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BPCC-103: Psychology of Individual Differences

BPCC-103: Psychology of Individual Differences

IGNOU Solved Assignment Solution for 2022-23

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Assignment Code: BPCC-103/Asst /TMA /2022-23

Course Code: BPCC-103

Assignment Name: Psychology of Individual Differences

Year: 2022-2023

Verification Status: Verified by Professor

Assignment One


Answer the following descriptive category questions in about 500 words each. Each question carries 20 marks. 3 x 20 = 60


1. Discuss the behavioural and cognitive theories of personality.

Ans) Behaviourists who focused on behaviour as a taught response through reinforcement, such as Skinner, have questioned Freud's emphasis on internal processes. Therefore, behaviourists believed that learning, which happens through reinforcement patterns, influences personality. The reinforcing effects of an individual's behaviour are said to have an impact on personality, according to Skinner's operant conditioning theory.


He contrasts responsive behaviour with operant behaviour. Respondent behaviour is the behaviour that an environmental stimulus causes to occur. These are automatic behaviours that happen in reaction to a specific stimuli and are not intentional. Opportunistic behaviour and responses, however, alter the environment by acting on it. These modifications have a snowball effect on how the person will react to a specific stimuli in the future. As a result, instrumental behaviour is another name for operant behaviour. It is a choice. In operant behaviour, the reinforcement is connected to the action, not the stimulus.


According to Skinner, reinforcement shapes human behaviour. He suggested using successive approximations or shaping to mould people's personalities and behaviour. It discusses rewarding the desired behaviour progressively, beginning with comparable behaviour and working your way up to the genuine behaviour. A reinforcer is a stimulus that, when delivered after the occurrence of a certain reaction or behaviour, strengthens it.


The reinforcer could be anything good or bad. Positive reinforcement is when you add something enjoyable or desirable, such as when you receive a medal or financial reward after winning a discussion. When something unpleasant or undesired is taken away, this is known as negative reinforcement. For instance, Sonu agreed with his mother that he could play games on his phone if he gave the trash to the person who collects it three times per week.


Skinner's reinforcement programme is based on intermittent reinforcement, which means that the individual does not receive reinforcement each time they exhibit a specific behaviour. Intermittent reinforcement, for instance, is when the rat in Skinner's experiment did not receive reinforcement each time it pressed the bar in the rat cage. Contrarily, continuous reinforcement means receiving the reward each time the response is displayed. The four subtypes of intermittent reinforcement schedules are fixed ratio, fixed interval, variable ratio, and variable interval schedules. The terms ratio and interval both refer to the quantity of responses.


So, in a fixed ratio situation, the reinforcement is given after a predetermined number of responses, such as every third or fifth response. The term "fixed interval" denotes that the reinforcement is supplied at predetermined intervals, such as every five minutes. The number of replies and the amount of time after which reinforcement is given are not constant in variable ratio and variable interval situations. The reinforcement may come after the third response, then the second, the third after the seventh, and so on. The flexible reinforcement schedule has a greater influence on our behaviour.


Learning theories could only explain a small portion of personality, and over time, the significance of social context and cognition in understanding personality came to light. According to Bandura's social learning ideas, our behaviour and personality are shaped by our observation and imitation in social situations. Early learning theories did not consider the social context when explaining behaviour in terms of learning principles. Other publications by Bandura, such as Social Learning and Personality Development, focused on how people interact with their surroundings. Later, in order to emphasise the part played by human cognition in forming personality, Bandura rebranded his social learning theory as social cognitive theory. Other people's behaviour, the social setting, the environment, and one's own thought processes all interact.


2. Explain the psychometric and cognitive approaches to intelligence.

Ans) The cognitive/information processing approach, which focuses on the mechanisms by which the human mind operates, and psychological measurement, also known as psychometrics/structural approach, have been two of the most significant approaches.

Psychometric Approach

It's difficult to say whether intelligence is a singular quality or a group of specialised skills. This might be in part because it includes mental abilities that we are unable to directly observe. Only the individual's observable surface behaviour, such performance on intellectual tests, can be used to infer it. In the psychometric approach, performance is expressed as a single index of cognitive capacities while intelligence is viewed as an amalgam of abilities. It makes an effort to comprehend the fundamental components or structure of intelligence. To identify a smaller number of dimensions, clusters, or factors from a larger collection of independent variables or test items, factor analysis and related approaches are utilised.


Charles E. Spearman, a British psychologist, developed one of the earliest psychometric theories. A two-factor hypothesis of intelligence was put forth by him. Using a statistical method known as factor analysis, Spearman came to the conclusion that intelligence is comprised of two factors: general factor and particular factor, which together account for the individual variations in test scores. The g factor covers mental processes that are fundamental and universal to all feats requiring intelligence. The second element is uniquely relevant to every single test.


Contrary to Spearman, many theories have found that intelligence consists of more than one thing. Thurstone's work served as the foundation for one of the multifactor theories. The hypothesis of primary mental ability was proposed by American psychologist E.L. Thurstone. He discovered seven components, each of which is referred to as the primary mental capacity, after analysing the intercorrelations of 56 mental tests.


These seven skills include:

  1. Verbal understanding.

  2. Fluency of speech.

  3. Mathematical aptitude.

  4. Spatial aptitude.

  5. Deductive thinking

  6. Memory.

  7. Perceptual quickness.


Cognitive Approach

The aforementioned theories make an effort to comprehend intelligence by identifying its constituent pieces. This is one way to comprehend intelligence. Many theorists adopted an alternate perspective to comprehend the idea of intelligence, focusing on intellectual processes, or the patterns of thinking that people use when they reason and solve issues. They are more intrigued by cognitive processes, which centre on how people approach problem-solving and arriving at conclusions. The cognitive theories of intelligence place more emphasis on the processes that underlie an individual's intellect than on the structure of intelligence. For the purpose of comprehending the nature of intelligence, they use the information processing technique. Let's now quickly go over some theories of intelligence that use this methodology.


The significance of cognitive processes in problem solving is emphasised by Robert Sternberg. His information processing model was composed of three different categories of elements:

  1. Knowledge Acquisition Components: It is utilised for learning new facts as well as encoding and comparing information.

  2. Performance Components: Techniques and methods for solving problems are used.

  3. Metacognitive Components: It entails deciding on a plan and keeping track of how cognitive processing is going.


This hypothesis proposes three fundamental categories of intelligence:

  1. Critical and analytical thinking skills are part of consequential or analytic intelligence. IQ scores and college grades reflect it.

  2. The focus of experiential or creative intelligence is on perception and the capacity to create novel ideas. It entails coming up with innovative ways to solve new challenges based on past experiences.

  3. Contextual or practical intelligence places a strong emphasis on the capacity to manage the environmental challenges encountered in daily life. Alternative names for it include street smarts.


3. Explain the differences between Indian and Western psychology.

Ans) Indian and Western psychology have several significant differences.


Human Nature

The traditions concur that, like other animals, humans have particular biological or innate requirements for food, security, sexuality, and sleep. However, a person can conquer or sublimate their fundamental wants, emotions, passions, and desires. S/he has the capacity to actualize and develop amazing abilities that would make her/him into a superhuman person who might be referred to as Divine or God. These people have the ability to transcend space-time boundaries and feel a connection to the cosmos as a whole. That gives them access to knowledge about their fellow humans, animals, as well as what occurs in distant locations on the planet and even parallel universities .


Life and Death

The cycle of life and death is an ongoing process. Every living thing goes through this cycle. Humans go through these cycles again, and physical death is not the end of life energy (jiva). It may continue on its voyage and eventually make its way back to earth in a brand-new body, either right away or after a short or long period of time. Karma is the accumulation of the effects of one's acts over the course of a lifetime, which results in specific tendencies, impressions, and habit patterns. The power that perpetuates the cycle of birth and death is the accumulated karma of many lifetimes. The primary driving force behind our behaviour is karma. However, people have the ability to actively decide to stop this process in a given life stage. It is referred to as moksha, or emancipation. Such liberated humans are revered as Divine Persons and are free to return to this world and aid in the liberation of others.


The Goals and Values of Life – Purushārtha

Four life goals have been acknowledged since ancient times. The biological demands for food, rest, safety, and sex that we have in common with other animals are not these needs. Instead, they are purushrtha, that which humans deliberately decided was worthwhile. Dharma, artha, karma, and moksha are the four. They allude to aspiring to be freed from the cycle of birth and death, living a moral life, accumulating money, and achieving desires. Here, the word "Kama" does not signify "sexual need" as it is typically understood. Our additional psychological demands are mentioned. These four objectives should be placed in a specific order. The ultimate, superior, or perfect purpose of human existence is the last one. It is also the most significant. As a result, it is known as parama purushrtha. The goal post was for humans to satisfy their need for acquiring money and gratifying psychological wants. One should first be directed in seeking these needs by specific norms, ethics, and values, which is dharma.


Consciousness, Mind, and Mental Activities

Western philosophers do not distinguish between consciousness and mental processes. There is no distinction between consciousness and mind. That appears to be the main issue causing confusion. Second, according to contemporary psychologists, the brain is the organ that generates mental activity. It's referred to as an "epiphenomenon." However, Pure Consciousness and the physical body are kept apart from mental action in Indian traditions. We refer to consciousness as chetana, chaitanya, and praja, whereas the terms manas and chitta are used to describe the mind. Although both the body and the mind are made up of the three gunas of sattva, rajas, and tamas, many philosophers concur with Samkhya theorists that the mind is subtle matter, and the body is gross matter. Manas is also seen as an indriya that craves, feels, and wills while also experiencing pleasure and pain.

Assignment Two


Answer the following short category questions in about 100 words each. Each question carries 5 marks. 8 x 5 = 40


4. Explain the measurement of intelligence.

Ans) Recent advancements in the measuring of intelligence make an effort to translate the raw scores or actual test results into standard scores that indicate the IQ. The norms tables included in the exam handbook, which contain age-appropriate standardised scores, are used to convert these scores. Percentiles are used by the Stanford-Binet test revision from 1986 to describe the degree of intelligence in a given group. Verbal reasoning, abstract/visual reasoning, quantitative reasoning, and short-term memory are the four main categories under which the test is divided. A measure of intellect that accounts for age is the intelligence quotient (IQ). The most popular IQ test for adults is the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale (WAIS). IQ is correlated with brain size, neuronal transmission speed, and working memory capacity.


5. Differentiate between aptitude and interest.

Ans) Following is a comparison of aptitude and interest.


  2. The term aptitude relates to a person's abilities. The individual might not be interested in it, though. Interests are a reflection of one's preferences. Potential alone does not indicate that someone will be interested in it.

  3. Over time, aptitudes do not alter. They mainly consist of intrinsic abilities. With changes in a person's knowledge and experience, interests may alter throughout time. Since interests are acquired, a number of factors, such as parental, peer, school, and media influences, can have an impact on them.

  4. Therefore, it is simpler to learn the skills required for an activity if one has the potential (aptitude) for it as well as interest in doing so.


6. Discuss the meaning of the term Indian Psychology.

Ans) Various definitions of Indian psychology can be found in modern literature. You will discover that different authors use this phrase with slightly different connotations if you read a few articles and books that study Indian psychology. They place distinct emphasis on each. Some emphasise the "spiritual approach," while others emphasise the "socio-cultural view." Some favoured "indigenization" of psychology, while others promoted the growth of "indigenous" psychology when the distinction between Western and non-Western/Asian psychology first formed within modern psychology itself. As a result, there is occasionally a misunderstanding when the phrases "indigenous," "indigenization," and "Indian" psychology are used interchangeably. Therefore, it is necessary to distinguish between these terms. The five main approaches Salagame suggests for comprehending Indian psychology are listed below.


7. Differentiate between ‘Atman’ and ‘Jiva’.

Ans) Although Atman and Jiva are both related to the life principle, in early Vedic literature the two names took on different meanings as discussions on the nature of self-advanced from the Vedic period to the Upanishadic period. Atman served as the spiritual centre, whilst Jiva represented an empirical being that had experiences in the three phases as well as in life after death. The Upanishads refer to Brahman as the underlying basis of the universe, and Atman is considered as the core essence shared by all beings. It stands for both energy and alertness. The Mandukya Upanishad emphasises the transcendent character of Atman and offers a brief explanation of it.


8. Explain the optimal arousal theory.

Ans) The theory states that when the arousal level is optimal, people perform better and function well. This theory is based on the work carried out by Yerkes and Dodson in 1908, referred to as the Yerkes- Dodson law. It explains the relationship between arousal level and task performance in the following way: “we function best when we are moderately aroused or energized and both low and high arousal/ energy levels lead to poor performance”  There are two things that we need to take note of in the context of the Yerkes- Dodson law.

  1. Disparities in arousal levels between people.

  2. The task's level of difficulty.


First, when we talk of an optimal arousal level leading to better functioning/ performance, it needs to be noted that this optimal level may vary from person to person. Thus, there is no fixed optimal arousal, but it is individual-specific. The second thing is that the task difficulty level moderates the relationship between arousal and task performance. As the Yerkes-Dodson law states, in case of simpler tasks, a relatively higher arousal level is required for better performance; and with difficult tasks, a relatively lower arousal is needed for better performance.


9. Discuss the stages of creativity.

Ans) Preparation: In this phase, the person tries to comprehend the issue. "The phrasing of a problem is often more essential than its solution," observed Albert Einstein. Therefore, a greater emphasis must be placed on understanding the issue in depth.


Incubation: This is the time-out period, during which the person refrains from acting in any way. The processing of all the data obtained during the preparation stage is ongoing at this stage, at least there is no overt action. Although the person is not actively or consciously thinking about the issue, they are nonetheless engaged in unconscious creative processes.


Inspiration: Following the incubation phase, the person experiences an unexpected epiphany on the problem's resolution. In other words, it causes a "Aha" moment. The person is now more engaged and conscious as a new concept or set of options emerges. Based on the insight or inspiration gained at this point.


Verification: At this point, the person tries to assess and validate the concepts and solutions. It might cause the answer to change in various ways. In some situations, the person might also need to return to the previous step in order to obtain or develop more information about the issue, necessitating further "preparation."


10. Describe different tests for assessing creativity.

Ans) The two most widely used assessments of creativity are the Remote Associates Test by Mednick and Mednick and Guilford's Divergent Production Test, in which participants must create many responses to each test topic.


The Guilford hypothesis of intelligence is the foundation of the Divergent production exam. According to his model, the "operation" of divergent production is the capacity to come up with a variety of distinct yet pertinent answers to an open-ended question such, "Name as many applications as you can think of for a cup."


Based on their understanding of creativity as the capacity to recognise connections between seemingly unrelated ideas, Mednicks developed the Remote Associates Test. What term, for instance, connects the words "square root," "coffee," and "kitchen"? Such word linkages will force the person to think creatively and differently.

The B. K. Passi and Usha Kumar Test of Creative Problem Solving was created. It serves as a gauge of both children's and adults' creative problem-solving abilities. The test is non-verbal in nature and has seven items. It evaluates the creativity's originality and elaboration components.


11. Discuss ways to increase extrinsic motivation.

Ans) Recognition: One of the key elements that can improve an individual's intrinsic motivation is recognition. For instance, when an employee is extrinsically motivated with the support of recognition, they may perform better. The satisfaction that an individual will experience from performing work-related activities may rise as a result of recognition. But for it to be successful, one must make sure that the acknowledgment is true and real.


Rewards and incentives: This is yet another element that might boost motivation. Financial or non-financial rewards and incentives are both acceptable. A sum paid to an employee in exchange for adhering to safety regulations in a particular industry would be an example of a financial compensation. A non-monetary reward, however, might be attention or even praise.


Punishment: Punishment can inspire motivation in the same way that rewards do. The individual may adopt safe behaviours because of fear of punishment. A student will complete their homework in a timely manner in order to avoid being penalised by their teacher.


External pressure: A person's parents, boss, and other important people in their lives may put pressure on them to perform.

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