Pub. date: 2007 | Online Pub. Date: October 03, 2007 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412956253 | Print ISBN: 9781412916707 | Online ISBN: 9781412956253| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Robert R. McCrae
Individual differences are the more-or-less enduring psychological characteristics that distinguish one person from another and thus help to define each person's individuality. Among the most important kinds of individual differences are intelligence, personality traits, and values. The study of individual differences is called differential or trait psychology and is more commonly the concern of personality psychologists than social psychologists. Individual differences are neither a fiction nor a nuisance; they are enduring psychological features that contribute to the shaping of behavior and to each individual's sense of self. Both social and applied psychology can benefit by taking these enduring dispositions into account. Individual differences in cognitive abilities have been studied since the 19th century, when Sir Francis Galton published Hereditary Genius , and they have continued to occupy the attention of psychologists, including Alfred Binet and David Wechsler, who produced some of the most widely used measures of intelligence. Individual differences ...