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. Read more about Individual Differences.
Individual Differences Research Topics
Individual differences attributes and the constellations they form differentially attune people to contrasting educational-vocational opportunities (affordances for learning and work). From an individual’s perspective, an appreciation of one’s cognitive abilities, preferences, and personality provide invaluable insight for directing one’s career development in personally rewarding ways. From an organizational perspective, one may use this information—available through measures of individual differences—to estimate the likelihood of desirable work behavior (e.g., citizenship, job performance, satisfaction, and tenure). Creating optimal niches for personal development and satisfaction (for the individual) and meeting the environment’s goals and demands (for the organization) may be achieved simultaneously using an individual differences approach.