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Term: 2ndSem, 2017-2018
Reporter: Ms. Razell B. Panilan
Topic: Gordon Allport’s Personality Trait Theory
Professor: Ms. Maria Luna C. de La Cerna

Gordon Willard Allport's Early Life

Gordon Allport was born in Montezuma, Indiana in 1897. He was the youngest of his four
brothers and was often described as shy, but also hard-working and studious. His mother was a
school teacher and his father was a doctor who instilled in Allport a strong work ethic. During
his childhood, his father used the family home to house and treat patient or they converted it
into a private hospital. Gordon was exposed early on to patient care and claimed later that his
experience came in observing the wide variety of patients that passed through the family

Allport’s family valued the Protestant Work Ethic. His industriousness was demonstrated in the
founding of his own printing business. He operated his own printing business during his teen
years and served as the editor of his high school newspaper.

In 1915, Allport graduated second in his class and earned a scholarship to Harvard College,
where one of his older brothers, Floyd Henry Allport, was working on a PhD in Psychology.

After earning his A.B. degree in Philosophy and Economics from Harvard in 1919, Allport
traveled to Istanbul, Turkey to teach philosophy and economics.
After a year of teaching, he returned to Harvard to finish his studies. Allport earned his PhD in
Psychology in 1922 under the guidance of Hugo Munsterberg.

Meeting Sigmund Freud
In an essay entitled Pattern and Growth in Personality, Gordon Allport recounted his experience
of meeting psychiatrist Sigmund Freud. In 1922, Allport traveled to Vienna, Austria to meet the
famous psychoanalyst. After entering Freud's office, he sat down nervously and told a story
about a young boy he had seen on the train during his travels to Vienna. The boy, Allport
explained, was afraid of getting dirty and refused to sit where a dirty-looking man had
previously sat. Allport theorized that the child had acquired the behavior from his mother, who
appeared to be very domineering.

Freud studied Allport for a moment and then asked, "And was that little boy you?"
Allport viewed the experience as an attempt by Freud to turn a simple observation into an
analysis of Allport's supposed unconscious memory of his own childhood. The experience would
later serve as a reminder that psychoanalysis tended to dig too deeply. Behaviorism on the
other hand, Allport suggested, did not dig deeply enough. Instead, Allport chose to reject both
psychoanalysis and behaviorism and embraced his own unique approach to personality.
Allport's approach to human psychology combined the empirical influence of the behaviorists

The self. he became professor of psychology six years later and. talkative. Jane loves to play the devil's advocate and really enjoys debating hot topics. An example of a trait is extraversion–introversion. independent. he/she often experiences ambiguous feelings and based on the situation. According to trait theorists. pack a suitcase. if you cross her. your personality is made up of the traits you possess. In conversations. When visitors come to her home. a fresh cup of coffee is offered to them as soon as they walk in the door. she'll give you a look to make you feel sufficiently scolded without saying a word. higher motives. Allport concluded that the traits do not exist independently of one another. A trait is a personal characteristic we have which stays generally the same overtime and is resistant to changing. and the location where the individual falls will determine how he or she responds to various situations. However. She's known to find great airline tickets to places in the world she has never been. Extraversion tends to be manifested in outgoing. These traits shape her thoughts. like Gordon Allport. with the presence of two opposite traits in a person. and adventurous. whereas introversion is manifested in more reserved and solitary behavior. An individual may fall along any point in the continuum. the trait can manifest itself. welcoming. In Becoming (1955) he stressed the importance of self and the uniqueness of adult personality. and continuity of personal memories. Allport is best known for the concept that.with the acknowledgement that unconscious influences could also play a role in human behavior. Gordon Allport's Career and Theory Appointed a social science instructor at Harvard University in 1924. His important introductory work on the theory of personality was Personality: A Psychological Interpretation (1937). Jane has several identifiable traits that relate directly to her personality. is an identifiable organization within each individual and accounts for the unity of personality. Personality Traits Defined Do you know Jane? Jane rarely has a bad word to say about anyone. . His last important work was Pattern and Growth in Personality (1961). His approach favored emphasis on the problems of the adult personality rather than on those of infantile emotions and experiences. He also made important contributions to the analysis of prejudice in The Nature of Prejudice (1954). Allport called this concept functional autonomy. She loves to travel and often does so alone. feelings. feisty. Gordon taught at Dartmouth College for four years before returning to Harvard for the remainder of his career and until his death in 1967. and jump on a plane on short notice. he contended. in the last year of his life. the above description allows you to get to know Jane's personality based on the characteristics she possesses. She could be described as kind. Furthermore. energetic behavior. it gives you information about her personality traits. He consistently related his approach to the study of personality to his social interests and was one of a growing number of psychologists who sought to introduce the leavening influence of humanism into psychology. they become independent of them. professor of social ethics. and the way she behaves on any given day. Despite the fact that you have never personally met Jane. although adult motives develop from infantile drives. After marrying Ada Gould.