personality - Alicia Deal Gordon Allport Psy431 Extra...

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Alicia Deal Psy431 10-14-03 Extra Credit Gordon Allport : Allport was a trait theorist who contributed to the science of psychology by introducing original concepts and methodologies and a new a way of viewing psychology. Allport made advancements in the area of personality. He defined personality as “the dynamic organization within the individual of those psychophysical systems that determine his characteristic behavior and thought.” “Dynamic organization” means that personality, although it is always organized, it is also always constantly changing. In other words, personality is not something that is but rather something that is becoming. In Allport's case, “psychophysical systems” mean that personality is “neither exclusively mental nor exclusively biological.” “The organization entails the operation of both body and mind, inextricably fused into a personal unit.” By “determine” Allport was arguing that personality actually does exist; it is not a figment of one's imagination. Further, Allport believed that personality is “what lies behind specific acts and within the individual.” “Characteristic behavior and thought” was changed from its original definition, “unique adjustments to the environment” because Allport thought that the original definition implied to heavily on survival and the satisfaction of biological needs. The new meaning would cover “ all behavior and thought whether or not they were related to adaption to the environment.” Because Allport believed that everyone's personality is unique and distinct from everyone else's, he stated that the only way to study personality was to do so by studying and analyzing case studies, or just one particular person instead of focusing on groups and then applying that to one individual. In order for a theory of personality to be credible, Allport stated that there were five criteria that such a theory must possess. It must view personality as contained within the person, view person as filled with variables that contribute to his/her actions, seek motives for behavior in present instead of past, employ units of measure capable of “living synthesis”, and adequately account for self-awareness. 7
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Alicia Deal Psy431 10-14-03 Extra Credit Allport believe that the trait was the adequate unit of measure capable of “living synthesis.” A trait is defined as “a mental structure that initiates and guides reactions and thus accounts for the consistency in one's behavior.” Thus traits cause a person to react to similar environmental circumstances in a similar way. Allport identified two different traits: individual traits and common traits. Individual traits are those possessed by the individual, more specifically the unique pattern of traits that an individual possesses. Common traits are those that are shared by several individuals. When someone is describing an individual, those traits used to describe his/her are individual traits. When someone is describing a group of individuals, those traits used to describe them are common traits. Later, Allport
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personality - Alicia Deal Gordon Allport Psy431 Extra...

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