Read this comprehensive essay on Aptitude !
Meaning of Aptitude:
Aptitude is a special skill or ability in a person to perform a particular task in a better way. It differs from general intelligence.
Freeman (1971) has defined as “an aptitude is a combination of characteristics indicative of an individual’s capacity to acquire (with training) some specific knowledge skill, or a set of organized responses, such as the ability to speak a language, to become a musician, to do a mechanical work”.
According to this definition, aptitude is a special tendency, bent, fitness or aptness due to a special neural or muscular organization possessed by the individual.
It is difficult to say whether a particular aptitude is a product of heredity or of environment. For example, a person who is having an aptitude for singing may have been born with a melodious voice, whereas another person brought up in the company of singers may also develop an aptitude for singing.
Hence, it is better to state that aptitude is the outcome of both heredity as well as environment.
Types of Aptitudes:
There are different types of aptitudes, viz., mechanical, musical, clerical, art, scholastic, law, teaching, medicine, engineering, scientific, numerical, word fluency, special relations aptitudes, etc. Psychologists have developed many aptitude tests to measure these aptitudes.
These tests are divided into general aptitude tests and special aptitude tests. Examples General aptitude tests are— Differential Aptitude Test (DAT), General Aptitude Test Battery (GATB), Guilford-Zimmerman Aptitude Survey and the Comprehensive Ability Battery (CAB) developed by Sheridian psychological services of USA.
Some of the important specialized aptitude tests are Mechanical aptitude tests, Detroit clerical aptitude test, Seashore musical aptitude test, Aptitude test for graphic art. Scholastic aptitude test (USA), Scientific Aptitude test (NIE, New Delhi), Minnesota Engineering Analogical Test, Moss Scholastic Aptitude test for medical students, etc.
People differ from one another in their abilities to perform certain activities. Even the same individual cannot perform all the activities in the same manner. For example, if two nurses are working in an operation theatre, one nurse may become skilled in assisting any kind of operation, but another nurse even with similar training may fail to acquire those skills.
In the same way two people joining for dance practice, where one may become a famous dancer than the other person. A surgeon who is skilled in operation may be very ordinary or failure in other fields of life.
In this way we find individual differences. In everyday life we come across many instances where one person excels over other person under similar circumstances. As stated above, the causes of such individual differences may be either heredity or environment.