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GORDON WILLIARD

ALLPORT
BIOGRAPHY
Born: November 11, 1897 (Indiana)
Father: John E. Allport
Mother: Nellie Wise Allport
Enrolled Harvard (Psychology and social
ethics)
Had one child (Robert)
Died: October 9, 1967 (lung cancer)
I. Biography (1897-1967)
Allport was 1 of 4 children born to a teacher &
country doctor in Indiana.

The family moved often, until they settled in


Cleveland, Ohio, where Allport grew up in a hard-
working, Protestant neighborhood.

Graduating 2nd in his class, Allport joined his


brother, Floyd, at Harvard University, where he
studied psychology & social ethics.
Biography contd.
After graduation, Allport taught abroad in Eastern
Europe & visited with Freud on his way back
home.

He tried to impress Freud with his powers of


observation, but instead was mistaken for a
patient seeking therapy.

This led Allport to want to focus on conscious


self reports as opposed to hidden unconscious
impulses.
Allport
Gordon studied personality traits as a graduate
student & earned his Ph.D. in 1922 at 24.

He accepted a teaching position at Harvard in


1924.

He taught at Harvard for most of his life, where


he introduced the first Personality course ever
taught in the US.

He published in numerous journals about his


views on personality traits, was the President of
the APA, & editor of many journals.
PSYCHOLOGY OF THE
INDIVIDUAL
Uniqueness of an individual
Morphogenic science not nomothetic
science.
Eclectic approach
Role of conscious motivation
Allports definition of Personality

Personality is the dynamic


organization within the individual
of those psychophysical systems
that determine his unique
adjustments to the environment.
(1937)
Components of Allports definition

1. Dynamic organization:

we need to integrate all parts of our personality


into a whole.
Organized and patterned personality
Subject to change, not static, but growing and
changing
2. Psychophysical Systems

Allport argued that biology influences our personality


development.

Importance of physical and psychological aspects.


3. Determinative
Personality is something an does something

Not merely mask we wear, nor is it simply behavior.

traits are not just predictors of behavior, they actually


determine (cause) behavior.

Allport felt these were actually physical (tangible) although


he didnt know how they related to the neural systems.
4. Unique characteristic
Allport felt that traits are highly
individualized or unique.

He disagreed with theorists who asserted


that one or a few instincts motivate all
people (sexual drives, striving for
superiority).
5. Adjustments to the Environment

Allport felt that our personalities develop


as a function of learning to adapt to social
situations while trying to achieve our needs.
Conscious Motivation
Healthy adults are generally aware of
what they are doing and the reason for
doing it.
Characteristics of a Healthy
Person?
Extension of the sense of self
Warm relating of self to others
Emotional security or self acceptance
Realistic perception of the environment
Insight and humor
Unifying philosophy of life
TRAITS
Allport felt that our personality was made
up of traits.

If you know a persons traits, you can


provide a description of their personality.
What are traits???

A trait is a consistent, long-lasting


tendency in behavior.

E.g., shyness
How do we know what traits a person
possesses?

1. We can infer them from language (Dictionary


Study).

Allport & Odbert identified 17,953 trait


names, from the dictionary (4.5% of total
words).
Structures of Personality
PERSONAL DISPOSITIONS
PROPRIUM
Structures of Personality
COMMON TRAITS
- characteristics held in common by many
people
PERSONAL DISPOSITIONS
-permits to study single individual.
-peculiar to the individual.
Level of Personal Disposition
CARDINAL DISPOSITIONS
-eminent characteristic or ruling passion so
outstanding that it dominates their lives.
-too obvious that cannot be hidden.
CENTRAL DISPOSITIONS
- 5 to 10 outstanding characteristics around
which a persons life focuses.
Level of Personal Disposition
SECONDARY DISPOSITIONS
- less conspicuous but far greater in number
than central dispositions.
- Everyone has many secondary dispositions
that are not central to the personality yet
occur with some regularity and are
responsible for much of ones specific
behavior.
Allport further divided personal
dispositions into
(1) motivational dispositions, which are
strong enough to initiate action and
(2) stylistic dispositions, which refer to the
manner in which an individual behaves
and which guide rather than initiate
action.
Individual Vs. Common Traits
Allport argued we have both individual
traits & common traits.

Individual traits -- possessed by only 1


person.

Common traits-- possessed by all


people to a varying extent.
Structures of Personality
PROPRIUM
Thos behaviors and characteristics that people
regard as warm, central and important to their
live.
Personality Development
Proprium
His term for the self
The core of our personality
Those characteristics which we consider to be peculiarly
mine
the totality of the person as process, an entity that is
becoming
Contains the vital physical, psychological, and social aspects
help define our sense of self
Proprium Development
1. Bodily sense (birth to age 1)
What is me and what is not
The sense of ones body, its separateness from other bodies, and
its basic parts
2. Self Identity (age 1 to 2)
Names self
The sense of inner sameness, of continuity to the self, and having
a distinct name
Depends on capacity for language
Proprium Development
3. Self Esteem (age 2 to 3)
Pride through achievement
The sense of competence and to feel some self control over
ones environment
Test the limits of our environment and often refuse to take
orders from others
4. Self Extension (age 3-4)
Identifies ego extensions
The sense of possessing external objects and/or people
Eventually helps produce loyalties
Proprium Development
5. Self Image (age 4 to 6)
Good and bad me
Begin to evaluate present abilities and future
possibilities
Compare what we do with others expectations of us
Awareness of satisfying or not satisfying parents
expectations
Saw this as foundation of adult conscience
6. Self as Rational Coper (age 6 to 12)
Learn problem solving skills, how to think rationally,
and deal with reality
Proprium Development
7. Propriate Striving (Age 12 to 20s)
Motivational period of who a person wants to be and
wants to become (greater influence than past)
Involves long range goal planning, etc.
Functional autonomy begins
8. Self as knower (adulthood)
Awareness of self
Merging of all the other stages
MOTIVATION
FUNCTIONAL AUTONOMY OF
MOTIVES
- the idea that motives in the normal,
mature adult are independent of the
childhood experiences in which they
originally appeared.
MOTIVATION
LEVELS FUNCTIONAL AUTONOMY
OF MOTIVES
1. PERSEVERATIVE F.A.
- sources of motives may vary.
2. PROPRIATE F.A.
-relates to our values, self image and lifestyle.
The Mature Personality
Functionally Autonomous
Motivated by conscious processes
6 Attributes:
1. A widely extended sense of self
2. Capacity for warm social interactions
3. Demonstrates emotional security and
self-acceptace
The Mature Personality (cont.)
4. Demonstrates realistic perception, skills
and assignments (sees things as they
really are)
5. Demonstrates self-insight and humor
6. Has a unifying philosophy of life (may be
religion, or anything that gives meaning
to ones life)