Psychology of Difference
- How did early philosophers or physicians (such and Galen and Hippocrates) explain differences in personality? And, when did a scientific study of personality begin?
- In what ways can people differ from each other? Which of those ways were determined to be significant and worth studying by researchers? Do you think it is more important to study how people differ or to what degree they are the same? Why do you think so?
- How was the first systematic way of measuring intelligence developed? What was the “Binet-Simon-Scale” and what was its approach to measuring intelligence? Do you think it left out anything essential to your idea of intelligence?
- What was J.P. Guilford’s criticism of the “Binet-Simon-Scale” and what measurement criteria did he think needed to be added to it?
- Find an intelligence test online. Take it, and then describe your experience with it. [You need not reveal your score.] Did you understand what each item was trying to measure? Did you think it was valid? What criticism do you have of it.
- Sometimes intelligence tests unintentionally measure things other than intelligence. Read the article at http://www.sciencemag.org/news/2011/04/what-does-iq-really-measure and comment on what intelligence tests may be measuring besides how smart we are.
- Watch the video entitled “Intelligence testing” (below) and comment on how intelligence tests were used for evaluating babies, recruiting soldiers, and for recommending eugenics programs.
- How did Gordon Allport view personality and how did he go about studying it in order to identify personality? He used a variety of innovative methods. What were they? Watch the video (below) with the title “An Introduction to Gordon Allport’s The Nature of Prejudice” and say what you learned about Allport’s insights on how prejudice originates.
- Who was Charles Spearman and what was his “g” (single factor)of general intelligence? How was this criticized by Raymond Cattell and what led to Cattell’s “culture-fair intelligence test”? Find a version of Cattell’s “culture-fair intelligence test” online and try taking it. Then, comment on your experience with it What was controversial about Cattell (read his biography on p. 315)?
- Watch a Ted talk that deals with better results in IQ tests over generations (It has the title “Why our IQ levels are higher than our grandparents'”.) What are the reasons the speaker gives for the gradual generational rise in IQ scores over time? Do you find his arguments persuasive?
- Describe Eysenck’s Model of personality, and its relation to creativity and genius. In your opinion, what makes a genius, a genius?
- Choose two of the following items. Describe them in your own words in detail. Explain why you’re interested in them.
- multiple personality disorder (MPD)
- anti-psychiatrists (e.g., Thomas Szasz)
- Nico Frida’s distinction between “feelings” and “emotions”
- McClelland’s “Three key needs” and workplace performance
It’s not necessary to watch these videos in their entirety, but I think you’ll find them highly interesting and some of them will help you answer the questions more fully.