Self improvementPsychology

What are abilities? Structure of abilities

The structure of abilities is a set of characteristics that determine the person's inclination to perform one or another type of activity.

What are abilities

Abilities are the properties that a person has and that allow him to engage in one or another type of activity. Their development is due to the presence of innate inclinations.

It is worth noting that the structure of abilities can not be equated with human skills, skills, as well as a set of knowledge. Here we are talking about internal psychological processes that determine the speed and stability of acquiring certain characteristics.

Many psychologists believe that abilities can be associated with character traits, from which they have developed. This is the highest level at which the set of knowledge and skills is structured and gets specific outlines.

Characteristics of abilities

For the successful performance of a particular activity, a person must have different abilities. Their structure is determined by various factors, among them congenital makings, professional sphere, education and others. Specialists identify the following characteristics, which describe the ability:

  • These are individual characteristics that distinguish people from each other;
  • The degree of development of abilities determines success in this or that sphere;
  • Are not identical to knowledge and skills, but only determine their quality and ease of acquisition;
  • Abilities are not hereditary;
  • Do not arise independently, if the person is not engaged in a certain type of activity;
  • In the absence of development of the ability to gradually disappear.

What are the abilities

The structure of abilities is largely determined by the extent to which the strongest aspects of a person manifest themselves most clearly in the sphere of activity . In this regard, the following typology is distinguished:

  • Mental - the ability to quickly and efficiently solve the problems that arise before the individual;
  • Musical abilities determine the presence of hearing, voice, a good receptivity to the tempo, rhythm and melody, as well as a quick grasp of the basics of the game on certain instruments;
  • Literary is the ability to complete, expressively and beautifully formulate your thoughts in writing;
  • Technical abilities mean good combinatorial thinking, as well as a deep understanding of the operation of certain mechanisms;
  • Physical - imply a strong constitution and developed musculature, as well as good endurance and other parameters;
  • Educational abilities mean the ability to perceive and understand large amounts of information with the possibility of their further practical application;
  • Artistic - is the ability to perceive and transmit proportions and colors, as well as create original shapes and so on.

It should be noted that this is not a complete list of abilities that a person can possess.

Classification of abilities

The classification structure of abilities can be described as follows:

  • In accordance with the origin:
    • Natural abilities have a biological structure and are conditioned by the development of innate inclinations;
    • Social abilities - those that were acquired in the process of education and training.
  • In accordance with the direction:
    • General abilities are necessary because they have a wide scope;
    • Special abilities are mandatory in the case of a particular type of activity.
  • In accordance with the conditions of development:
    • Potential abilities are manifested over time after falling into certain conditions;
    • Actual abilities are those that take place at a given time.
  • In accordance with the level of development:
    • Giftedness;
    • talent;
    • genius.

Basic attributes of abilities

Quite a lot of interest is represented by such a category as abilities. The structure of the concept includes three main features:

  • Individual features of a psychological nature that serve as a distinctive feature that distinguishes an individual from other people;
  • The availability of abilities determines the success in carrying out activities of a certain kind (in some cases, the presence of, or, on the contrary, absence, certain characteristics) is required to perform actions at the proper level;
  • It is not directly skills and abilities, but individual characteristics that determine their acquisition.

Structure, ability levels

In psychology, there are two main levels of development of abilities:

  • Reproductive (is how much a person perceives incoming information, and also characterizes volumes that can be reproduced);
  • Creative (implies the possibility of creating new, original images).

Degrees of development of abilities

The structure of abilities development consists of the following basic degrees:

  • Makings are the innate characteristics of a person that determine his inclination to a particular type of activity;
  • Giftedness is the highest level of development of makings, which determines the feeling of ease in the performance of certain tasks;
  • Talent is an individual characteristic of the personality, which is expressed in the propensity to create something new, original;
  • Genius is the highest degree of development of the previous categories, which determines the ease in carrying out assignments of any kind;
  • Wisdom is an ability that allows you to soberly reflect on the events happening around, and draw the appropriate conclusions.

Typology of people, depending on abilities

The structure of abilities largely determines the qualities of the individual, as well as his propensity to perform activities of a certain kind. So, it is customary to single out people of an artistic and mental type.

Speaking of the first, its representatives react very sharply to what is happening around, which is accompanied by a surge of emotions and impressions. This often leads to the creation of something new. As for the thinking type, such people are more practical and less subject to external influences. They logically build their reasoning, and also tend to build clear logical chains.

It is worth noting that belonging to the artistic type does not mean that a person, definitely, has creative abilities. The structure of abilities allows him to acquire certain skills, as well as easily perform such work. In addition, people of the artistic type do not lack the thinking resources, but they are not dominant.

The division of personalities into artistic and thinking types is due to the fact that different people have more developed hemispheres. So, if the left predominates, then the person thinks symbolically, and if the right one - figuratively.

Basic provisions of the theory of abilities

Modern psychological science identifies several positions on which the theory of abilities is based:

  • Only with respect to a certain type of activity can there be abilities. The structure, development of abilities can be identified and studied only in relation to a specific field, and not in general.
  • Abilities are considered a dynamic concept. They can develop in the course of continuous or regular performance of any activity, and can also fade if the active stage has ended.
  • The structure of a person's abilities largely depends on the age or life period in which he is. So, at certain times favorable conditions can be created for achieving maximum results. After this, the abilities can gradually disappear.
  • Psychologists still can not give a clear definition of the differences between abilities and giftedness. If to speak in general terms, then the first concept has to do with a specific type of activity. As for giftedness, it can be both specific and general.
  • A set of specific characteristics requires any activity. The structure of abilities ensures the success of its implementation.

Ratio of abilities and needs

Psychologists argue that between the needs and abilities arise relationships of restraint and compensation. In connection with this, the following main points can be singled out:

  • Simultaneous redundancy of abilities and needs limits the scope of activity;
  • If the abilities or needs are in short supply, then they can compensate each other;
  • If abilities are not enough, then other needs become actual with time;
  • The redundancy of needs requires the acquisition of new abilities.


Abilities are the specific properties of a person that determine his propensity to perform a particular activity. They are not innate. This category includes makings, the presence of which greatly facilitates the development of abilities. Also, this concept should not be confused with talent or talent.

Psychologists distinguish several features that characterize the structure of personality abilities. They distinguish people from each other, and also determine their achievement of success in this or that field of activity. It is a mistake to think that the abilities are hereditary, this can only be said about the makings. In addition, they can not arise independently, if a person is not engaged in activities of a certain kind. If there is no development, then the abilities gradually weaken and disappear (but this does not mean that they can not be restored).

Depending on the field of activity, the abilities are of several kinds. So, mental ones allow you to react quickly to changes in the situation, taking meaningful and rational decisions. Speaking of musical abilities, it is the presence of hearing and voice, the perception of tempo rhythm, as well as easy mastering of playing musical instruments. Literary manifest in the ability to beautifully form their thoughts, and technical - in the understanding of the functional characteristics of these or other mechanisms. Speaking of physical abilities, it is worth mentioning endurance, as well as developed musculature. Educational facilities provide an opportunity to perceive and reproduce large amounts of information, and artistic - to convey colors and proportions. This is the main, but far from complete list of the abilities of man.

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