2- Individual Differences

  • Created by: livvvx
  • Created on: 13-05-19 22:42

Individual Differences

-Key Theme 1= understanding disorders

-Key Theme 2= measuring differences


  • To understand the human mind and behaviour we must focus on the diffs between people rather than what we have in common. 
  • These individuals diffs can be measures e.g. through psychometric tests
  • Ech persons behaviour is due to; genetics, social experiences and personal qualities.

+= Practical applications as findings are used by psychiatry in modern day, Often contain case studies that are rich in detail and allow researchers in the future to further develop/invetigate the topic

-= Methodology may not be objective and be open to bias e.g. Freud, Unfalsifiable as concepts are usually difficult to test and measure

Gould (1982)


  • Yerkes wanted psychology to be considered a science 
  • Hereditarians hold a belief that heredity is more important than factors such as the env in determining intelligence
  • 'Eugenics'= breeding 'superior' group of people


  • Aim of Gould's article was to reveal the basic problems in attempts to measure intelligence
  • Aim of Yerkes study= devise a scientific way to test the natural trait of intelligence on a mass scale


  • Yerkes- large scale psychometric testing


  • 1.75 million army recruits situated in training camps. 
  • This would've included adult men of diff ages and men from a range of backgrounds and regions across the USA


  • Army Alpha- written test for literate recruits, 8 sections such as filling in missing numbers in sequence, reordering words in sentence and completing analogies.
  • Army Beta- pictorial test for men who were illiterate or who failed the Army Alpha. 7 parts e.g, maze, number tasks, complete picture tasks.
  • Individual Examination- individually spoken test for ps who had failed Army Beta
  • Army psychologists would give a grade to each man, ranging from A-E (with + and -). Yerkes suggested C-= classed as low average intelligence and best suited as ordinary private. Men getting D grade = 'rarely suited for tasks requiring special skills'

-Gould's identified problems with the tests:

  • Rushed/intimidating conditions
  • Qs relting on cultural knowledge and access to formal schooling
  • Discrimination in recall to Beta tests
  • Inconsistances between camps

-Yerkes results:

  • Average mental age of a white American man is around 13 years old
  • Black Americans had a mean mental age of 10.4 years
  • Northern and Western Europeans scored higher than Eastern and Southern Europeans= the average man of many countires would be classes as a moron

-Yerkes conclusions:

  • Intelligence is an innate quality with a hereditary basis. It is possible to grade individuals by the colour of their skin
  • The average man of many nations could be considered a 'moron'
  • Mental testing of this kind is a valid, scientific technique with wider implications for society

-Gould's Conclusion:

  • The Army mental tests were a product of their time and the results were used to further support racist beliefs and practices.

-Internal v

  • Tests were more likely to measure things such as schooling or how long they had been in the country
  • Beta test problems- still required the use of a pencil and…


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