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Flashcards in Allport's Personality Theory Deck (64):

Made personality an academically respectable topic; help bring personality into the mainstream and formulated a theory of personality development in which traits play a prominent role

Gordon Allport
Published Personality: A Psychological Interpretation in 1937


Allport suggested that emotionally health people function rationally and __, and that the __ is important only in the behavior of neurotic or disturbed persons. Abnormal personality functioned at __ level and psychologically healthy adults are unaffected by __ events.

Consciously; Unconscious; Infantile; Childhood


Another distinguishing feature of Allport's theory is his emphasis on the __ of personality as defined by each person's __. He argued that personality is not general or universal but is particular and __ to the individual.

Uniqueness; Traits; Specific


Allport's dissertation which was the first research conducted on personality trains in United States

An Experimental Study of the Traits of Personality (1920s)


To Allport, it is the dynamic organization within the individual of those psychophysical systems that determine characteristic behavior and thought

Allport reviewed some 50 definitions of personality before offering his own.


To Allport, a characteristic of personality that means that although personality is constantly changing and growing, the growth is organized, not random

Dynamic Organization


To Allport, a characteristic of personality which means that personality is composed of mind and body functioning together as a unit

Personality is neither all mental nor all biological.


Allport stated that __ provides the personality with raw materials (such as physique, intelligence, and temperament) that may be shaped, expanded or limited by the conditions of our __. However, our __ background is responsible for the major portion of our uniqueness.

Heredity; Environment; Genetic


To Allport, distinguishing characteristics that guide behavior; predispositions to respond in the same manner to different kinds of stimuli and consistent and enduring ways of reacting to our environment



Identify the characteristics of traits according to Allport

1. Traits are real and exist within each of us.
2. Traits determine or cause behavior.
3. Traits can be demonstrated empirically.
4. Traits are interrelated.
5. Traits vary with the situation.


Identify two types of traits according to Allport

Individual traits (unique to a person and define one's character)
Common traits (shared by a number of people, cu has members of a culture)


Likely to change over time as social standards and values change; subject to social, enviromental and cultural influences

Common traits


Allport later revised his terminology. He relabeled common traits as __ and individual traits as __.

Traits; Personal Dispositions


Identify the types of personal dispositions or individual traits

Cardinal traits (most pervasive and powerful human traits)
Central traits (handful of outstanding traits that describe a person's behavior)
Secondary traits (least important traits which a person may display inconspicuously and inconsistently)


Allport described it as a ruling passion, a powerful force that dominates behavior.

Cardinal trait


To Allport, whatever happened in the past is exactly that: past. It is no longer active and does not explain adult behavior unless it exists as a current __. He believed that the central problem for any personality theory is how it treats the concept of __.

Motivating force; Motivation


Allport's idea that motives in the normal, mature adult are independent of the childhood experiences in which they originally appeared

Functional Autonomy of Motives
Adult motives cannot be understood by exploring a person's childhood. The only way to understand them is to investigate why people behave as they do today.


The level of functional autonomy that relates to low-level and routine behaviors; concerned with such behaviors as addictions and repetitive physical actions

Perseverative Functional Autonomy


The level of functional autonomy that relates to our values, self-image and lifestyle

Propriate Functional Autonomy


Allport's term for the ego or self; determines which motives will be maintained and which will be discarded; includes those aspects of personality that are distinctive and thus appropriate to our emotional life

We retain motives that enhance our self-esteem or self-image. We enjoy doing what we do well.


Our propriate functioning is an organizing process that maintains our sense of self. Identify the 3 principles that determines how we perceive the world, what we remember from our experiences and how our thoughts are directed.

Organizing the energy level (how we acquire new motives)
Mastery and competence (level at which we choose to satisfy motives)
Propriate patterning (striving for consistency an integration of the personality)


Some behaviors, such as __, __, __ and behaviors arising from __, are not under the control of functionally autonomous motives.

Reflexes; Fixations; Neuroses; Biological Drives


Identify the 7 stages that desribe the nature and development of the proprium from infancy through adolescence

1. Bodily self (infants become aware of own existence)
2. Self-identity (identity remains intact despite many changes)
3. Self-esteem (take pride in one's accomplishments)
4. Extension of self (recognize objects and people part of one's own world)
5. Self-image (actual and idealized images; satisfying parental expectations)
6. Self as a rational coper (apply reason and logic to solution of everyday problems)
7. Propriate striving (formulate long-range goals and plans)


Identify Allport's six criteria or characteristics of the normal, mature, emotionally healthy, adult personality

1. Extension of self to other people and activities
2. A warm relating to others
3. Emotional security
4. A realistic perception of life, development of skills, commitment to work
5. Sense of humor and self-objectification
6. Unifying philosophy of life


To Allport, the ultimate and necessary goal of life is to __, impelling us to seek __ and __.

Increase tension; New sensations; Challenges


Allport's popular book which he talked about personality assessment techniques and concluded that there was no single best technique

Pattern and Growth in Personality (1961)


Enumerate 11 major methods for evaluating personality according to the list of Allport

Constitutional and physiological diagnosis
Cultural setting, membership, role
Personal documents and case studies
Conduct analysis
Tests and scales
Projective techniques
Depth analysis
Expressive behavior
Synoptic procedures


A method of personality assessment that involves the study of a person's written or spoken records; Allport relied heavily on this method

Personal-Document Technique
(involves examining diaries, autobiographies, letters, literary compositions and other samples)


A more sophisticated and quantitative approach than Allport's subjective analysis of the personal-document technique

Computer Analysis


An objective self-report assessment test constructed by Allport and colleagues which was used to determine personality traits and strongly held interests and motivations that served the basis of one's unifying philosophy in life

Study of Values


Identify Allport's categories of values

Theoretical values (discovery of truth; empirical, intellectual and rational approach to life)
Economic values (useful and practical)
Aesthetic values (artistic experiences and form, harmony and grace)
Social values (human relationships, altruism and philanthropy)
Political values (personal power, influence and prestige in all endeavors)
Religious values (mystical and understanding universe as a whole)


Identify the 2 approaches for studying personality

Idiographic approach (study of individual case)
Nomothetic approach (study large samples of subjects through statistical analysis)


Spontaneous and seemingly purposeless behavior, usually displayed without our conscious awareness

Expressive Behavior


Consciously planned behavior determined by the needs of a given situation and designed for a specific purpose, usually to bring about a change in one's environment

Coping Behavior


Researcher who identified facial expressions of seven emotions and developed a coding system based on analysis of 43 facial muscles

Paul Ekman
(seven emotions are anger, contempt, disgust, fear, sadness, surprise and happiness)


The coding system developed by Ekman and colleagues at the Human Interaction Laboratory that is currently being used in the US by police departments, as well as the CIA and FBI

Facial Action Coding System (FACS)


Often considered to be one of the first psychologists to bring humanistic values and concerns to the field

Gordon Allport


Personality theorist who emphasized the uniqueness of the individual; known for spelling out 50 definitions of personality

Gordon Allport
He was a social "isolate" who fashioned his own circle of activities. He taught the first personality course offered in American college.


Allport considered himself a __ theorist/psychologist while Eysenck, McCrae and Costa were __ theorists

Humanistic; Trait


Allport called the study of the individual as __ (synonymous to idiographic approach)

Morphogenic Science


Allport defined personality as the __ within the individual of those __ systems that __ his characteristic __. (first in 1937, revised in 1961)

Personality is the DYNAMIC ORGANIZATION within the individual of those PSYCHOPHYSICAL systems that DETERMINE his characteristic BEHAVIOR AND THOUGHT.


To Allport, psychologically mature people are characterized by __ behavior; that is, they not only react to external stimuli, but they are capable of consciously acting on their environment in new and innovative ways and causing their environment to react to them.



To Allport, mature personalities are motivated by __ processes or motivation while disturbed ones are motivated by __ processes.

Conscious; Unconscious


Identify Allport's 6 criteria for the mature personality

1. Extension of the sense of self
2. Warm relating of self to others
3. Emotional security or self-acceptance
4. Realistic perception
5. Insight and humor (self-objectification)
6. Unifying pholosophy of life


To Allport, the structure of personality or its basic units or building blocks that permit the description of the person in terms of individual characteristics are called __.

Personal Dispositions


__ are general characteristics held in common by many people while __ generalized neuropsychic structure (peculiar to the individual) with the capacity to render many stimuli functionally equivalent, and to initiate and guide consistent (equivalent) forms of adaptive and stylistic behavior

Common traits; Personal dispositions


To identify personal dispositions, Allport and __ counted nearly 18,000 personally descriptive words in the 1925 edition of __.

Henry Odbert; Webster's New International Dictionary


To Allport, __ are relatively stable characteristics (ex. social or introverted) while __ describe temporary characteristics (ex. happy or angry)

Traits; States


Identify the levels of personal dispositions according to Allport

Cardinal dispositions (eminent characteristic or ruling passion that dominates life)
Central dispositions (5 to 10 most outstanding characteristics which life focuses)
Secondary dispositions (less conspicuous but far greater in number and occur with some regularity)


All personal dispositions are dynamic in the sense that they have motivational power. Some are much more strongly felt than others and Allport called these intensely experienced dispositions __ which received their motivation from basic needs and drives and work to initiate action. Less intensely experienced personal dispositions are called __ and they work to __ action.

Motivational dispositions; Initiate; Stylistic dispositions; Guide


To Allport, behaviors and characteristics that people regard as warm, central and important in their lives; it is the warm center of personality and includes those aspects of life important to a sense of self-identity and self-enhancement; also includes values and part of the conscience that is personal and consistent with one's adult beliefs

(all characteristics that are "peculiarly mine")


Identify behaviors that do not belong to the proprium

Basic drives and needs ordinarily met and satisfied without much difficulty
Tribal customs
Habitual behaviors


In terms of motivation, Allport stated that __ are those that reduce a need whereas __ seek to maintain tension and disequilibrium.

Peripheral motives; Propriate strivings


__ or homeostatic behaviors refer to people as being motivated primarily by needs to reduce tension; __ behavior refer to people consciously acting on their environment in a manner that permits growth toward psychological health

Reactive; Proactive


Most distinctive and controversial postulate of Allport which serves as his explanation for the myriad human motives that seemingly are not accounted for by hedonistic or drive-reduction principles; adult motives are built primarily on conscious, self-sustaining, contemporary systems

Functional Autonomy
(Some, but not all, human motives are functionally independent from the original motive responsible for the behavior.)


Identify Allport's requirements of an adequate theory of motivation

1. Will acknowledge the contemporaneity of motives
2. Pluralistic theory - allowing for motives of many types
3. Ascribe dynamic forces to cognitive processes
4. Will allow for the concrete uniqueness of motives


Allport defined __ as any acquired system of motivation in which the tensions involved are not of the same kind as the antecedent tensions from which the acquired system developed

Functional Autonomy


Identify the two levels of functional autonomy

Perseverative functional autonomy (more elementary; based on simple neurological principles; habits and behaviors not related ro proprium)
Propriate functional autonomy (master system of motivation; self-sustaining motives related to the proprium)


Identify Allport's 8 processes that are not functionally autonomous

Biological drives
Motives directly linked to reduction of basic drives
Reflex actions
Constitutional equipment (physique, intelligence, temperament)
Habits in the process of being formed
Patterns of behavior that require primary reinforcement
Sublimations tied to childhood sexual desires
Some neurotic or pathological symptoms


TRUE OR FALSE: To Allport, compulsions that can be eliminated through therapy or behavior modification are not functionally autonomous whereas those that are extremely resistant to therapy are self-sustaining and thus functionally autonomous.



Allport's morphogenic approach to the study of lives is best illustrated in his famous __.

Letters of Jenny
(prior to this, Allport studied the diaries of Marion Taylor)


TRUE OR FALSE: Allport maintained a lifelong active interest in the scientific study of religion.



Allport was also responsible for developing the __ which was aimed in developing ways to reduce racial prejudice.

Contact Hypothesis


Identify the optimal conditions stated in Allport's contact hypothesis

1. Equal status between two groups
2. Common goals
2. Cooperation between groups
4. Support of an authority figure, law or custom