Individual Diffrence and Differential Psychology

Individual Diffrence and Differential Psychology - To...

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To appear in Handbook of Individual Di ff erences Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic, Adrian Furnham and Sophie von Stumm (Eds.) This version is the final, as submitted version and will di ff er from the published version. Individual Di ff erences and Di ff erential Psychology: A brief history and prospect William Revelle Joshua Wilt David M. Condon Northwestern University Di ff erential psychology has been a central concern to philosophers and psychologists, both applied and theoretical, for the past several millennia. It remains so today. The proper study of individual di ff erences integrates methodology, a ff ective and cognitive science, genetics and biology. It is a field with a long history and an exciting future. We review some of the major questions that have been addressed and make suggestions as to future directions. This handbook is devoted to the study of indi- vidual di ff erences and di ff erential psychology. To write a chapter giving an overview of the field is challenging, for the study of individual di ff erences includes the study of a ff ect, behavior, cognition, and motivation as they are a ff ected by biological causes and environmental events. That is, it in- cludes all of psychology. But it is also the study of individual di ff erences that are not normally taught in psychology departments. Human factors, di ff er- ences in physical abilities as diverse as taste, smell, or strength are also part of the study of di ff eren- tial psychology. Di ff erential psychology requires a general knowledge of all of psychology for people (as well as chimpanzees, dogs, rats and fishes) dif- fer in many ways. Thus, di ff erential psychologists do not say that they are cognitive-psychologists, social-psychologists, neuro-psychologists, behav- ior geneticists, psychometricians or methodologists, for although we do those various hyphenated parts of psychology, by saying we study di ff erential psy- chology, we have said we do all of those things. And that is true for everyone reading this handbook. We study di ff erential psychology. Individual di ff er- ences in how we think, individual di ff erences in how contact: William Revelle [email protected] Draft version of May 18, 2010 we feel, individual di ff erences in what we want and what we need, individual di ff erences in what we do. We study how people di ff er and we also study why people di ff er. We study individual di ff erences. There has been a long recognized division in psychology between di ff erential psychologists and experimental psychologists ( Cronbach , 1957 ; H. J. Eysenck , 1966 ), however, the past 30 years has seen progress in integration of these two approaches ( Cronbach , 1975 ; H. J. Eysenck , 1997 ; Revelle & Oehleberg , 2008 ). Indeed, one of the best known experimental psychologists of the 60’s and 70’s ar- gued that “individual di ff erences ought to be consid- ered central in theory construction, not peripheral” ( Underwood , 1975 , p 129). However, Underwood ( 1975 ) went on to argue (p 134) that these individ- ual di ff erences are not the normal variables of age,
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