Chapter 7 theories of Personality

Chapter 7 theories of Personality - Chapter 7. Gordon...

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Chapter 7. Gordon Allport Corbis/Bettmann Chapter Outline Biographical Sketch What Is Personality? Character, Temperament, and Type Criteria for an Adequate Theory of Personality Allport’s Concept of Trait Types of Traits The Proprium Functional Autonomy The Healthy, Mature Adult Personality The Nature of Prejudice Religion Letters from Jenny Study of Expressive Behavior and Values Evaluation Summary Experiential Exercises Discussion Questions Gordon Allport was truly an eclectic theorist taking the best from a wide variety of other theories of personality. However, he was the first to criticize what he considered the worst in those theories. At one time or another, Allport took issue with psychoanalysis, behaviorism (stimulus–response [S-R] psychology), animal research designed to provide information about humans, and statistical methods of studying personality, such as factor analysis (see the theories of Cattell and Eysenck in the next chapter). Allport believed strongly that the principles governing the behavior of nonhuman animals or neurotic humans are different from those governing the behavior of healthy adult humans; therefore, little can be learned about one by studying the other. “Some theories of becoming are based largely upon the behavior of sick and anxious people or upon the antics of captive and desperate rats. Fewer theories have derived from the study of healthy human beings, those who strive not so much to preserve life as to make it worth living” (Allport, 1955, p. 18). We see in this statement a clear anticipation of what would become humanistic, or third-force, psychology (see Chapter 15). In fact, according to DeCarvalho (1991), Allport was the first to use the term humanistic psychology. Allport battled with any viewpoint in psychology that obscured human individuality or dignity. If one had to isolate the dominant theme running through all of Allport’s works, it is the importance of the individual. This theme put Allport in a position contrary to “scientific” psychology because it was considered the job of science to find the general laws governing all behavior. Science was interested in what is generally true, and Allport was interested in what is specifically true. Allport believed psychological research should have practical value, and in addition to his books on personality theory, he wrote: The Individual and His Religion (1950); The Nature of Prejudice (1958a); and The Psychology of Rumor (1947) with Leo Postman. 184 Biographical Sketch Gordon Allport was born in Montezuma, Indiana, on November 11, 1897, making him the first American-born personality theorist we discuss. Allport was the youngest of four sons. His father, John Edwards Allport, was a physician, and his mother, Nellie Edith Wise Allport, was a teacher, and both had a strong, positive influence on him. In his brief autobiography, he said: Chapter 7 1
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Chapter 7 theories of Personality - Chapter 7. Gordon...

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