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Dispositional Trait Theory

Emphasized conscious motivation; "we are in drivers seat"

Allport's personality definition:

the dynamic organization within the individual of those psychophysical systems that determine one's unique adjustment to one's environment


represent both the structure and the dynamics of personality; are hypothetical concepts (not tangible)

Common Traits

shaped by cultural norms and values, ex: cooperative vs competetive societies

Personal Dispositions: Cardinal Disposition

An extreme, all pervasive characteristic ex: extreme desire for power

Central Disposition

Highly characteristic of the individual

Seconday Disposition

Situational specific; large in number

The Proprium

Consists of various self-functions or ego-functions, known as the propriate functions, favilitates and motivates behavior. Not innate, developed oer time, emphasis on forward movement


Sense of bodily self, continuing self identity, self esteem, and pride

4-6 yrs

extention of self, a more refined self image, extending self outward into posessions ex: "my toy", begining to own posessions

6-12 yrs

greater self awareness, coping by means of reason and thought


intentions, long range purposes, distant goals "propriate strivings"

Functional autonomy

an activity or behavior may become an end or goal in itself, despite the fact that it was originally engaged in for some other reason
ex: fishing-originally for survival, now may be hobby. knitting, hunting, gardening

Propriate Functional Autonomy

Acquired interests, self enhancement, values clarification

Perservative functional autonomy

addictions, circular mechanisms (not self preservaton or self enhancement), behavior is reinforcing, conditioning cues

Nomothetic approach

general classes or categories, larges #s. common approach in psych

ideographic approach

examine uniqueness of single individual; focus on one person in detail, favored by Allport

single subject research designs

are consistent with Allport's reccomendation that psychologists conduct more idiographic research

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