Female hand writing is superior while men excel in mathematical logic.
  • Women show greater skill in making, sensory distinction of taste, touch, smell, etc, while men show greater reaction and consciousness of size- weight illusion.
  • Possessing greater linguistic ability women are superior to men in languages, similitudes, work building, compositions, and use of long sentences etc. On the other hand, men are superior in physics and chemistry.
  • Women are better than men in mirror drawing. Faults of speech etc. in men were found to be three times of such faults in women.
  • Women are more susceptible to suggestion whilethere are three times as many colour blind men asthere are women.
  • Young girls take interest in stories of bravery, science, war and scouting, stories of games and sports, occupation and skill.

17. Racial difference.

Many Scientific studies have indicated the presence of various kinds of differences between individuals of different races, although differences of environment are a normal factor in causing these differences. Karl Brigham has composed a list on the basis of differences in levels of intelligence among people who have migrated to United States from other countries.

18. Nationality:

Many studies have led to the conclusion that individuals of different nations differ in respect of nature, physical and mental differences, interest and personality, etc. such a difference is only natural since their cultural and geographical environment is distinctive.

Economic Situation: Economic differences are seen causing differences in the children’s interests, tendencies and character etc.

20.Difference in respect of development:

Difference in the development is in evidence not only in individuals of different age groups but also between individuals of the same age.

21.Difference of Interest:

As has been pointed out the difference in sex leads to a difference in interests. Similarly, factors such as background, level of development, differences of nationality and race, etc. cause difference of interests.

23. Personality Classification Based on Differences:

Differences in respect of personally have led psychologists to much study, and on the basis of this study individuals have been classified into many groups. Jung, for example, has divided individuals into three groups (a) Introvert, (b) Extrovert and (c) Ambivert. This is the psychological classification of people. Stephenson has divided human beings into two categories -Preservator and non preservator. In this division. people of the first group are very sensitive and susceptible to experience while people of the second group are not influenced by it to quite that extent. Cattell has put people into the surgent and the surgeless or Non-surget classes. The former is similar to Jung’s extrovert while the surgeless resembles his extrovert indwell. Terman has put people into 9 classes according to their level of intelligence (a) Genius (b) Near Genius, (c) very superior intelligence (d) Superior (e) Average (f) Background (g) Feeble minded (h) Dull (i) Idiot.

Thorndike has divided people into four categories on the basis of thinking, (a) Abstract thinkers (b) ideational thinkers, (c) Object thinkers (a) Thinkers in whom sensory experience is predominant These names indicate the peculiarities of thinking in these individuals.

Concerning these classification of the human personality, it should be remembered that although one specific person may exhibit the main broad characteristics of one class of personality, he cannot be said to belong to only that class of personality as the differences between various personalities are so subtle and minute that it is not scientifically feasible to divide them into classes.

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