Deutsch: Fähigkeit / Español: Habilidad / Português: Habilidade / Français: Capacité / Italiano: Abilità /

Ability is a basic capacity of a person for performing a wide range of different tasks, acquiring knowledge, or developing a skill; what one has learned over a period of time from both school and nonschool sources; one's general capability for performing tasks.


In psychology, "ability" refers to the capacity of an individual to perform certain tasks, solve problems, or acquire new skills. Abilities can be broadly categorized into cognitive, emotional, social, and physical domains. They are influenced by a combination of genetic factors, environmental influences, and individual experiences. Abilities can range from basic cognitive functions like memory and attention to complex skills such as language acquisition and social interaction. Psychologists often assess and measure abilities using standardized tests and observation methods. Understanding an individual's abilities can provide valuable insights into their strengths, weaknesses, and potential areas for growth.

Application Areas

  • Educational psychology
  • Neuropsychology
  • Occupational psychology
  • Clinical assessment
  • Talent development
  • Rehabilitation
  • Sports psychology

Treatment and Risks

  • Cognitive training programs
  • Behavioral interventions
  • Occupational therapy
  • Risks include over-reliance on certain abilities, performance anxiety, and burnout.


  • Problem-solving ability in a puzzle-solving task
  • Verbal ability in reading comprehension
  • Emotional intelligence in understanding and managing emotions
  • Social ability in forming and maintaining relationships
  • Motor ability in playing a musical instrument

Similar Concepts and Synonyms

  • Skill
  • Aptitude
  • Competency
  • Talent
  • Proficiency


  • 'Ability' in the glossary of the


In psychology, "ability" encompasses the capacity of individuals to perform tasks, solve problems, and acquire new skills across various domains. Abilities are influenced by genetic factors, environmental influences, and individual experiences. They can be assessed and measured using standardized tests and observation methods, providing insights into strengths, weaknesses, and areas for growth. Psychologists apply knowledge of abilities in diverse fields such as education, neuropsychology, and talent development to enhance individual functioning and well-being.


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