Factors Affecting Individual Differences

No two individuals are alike. They differ from each other in many ways. They differ in age, sex, hereditary potential, intelligence, achievement, interests, and aptitudes, needs physical, social, emotional and developmental.
By individual differences we mean physical and behavioural variations, seen in all species including human beings. These differences are causes by heredity and environment. Heredity is determined by genes, chromosomes and cytoplasm. Environment is determined by family, school neighborhood and place of work.

Individual differences are generally measured through psychological test such as intelligence or personality. The differences are generally presumed to be normally distributed in population. Knowledge of individual differences is helpful in clinical work as well as in educational set up.

We have seen different causes of individual differences as:

  • Difference in Growth Rate
  • Difference in Socio-Economic Backgrounds
  • Interaction of Heredity and Environment
  • Physiological Differences
Let us see several factors affecting individual differences.

Factors Affecting Individual Differences

A well-planned lesson does not teach all students with equal effectiveness. Usually, however, you soon see that this is natural. One manifestation of the difference among students is that they seldom learn at the same rate. Differences in rates of learning are based on differences in intelligence, background, experience, interest, desire to learn, and countless psychological, emotional, and physical factors. You must recognize that students are different. You must recognize that this fact dictates how much you can teach, at what rate, and when.

The major factors that influence individual differences in behavioural patterns are personality, demographic factors, abilities and skills, perception, attitudes and perception. Let us discuss them and they are as follows:

  1. Personality: Personality can be defined as the study of the characteristics and distinctive traits of an individual, the inter-relations between them and the way in which a person responds and adjusts to other people and situations. The several factors that influence the personality of an individual are heredity, family, society, culture and situation. It implies to the fact that individuals differ in their manner while responding to the environment. Personality can be regarded as the most complex aspect of human beings that influences their behaviour in big way. It can be concluded that the study of personality traits offers an opportunity to understand the individuals. It helps them properly in directing their effort and motivating them for the accomplishment of the goal. It refers to the fact that different environmental factors may generate different responses. The study of these responses is very important.
  2. Demographic Factors: The demographic factors are socio economic background, education, nationality, race, age, sex, etc. The study of demographic factors is significant as it is one of the factors influencing Individual differences. 
  3. Abilities and Skills: The physical capacity of an individual to do something can be termed as ability. Skill can be defined as the ability to act in a way that allows a person to perform well. The individual behaviour and performance is highly influenced by ability and skills. A person can perform well if his abilities and skills are matched with the work requirement. 
  4. Attitude: According to psychologists, attitude can be defined as a tendency to respond favourably or unfavourably to certain objects, persons or situations. The factors such as family, society, culture, peers and organisational factors influence the formation of attitude. Individuals can perform better if they form a positive attitude.
  5. Perception: The cognitive process meant for interpreting the environmental stimuli in a meaningful way is referred to as perception. Every individual on the basis of his/her reference can organize and interpret environmental stimuli. There are many factors that influence the perception of an individual. The study of perception plays important role. Individuals can likely to perform better if they are going to perceive it in a positive way.


No two individuals are exactly same. Individual differences are characteristics of all individual organisms. There are several factors affecting the individual differences such as personality, demographic factors, abilities and skills, perception, attitudes and perception.
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