PSYC 231 - Chapter 7 - Gordon Allport

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Queen's University
PSYC 231
Angela Howell- Moneta

Ch 7: Gordon Allport – Motivation and Personality - Did not accept the notion that unconscious forces dominate the personality of normal adults - Unconscious is important only in the behaviour of neurotic/disturbed persons - Guided more by the present and view of the future - Opposed collecting data from abnormal personalities - Believed they functioned at an infantile level The Nature of Personality Personality: the dynamic organization within the individual of those psychophysical systems that determine characteristic behaviour and thought - Genetic background responsible for the major portion of our uniqueness – environment influences or limits this - Believed there are two personalities: one for childhood and one for adulthood - The adult personality is not constrained by childhood experiences Traits: distinguishing characteristics that guide behaviour - Measured on a continuum and are subject to social, environmental, and cultural influences Characteristics of traits: 1. Real and exist in each of us – not theoretical constructs or labels to account for behaviour 2. Determine or cause behaviour – do not arise only in response to certain stimuli 3. Can be demonstrated empirically 4. Interrelated – may overlap, even though they represent different characteristics 5. Vary with the situation - Individual vs. common traits – common are shared by a culture - Common traits likely to change over time – social standards and values change Personal Dispositions: individual traits Traits: common traits Cardinal trait: most pervasive and influential – touches almost every aspect of a person’s life Central traits: 5-10 themes that best describe our behaviour Secondary traits: least important – inconspicuous or weak – only a close friend would notice them - Preferences for music or food Motivation: The Functional Autonomy of Motives - Cognitive process are a vital aspect of our personality (conscious plans and intentions) Functional autonomy: motives in adulthood are independent of their childhood experiences Perservative functional autonomy: the level of functional autonomy that relates to low-level and routine behaviours - Behaviours continue to persevere on their own without any external reward Propriate functional autonomy: the level of functional autonomy that relates to our values, self-image, and lifestyle - Proprium: Allport’s term for the ego or self - We retain motives that enhance our self-esteem or self-image - Organizing process: organizing the energy level, mastery and competence, propriate patterning - Organizing the energy level: how we acquire new motives – consume excess energy that may otherwise be expressed in destructive and harmful ways - Mastery and competence: the level at which we choose to satisfy motives - Propriate patterning: striving for consistency and integration of the personality - Reflexes, fixations, neuroses, and behaviours arising from biological drives are not under the control of functionally autonomous motives Personality Development in Childhood: The Unique Self Development of the Proprium 1. Bodily self  Infants become aware of their own existence and distinguish their own bodies from objects in the environment 2. Self-identity  C
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