Abilities in the psychological structure of the personality, Ability and activity - Psychology

Abilities in the psychological structure of the personality

Ability and Activity

Abilities and makings stand out as one of the parameters of the integral mental image of the personality. They give a psychological description of a person from some specific side, which is a vital, differentiating people. Words & quot; capable & quot; or & quot; unable & quot; widely used in everyday life, especially in teaching practice.

The concept of & quot; ability & quot; is controversial, contains in itself complex human, psychological, including ethical, moral issues. It intersects with many other psychological categories and phenomena, because any scientific knowledge is conceptual, and the definitions and terms that make up it are not isolated, not ruled, but connected in a consistent design, concept. Let's consider the psychological interpretation of abilities, which often differs from their everyday understanding.

In psychology, there are two main theoretical approaches to understanding abilities, their origin and place in the system of activity, psyche and personality:

• The first approach can be conditionally called activity, followed by the works of many domestic researchers, beginning with BM Teplov;

• The second approach is no less elaborate, widespread, combined with the first one. It is referred to here as & quot; knowledgeable & quot;.

• Let's start with the position of BM Teplov, whose work on the psychology of musical abilities, performed in the 1940s, has not lost its scientific and practical significance in our days.

Abilities are individual psychological features that are relevant to the success of an activity, irreducible to the knowledge, skills and abilities of the individual, explaining the speed and ease of their acquisition.

In this interpretation, there are four main points , clearly identified by BM Teplov:

1. Abilities he refers to individual features, distinctive personality traits, although in psychology there is another understanding of them: abilities as belonging to all mankind. They say, for example, that the essence of a person's mental development is the assimilation, at the expense of his own activity, of previously created, socially developed abilities.

2. According to this concept, the ratio of abilities to performance is non-linear, ambiguous. Abilities, of course, are associated with a particular activity, & quot; are related & quot; to the quality of its result, but they provide it completely and automatically. For example, you can successfully perform something without having the appropriate abilities, i.e. at the expense of zeal, will. Conversely, an unsuccessful performance of an activity does not necessarily mean that the person has no corresponding abilities. Here the ability is designated as a potency, one of the conditions for the effectiveness of the activity; the possibility of compensation, reimbursement of abilities is allowed. Such a position is essentially humanistic, and therefore promising.

3. The ability is not reduced to a simple sum of available knowledge, skills and abilities. Semantic dichotomy & quot; be able to - not be able to & quot; in principle, displays something other than the opposition "to be or not to be" on it capable. Between the skill and ability there are certain and undeniable connections. A person can, for example, say that he is able to read this book, because he knows and knows how to do this. You can be able to, but not be able to, ready for something, but you can be able (in principle), but you can not, do not want, do not.

4. Abilities provide speed and ease to achieve a given performance efficiency. This is actually a positive, psychologically distinctive feature of them.

From all that has been said, a fundamentally important authorial position follows: the concept of ability is dynamic, ie. existing only in change, development, only in the corresponding purposeful activity.


To illustrate this point, let us draw some analogy with the concept of force in the course of physics. It is known that force is a dynamic, vectorial concept, and without it, it loses its content. So the category of ability ceases to exist psychologically if it detaches itself from its & quot; vector & quot; - directions of activity.

There is no ability "anywhere", outside of a more or less specific field of activity. A person does not have the right, for example, to say that he has lost the ability to draw, if he has never seriously engaged in drawing.

Abilities can not be psychologically identified with a person's desire for something, with interest, inclination. However, the development of the ability must have some "start" point. The activity vector needs to come from something & quot; proceed & quot;.

Deposits - this is the natural premise of the ability; anatomophysiological features underlying the development of abilities.

There are no abilities both outside of activity and beyond the makings, but the ability is not a deposit function, but a development. Unlike dynamic abilities, the makings congenital and are static . The deposit itself is not defined, it is not directed at anything, it is multi-valued. He gets his certainty, only being included in the structure of activity, in the dynamics of the ability.


If we continue the earlier obvious analogy, then the static deposit is similar to a point (in geometry). From a point it is possible to lead vectors in the most different directions, which in this case are activities and abilities. Not included in the activity, undeveloped makings are simply not visible in behavior, they have nothing to show, except the subjective world of experiences and needs of the individual.

Perhaps, from some natural deposit, a person will develop, for example, mathematical abilities, and perhaps others. The problem is that, contrary to popular and simplistic everyday notions in the human brain, there is no single-valued and mechanically precise localization of higher mental functions. From the same physiological & quot; material & quot; can develop different psychological characteristics and abilities. The main thing, the psychologically decisive one is determined by the orientation and the effectiveness of the activity, the direction of the personality and its deeds.


We can assume that there is some limited "quot; potentially laid directions for the development of a particular deposit. There are types of activities that require a relatively larger & quot; provisioning & quot; makings. In particular, for an outstanding opera singer, an appropriate voice and breathing apparatus is necessary, but this necessarily develops, because the functioning and development processes exist in a known biological unity. A great voice is specially and long "put", and the laborious creative work concluded in this is beyond doubt by any eminent singer, and this "work" not only vocal cords and breathing, but some kind of unnatural and creative work as "soul singing".

Abilities exist and evolve (or perish) in the person in the same way as psychologically the original needs, motives and meanings of activity. In the personality there is a dynamic hierarchy of abilities that corresponds to all its activities, to all behavior and life of a person. In this multidimensional structure, special personality, complex formations, called talent.

Giftedness - a qualitatively distinctive, personal combination of abilities.

According to BM Teplov, giftedness, like ability, is not innate, but exists in development. It is very important that the "giftedness" in the first place, the concept of quality. In this context, the author of the concept resolutely opposed his interpretation of giftedness to the notion of the "intelligence coefficient" quoted in Western psychology and testology in particular. as a universal quantitative measure of giftedness.


For example, BM Teplov emphasized the quality of the category of musical endowments with emphasis on three of its types: composing, performing and listening. Whose gift is "more": Masne or Chaliapin? They are simply qualitatively different and in this sense are not comparable, because they relate to different activities.

B. M. Teplov argued that the concept of giftedness is always attributed to specific historical, social conditions. The change of civilizations and state structure, the change in the system of social values ​​and the quality of education, the social belonging of the individual - all this refers to incalculable factors that must be taken into account in the diagnosis and evaluation of personal talent.

Every gift is complex, i.e. includes some common and special moments. By general giftedness is understood the development of relatively wide and universally involved psychological components, for example, memory and intellect. However, the ability and giftedness can exist only in relation to a specific activity, so the total giftedness must be attributed to a certain activity, which is the whole human psyche, or the category of life itself. In this case, the concept of general giftedness practically loses its psychological specifics.

Special giftedness has a narrower conceptual content, since it refers to some special, ie. concerning specific activities: music, math, sports, drawing, etc.


The subject gradation of activities is always conditional. For example, in the structure of the pictorial or artistic, the activity includes both perception, and drawing, and composition, and imagination, and much more in personality, which requires the corresponding development of a variety of special abilities. General and special abilities really exist in a personal, activity-based unity.

A high degree of giftedness is called talent , when describing the qualities of which many expressive epithets are used, for example, outstanding perfection, significance, passionate enthusiasm, high efficiency, originality, diversity. BM Teplov wrote that talent as such is versatile. According to the laws of probability theory, everything can not be outstanding, therefore in the real society of talented people there is little.

Genius - qualitatively the highest degree of development and manifestation of giftedness and talent. Genius characterizes the uniqueness, the highest creativity, the discovery of something previously uncharted. But living geniuses exist, work and are evaluated in a particular society, in real space and time. The genius is unique, unlike other people, sometimes so much that it seems incomprehensible, even superfluous. Definitely to define, or rather, to recognize someone as a genius is extremely difficult, because of "unrecognized geniuses" much more than they really are. However, geniuses have always been, are and will continue to appear, as they are necessary for society. Geniuses are as diverse as their abilities, endowments, activities, circumstances - but they are geniuses.

• The main difference between the second psychological approach to understanding the connections between ability and activity lies in the actual equating of abilities to the available level of knowledge, skills and abilities. It seems that in such a position as, for example, V. A. Krutetsky (1917-1989), there is a need, truth and its content problems.

Indeed, the first approach explains the ability to speed and ease of achieving an effective human activity. But what exactly, what mental components are achieved by this effectiveness? Only cash and developed knowledge, skills and abilities. They stand for speed and ease. They can be called formed abilities.

& quot; Knowledgeful & quot; the approach focuses on the operational aspect of abilities, while the activity approach emphasizes their dynamic aspect.

Quick and easy development of abilities is provided only by appropriate operations and knowledge. In addition, the formation of abilities does not begin "from scratch", it is not predetermined by innate inclinations. The corresponding knowledge, skills and abilities of the individual are in fact not separable from understanding, functioning and development of abilities. Therefore, the numerous works of the "knowledge" the directions devoted to the study of mathematical, pedagogical, intellectual abilities are widely known, significant and promising. They have a solid way to practice, especially directly in pedagogical.

In addition to the two approaches mentioned, one can say that recently a certain special direction has been developed in the study of the psychology of abilities (VD Shadrikov). According to his definition, abilities are the properties of functional systems that realize individual mental functions, which have an individual measure of expression, manifested in the success and qualitative uniqueness of performing activities. In this position, the emphasis of the examination changes: one should not study individual psychic functions, but the properties of the functional systems that produce them. Such systems and blocks were differentiated and studied differently by AR Luria, PK Anokhin, VD Nebylitsyn, other major domestic psychologists and psychophysiology. But at the same time, the main conceptual question is updated: how to distinguish, for example, classically understood memory from the "mnemonic abilities" in the interpretation of the mentioned school?

B. G.Ananiev wrote, in particular, that behind every mental function is a complex combination, the unity of the functional, operational and motivational. The whole question is, what are the properties and in what combination are subject to the actual psychological study in terms of, say, the problem of abilities. For example, the motivational, semantic aspects of this problem remain traditionally unexplored. Therefore, the category of abilities itself does not yet receive its own personal interpretation.

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