There are varying traits in human beings that differentiate an individual from another and those differences can also be witnessed in an individual, when being treated with different situations. The individual differences are the differences that define the psychological characteristics of individuals. Individual differences help in defining the characteristics of individuals and distinguish an individual from a group. Some of the individual differences include values, personality traits and intelligence. The study of the differences in individuals and groups is termed as the trait psychology or differential psychology. The study of individual differences is majorly associated with the personality psychologists rather than focusing on the social psychologists. Individual differences are the neither nuisance nor fiction and are the psychological features, which contributes on the behavior of individuals. The understanding and assessment of individual differences may include both applied ad social psychology.
Few of the definitions of individual differences include the statements of Good C.V, Drever James, Skinner, C.E. and Woodworth, R.S. and Marquis, D.G. Drever James define individual differences as the deviation in physical and mental characteristics of individuals and group differences. Good, C.V. defines individual differences as the deviations amongst individual members with respect to the single characteristics and the differential parameters or characteristics, which makes a person unique. Skinner, C.E defines individual differences as the differences that can be measured in the complete personality trait. Woodworth, R.S. and Marquis, D.G. defines individual differences as the mental and physical characteristics, personality, character traits, knowledge, ability and knowledge.
Intra and Inter reflects two prefixes that are commonly implied in language of English. Although, the pronunciation of the two words may sound similar but has significant differences. Both the words are used in the form of prefixes.
The meaning of Inter-individual differences reflects the differences amongst the people. On the other hand, intra-individual differences, which are witnessed in an individual at different time intervals or time period and in varying situations. Some of the examples of inter-individual differences in a group of people are ethnic background, level of attachment, age and gender. Some of the instances of intra-individual differences are efforts and attention. Although, inter and intra individual differences may vary in the context but may reflect similar factors within.
One of the instances of the inter-individual differences can be that some people exert more efforts in a test than others as they have more interest. On the other hand, for the same instance, if the person is assessed multiple times in the similar situation, this would become the instance of intra-individual differences. The inter-individual differences include the practices, which includes comparison and improvements between individuals and groups members. Variability is considered as the most unusual characteristics in human cognition that can be witnessed between individuals and people. Development in individuals and groups can be understood by the knowledge of inter-individual variability. The individual differences reflect two hypotheses. First hypotheses involve the substantial variability with higher degree of cognition. Second hypothesis reflects the people who have the adaptability of alternative approaches, knowledge and task conditions.
One single factor can act as both inter and intra individual difference factor. In order to distinguish between the two, it is therefore necessary to look at the whole situation in great details. A number of researches have been done in order to understand inter individual difference and intra individual variability. Many people from different genders and of different ages underwent an examination. This specific research is termed as the Cortisol Awakening Response. This particular research earned a great response and has segregated the individual differences as per their genders, ages and responses. Cortisol is a kind of hormone that is secreted by the hypothalamic pituitary adrenal gland. This hormone secretion reaches its peak when one wakes up and calms down during the midnight.
The goals of this research are two-fold. It examines the stability and the level of CAR over the first 30 minutes after waking up. The changes in the Cortisol level are recorded and decomposed into inter individual differences and intra individual variability. The differences between the people are interring individual measurements whereas the fluctuations within the individual for the Cortisol level are the intra individual variability.
Adolescent moods can also be determined by using these concepts of individual differences. Intra Individual Analysis helps in understanding whether a change in the mood is because of the social relationship that exists in the society. Inter Individual Analysis on the other hand helps in understanding whether these moods are linked with the quality of this social relationship.