Who was Gordon Allport?
Practical and humanitarian home. Son of a country doctor. Said he spent much of his childhood alone.
Good at language but not sports or games. Went to Harvard and focused on psychology and social
How did he differ from Freud?
Meet Freud; considered his ascription of most behaviours to the unconscious motives as incorrect. He
wanted an alternative theory of motivation. Did not concur with Freud on sexuality either.
What is personality?
The dynamic organization within the individual of those psychophysical systems that determine his
characteristic behaviour and thought. Personality is not a concept but a real entity. Simply cannot be
What is the difference between a continuity and discontinuity theory of personality?
The first says that personality is the accumulation of skills, habits, discriminations and nothing really
new appears. They are closed systems. The latter says that there are true transformations and changes in
personality. With each changing letting the individual get to higher levels of organization. The first
suggests accumulation the other suggests reshaping and that change is qualitative not quantitative.
What are traits?
It is a biophysical and neuro-psychic structure. It determines a tendency or predisposition to respond to
the world in a certain way.
What are common traits?
A hypothetical construct that allows us to compare individuals within a given culture. Similar traits or
dispositions. A basis of comparison.
What are personal dispositions?
A general determining characteristic and is unique to the individual who has it. Describe a persons
uniqueness instead of allowing them to be placed into comparable categories. A cardinal disposition is
when a personal disposition is so pervasive that every behaviour seems to be influenced by it.
Secondary dispositions are specific and focused tendencies that are usually situational.
What is the proprium?
The central experiences of self awareness that people have as they grow and move forward. Defined in
terms of functions and things it does. There are seven proprium functions (bodily self, self-identity,
self-esteem, self-extension, self-image, self-as-rational-coper, propriate striving.
The child is a biologically dominated organism who seeks only to fulfill his desires. These transform
into psychologically mature adults. The adult emerges from the child and is no longer controlled by
him. Neurotics are the ones who do not emerge as adults from the child and continue to behave as such.
What is functional autonomy?
Adult motivation is not always tied to the past. May become a goal in itself regardless of original
intention. There may be historical ties but they are not always functional ties as well. There are two types; perseverative functional autonomy (repeated though have lost original function; compulsions,
addictions, ritualistic or routine behaviours) and propriate functional autonomy (acquired interests,
values, attitudes and etc. Selected by the person and organized into being consistent with self-
image/life-style). Not much behaviour is like the latter. Some are autonomous to a certain degree.
What are the six criteria for maturity?
Extension of the sense of self: participate in realms of human achievement. Embraces many interests.
Warm relating of self to others: Toleration of differences in others.
Emotional security (self-acceptance): do not wish to become someone else.
Realistic perceptions, skills, and assignments: Live in the real world.
Self-objectification (insight and humour): not threatened by their weaknesses.
Unifying philosophy of life: clear understanding of life goals and purposes.
Marked by high degree of separation from childhood and past. People are always in the process of
American psychology often focuses on the nomothetic approach; studying large groups to determine a
frequency of something and call the one that occurs most often; “normal”. He encouraged the
idiographic approach that centers on the individual.
Came up with the study of values scale. Examines individuality by measuring six common traits;
theoretical, aesthetic, social, political, religious, economic.
Coping aspect of behaviour versus expressive: what the act does to deal with or adapt to the task at
hand and how the act is done. Expressive behaviour is paid more attention to. This kind of behaviour
often has much consistency.
Extrinsic versus intrinsic motivations in religion; those motivated by external forces or from within.
There is a curvilinear relationship between relation and prejudice. Extrinsic attitude is correlated with
prejudice and intrinsic with low prejudice.
Thought his childhood evoked several Alderian themes.
Was self-reliant as a child and had pity for his mother.
Had no formal training in psychology.
Personology: personality is like a hypothesis that helps us account for peoples behaviour. Not a real
physical substance. It is dependant upon brain processes. People should take detailed and careful
studies of individuals’ lives.
Total behaviour can be separated into manageable units called proceeding (a short, significant
behaviour pattern that has a beginning and an end). Interactions between subject and another person or
object. Can be internal or external (imagined or real). Succession of proceedings make a serial. A
planned series of proceedings is a serial program (this leads towards a goal) They are governed by a
mental process known as ordination. It allows for us to develop schedules or plans for resolving things. Used Freud’s Id, Ego and Superego. Id also contained positive and negative impulses. Superego is an
internalized representation of the environment and indicates when, where, how and what needs can be
expressed. The ego is the organized, discriminating, time-binding, reasoning, resolving and more self-
conscious part of the personality.
Excessive research on human needs. A need is a construct representing a force in the brain that
organizes our perception, understanding, and behaviour in such a way as to change an unsatisfying
situation and increase our satisfaction.
May be aroused by internal or external state.
Can be inferred from typical behaviour effect or pattern, expression of specific emotion, signs of
satisfaction or dissatisfaction with effects of one’s behaviour. Can be confirmed with subjective
There are 20 basic ones. They are not always present in everyone and some are stronger than others.
Some needs are prepotent (become urgent if not satisfied).
13. Succorance – to seek help
15. Infavoidance – guard against embarrassment
16. Defendance – protect from abuse
18. Harm Avoidance
Press was the other side of the personality portrait. It is the forces from objects or persons within the
environment that help or hinder an individual in reaching goals. There are alpha press and beta press.
The first are actual properties or attributes of the environment. The later is an individual’s subjective
perception of the environment.
Liked the idiographic approach to personality. Believed multiple tests and indicators should be used to
assess personality. Developed the thematic apperception test. Consists of a selection of ambiguous
pictures. The subject is asked to make a story up for the picture. The story they tell suggests how the
subject thinks in relation to the physical and social environment. Spec