3. He takes the biological approach to an extent and mentions
about how children are born with reflexes and as they use
the reflexes continuously, how in course of time these
reflexes become a habit and how habits by indulging in
them continuously turn into traits, which are relatively
permanent entities in the individual and which are reflected
in the individual’s many behaviours in many different
Gordon Willard Allport was born on November 11, 1897, in
Montezuma,Indiana, the fourth and youngest son of John E. Allport
and Nellie Wise Allport.
Concept of Personality:
Allport emphasized the
uniqueness of the
individual. He believed
that attempts to
describe people in terms
of general traits rob
them of their unique
Gordon Allport put forward the concept of traits in
4. Structure of Personality:
The structure of
personality refers to
its basic units or
building blocks. It is
represented in terms
of traits, and at the
same time, behavior
is motivated or
driven by traits. Intentions
TraitThe Propium 04
of the various
“Personality is the dynamic organization within the individual of those
psychophysical systems that determine his characteristic behavior and thought.”
and the physical
All facets of
Marked with a
no one else can
(Allport, 1961, p. 28).
Definition of Personality:
What is Personality:
Personality is both physical and psychological; it includes both overt behaviors and
covert thoughts; it not only is something, but it does something.
Personality is both substance and change, both product and process, both structure and
growth. Thus, each person is unique.
Character implied some code of behavior in terms of which individuals or their acts
are appraised. It is an ethical concept. For describing the character of individual the
word good or bad is employed.
Temperament means those dispositions that are closely linked to biological or
physiological determinants and that consequently show relatively little modification
with development. It is the raw material along with intelligence and physique out of
which personality is fashioned.
Some people possess
ruling passion so
outstanding that it
dominates their lives.
5 to 10 outstanding
which a person’s life
Less conspicuous but
far greater in number
Guide a action
8. 2.3 Intentions
Allport concluded that human behavior is not determined by prior causes,
instead it is guided by our intentions. It involves both an emotional want and a
plan to satisfy it that is directed toward some future goal.
The proprium includes a person’s values as well as that part of the
conscience that is personal and consistent with one’s adult beliefs.
Eight different aspects of the proprium:
9. Dynamics of Personality:
1 2 3
There are various factors that underlying the functioning of an
individual’s personality. In order to understand the personality of an
individual there are three basic concepts as underlying dynamics of
personality and these are :
10. 3.1 Functional Autonomy
“Functional autonomy regards adult motives as varied and as self-
sustaining, contemporary systems growing out of antecedent systems but
functionally independent of them.”
(Allport, 1961, p. 227)
11. Infact all the conscious motivations are somehow influenced by
desires hidden in the unconscious.
Allport claimed that a mature normal adult’s personality is fully in
control of the conscious.
He refuted Freud’s claim that ego does not have energy of its own and
personality is controlled by the unconscious.
Allport in his theory laid emphasis on conscious motivation stating
that an adult individual is fully aware of what he is doing. But he also
gave due recognition to the concept of unconscious motivation.
3.2 Conscious and Unconscious Motivation
12. 3.3 Psychological Maturity
Self to Others
The Sense of
13. 3.4 Study of Values
Focus on the discovery of truth, and interests.
Focus on usefulness and being practical.
Focus on form and harmony.
Focus on the altruistic love of others.
Focus on power over others and social recognition.
Focus on unity.6. Religious:
14. Evaluation Of Theory :
It is grounded more in
philosophical speculations and
common sense than in scientific
Allport attributed too much credit to
what goes on inside the organism
and not enough credit to the
seductive and constraining impact
of external forces.
Critics also point to the
idiographic approach taken to the
personality taken by allport.
“The fallacy of the unique personality”
represents a major disagreement
between allport’s beliefs and those of
most contemporary social scientists.
This theory does not mention how
an original motive develops into a
functionally autonomous motive.
Functional autonomy is a concept
that can’t be manipulated in
4.1 Critics of The Theory
15. 4.2 Relevance of The Theory
Allport’s view that people are
shaped more by future
expectations than by past events
is congenial with a hopeful and
It emphasis on uniqueness, and
focus on the importance of
goals are reﬂected in the work
of the humanistic psychologists.
Making the study of personality
academically respectable and
emphasizing the role of genetic
factors within a trait approach to
The role of individual traits in
an adequate theory of
personality remains highly
relevant and provocative to the
present day for personality
Allport presented an optimistic
image of human nature and
emphasized the uniqueness of
Allport’s theory is
comprehensive in the sense
that it is incredibly eclectic.
Allport’s approach to
personality is both stimulating
16. Allport’s theory is considered humanistic in one
sense and personalistic in another sense. He combines
the opposites in his theory such as objectivity and
subjectivity, rationality and irrationality etc.
Allport's approach to human psychology combined
the empirical influence of the behaviorists with the
acknowledgment that unconscious influences could
also play a role in human behavior.
. So this theory of personality is considered
pioneering work in the personality field. It relied on
statistical data rather than on the personal experience
of the individuals.
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