Pub. date: 2007 | Online Pub. Date: September 15, 2007 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412952651 | Print ISBN: 9781412924702 | Online ISBN: 9781412952651| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Rose Mary Webb & David Lubinski
Individuals differ from one another behaviorally in myriad ways. Differential psychology , the scientific study of these individual differences, provides an organizational structure for this vast array of psychological attributes. By examining broad behavioral patterns and using systematic assessments of relatively stable personal attributes, differential psychology allows longitudinal forecasting of a variety of important life outcomes. Because much of the research in this area focuses particular attention on predicting long-term life outcomes, and because work is such a large and important feature of adult life, the relationships between many commonly investigated individual difference constructs and various aspects of work behavior (e.g., educational-vocational choice, acquisition of job-related knowledge, job performance, job satisfaction and tenure) are well understood. Traditionally, the measurement of individual differences has relied on psychometric scales based on the aggregation of many items. Because any single item on a scale represents only a sliver of information about a personal ...