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Gordon Allport Morphogenic Psychology and Early Trait Theory Brief Biography of Gordon Allport lBorn 1897 in Indiana reared by parents in atmosphere of strict religious severity and hard work l l1915 Entered Harvard in footsteps of older brother Floyd Allport social psychololgist l l1919-1920 taught English in Turkish public schools l l1920 wrote and met S Freud a turning point in Allports life Allport dedicated himself to developing an alternative personality theory l l1937 published his theory in Personality A Psychological Interpretation l lBecame known as the father of American personality psychology Allports Fundamental Question How shall a psychological life history be written What processes and what structures must a full-bodied account of personality include How can one detect unifying threads in a life if they exist - Allport 1968 Twins Domains of Allports Theory lNomothetic domain covers what is common to all humans l lIdiographic domain covers what is specific to the individual Allports Criticism of Previous Personality Theories eg Freudian Conditioning Theories lMade humans too reactive and ignored how proactive they were l lToo much emphasis on the unconscious a complete understanding of personality requires knowledge of what the person himself is aware of and thinks about himself goals values self-evaluation l lMost motives arent products of hidden impulses or conditioning history but are guided by conscious goals as influenced by ones dispositions traits l lMany motives are not deficit motives they are growth motives with functional autonomy Examples of Functional Autonomy lPerseverative functional autonomy acquired drives Addictions Circular behavior OCD infant spoon-dropping Zeigarnik effects lPropriate self-image-related functional autonomy Need to keep busy Urge toward mastery and competence Need to do things consistent with self-image Allports Concept of Traits A trait is a neuropsychic structure having the capacity to render many stimuli functionally equivalent and to initiate and guide equivalent meaningfully consistent forms of adaptive and expressive behavior - Allport 1961 Some of Allports Nomothetic Traits Common Traits lInstincts
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