What vocation is a person suited to?

The basis of vocational guidance is -  "What vocation is this person most suited to?" 

Before appointment to a position a medical doctor should examine an applicant and inform the Personnel officer/department of any conditions which might affect the performance of the job (examples follow). 

Physical Characteristics to be considered in determining a person’s suitability for a job include:

  • Muscular strain

  • Constant walking

  • Constant standing

  • Constant sitting

  • Constant stooping

  • Right handedness

  • Left handedness

  • Hot working conditions

  • Cold working conditions

  • Damp working conditions

  • Exposed working conditions

  • Acute hearing

  • Acute vision

  • Discrimination between colours

  • Dry (non sweaty) hands

  • Food handling Safety (sinus, sniffles, coughing)

  • Dusty work conditions

  • Indoor work

  • Nervous strain

  • Climbing

  • Risk of falling


Such testing can be time-consuming, and may have limitations; but can also be a useful tool in selecting an appropriate person for a job. Intelligence testing is mainly devised to obtain an intelligence quotient for the individual concerned.

The Nature of Intelligence

Though intelligence might be easy to identify, it is not easy to describe. We all may be very sure that a certain individual is intelligent, but unable to explain why. Each of us also has assumptions about what intelligence is. Some of us automatically label people with highly mathematical and scientific minds as highly intelligent. Some of us are more impressed by people who are well read on politics and philosophy. Others invest a lot of importance in ability to be original and creative in thought. 

In spite of the amount of time that psychologists have spent studying human intelligence, they find it difficult to reach any broad agreement on what intelligence is. Some psychologists regard it as one "unitary general ability" which cross cuts all kinds of skills -that is to say that an intelligent person is one who can perform very well on a "wide range" of skills, such as mathematical problems, verbal exercise (such as reading complex material), visual spatial (such as understanding a map or plan) and so forth. This approach sees intelligence a one overall general ability. These psychologists would claim that a student who gets B+ for all subjects is more intelligent than one who consistently gets A for mathematics and lower grades for everything else. 

Others see intelligence as a composite of many specific skills, where some skills may be more developed than others. Intelligence according to these theorists consists of a variety of different abilities, such as solving maths problems, having good memory, good communication skills, etc. They differ from the previous approach in that they believe that each of these skills operates independently from the others. 

Many disagree with the unitary approach because it is seldom that one person performs equally well with a wide variety of different skills. Researchers have found that people rarely perform the same with different types of intelligence tests.


Measuring Intelligence

Psychologists who have a "composite view" of intelligence object to measuring intelligence based upon one single (limited) test, because this might not reveal anything about skills a child has problems with, or where strengths lie.

Another problem is that if psychologists cannot agree on a definition of intelligence, how can they claim that they are able to measure it?  

The aim of an intelligence test is to evaluate the intellectual competence of an individual. It is not like an exam which is aimed at measuring performance in one particular field. Rather, an intelligence test is used as a way of predicting how well a person will perform in the future. For this reason the exercises and problems presented must be such that participants will not be unduly disadvantaged through previous experience. It would not be fair, for example, if one child could do better than another because they had been receiving extra tuition in mathematics.

Cultural Bias

This can be a controversial issue within intelligence testing. Such tests are very often based on American first world models which don't cater sufficiently for (in particular) third world countries. Children in even other developed countries may not be raised the same way as in middle class America, and this may reflect on test results. In different cultures, tests may need revision before use, to make them relevant.