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Subject: Universal Principles in Psychology
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03/25/2023 12:21 AM  

Universal Principles in Psychology

Individual differences vs universal principles in psychology is an ongoing issue similar to the nature vs nurture debate. Do psychologists focus on what makes us different or what makes us the same?

Universal principles are behaviors and traits that are true for all humans or all members of a culture or society.

Neuroscientists may focus on what makes us the same, such as specific hormones that prime us for sexual behavior. On the other hand, humanistic psychologists may take a special interest in individual differences, believing that all behavior is a reflection of a person's unique qualities.
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Individual Differences in Psychology: Strengths and Weaknesses
So what are the strengths and weaknesses of considering individual differences in psychology rather than universal principles? Let's take a look:

Strengths

Weaknesses

Looking at individual differences requires psychologists to consider the whole person when treating mental illnesses, rather than the general characteristics of the disorder. (This is often called a holistic approach)

Understanding individual differences in psychology give us a clearer picture of concepts like intelligence, personality, gender, and memory.

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Can help educators learn how to support students who may have fallen through the cracks and need special attention to achieve education goals.

Understanding individual differences can help us pinpoint certain developmental issues or psychological disorders.

Focusing too much on differences can create divisions between groups.

Overemphasis on differences when discussing mental health can make some people feel ostracized or left out.

Can help educators learn how to support students who may have fallen through the cracks and need special attention to achieve education goals.

Risks too much focus on internal factors, giving less credit to external factors.
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Individual Differences Psychology - Key takeaways
Individual differences are comprised of our unique characteristics and traits, which distinguish us from others.
Three important ways of measuring individual differences are through observations, controlled lab experiments, and surveys or questionnaires.
Highlighting individual differences in educational psychology can apply to intelligence, learning style, and motivation.
Universal principles are behaviors and traits that are true for all humans or all members of a culture or society.
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Individual differences help us pinpoint developmental issues and give us a clearer picture of concepts like intelligence, personality, gender, and memory. On the other hand, overemphasis on differences when discussing mental health can make some people feel ostracized or left out.
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