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20 Cards in this Set

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  • Back
opportunistic functioning.
One thing that motivates human beings is the tendency to satisfy biological survival needs.

He noted that it can be characterized as reactive, past-oriented, and, of course, biological.
propriate functioning.
Most human behavior is motivated by functioning in a manner expressive of the self -- which he called propriate functioning. Most of what we do in life is a matter of being who we are!

Propriate functioning can be characterized as proactive, future-oriented, and psychological.
Allport’s name for that essential concept, the self. He had reviewed hundreds of definitions for that concept and came to feel that, in order to more scientific, it would be necessary to dispense with the common word self and substitute something else. For better or worse, the word proprium never caught on.
The self has seven functions, which tend to arise at certain times of one’s life:
1. Sense of body
2. Self-identity
3. Self-esteem
4. Self-extension
5. Self-image
6. Rational coping
7. Propriate striving
Sense of body
develops in the first two years of life. We have one, we feel its closeness, its warmth. It has boundaries that pain and injury, touch and movement, make us aware of. Allport had a favorite demonstration of this aspect of self: Imagine spitting saliva into a cup -- and then drinking it down! What’s the problem? It’s the same stuff you swallow all day long! But, of course, it has gone out from your bodily self and become, thereby, foreign to you.
also develops in the first two years. There comes a point were we recognize ourselves as continuing, as having a past, present, and future. We see ourselves as individual entities, separate and different from others. We even have a name! Will you be the same person when you wake up tomorrow? Of course -- we take that continuity for granted.
develops between two and four years old. There also comes a time when we recognize that we have value, to others and to ourselves. This is especially tied to a continuing development of our competencies. This, for Allport, is what the “anal” stage is really all about!
develops between four and six. Certain things, people, and events around us also come to be thought of as central and warm, essential to my existence. “My” is very close to “me!” Some people define themselves in terms of their parents, spouse, or children, their clan, gang, community, college, or nation. Some find their identity in activities: I’m a psychologist, a student, a bricklayer. Some find identity in a place: my house, my hometown. When my child does something wrong, why do I feel guilty? If someone scratches my car, why do I feel like they just punches me?
also develops between four and six. This is the “looking-glass self,” the me as others see me. This is the impression I make on others, my “look,” my social esteem or status, including my sexual identity. It is the beginning of what conscience, ideal self, and persona.
Rational coping
learned predominantly in the years from six till twelve. The child begins to develop his or her abilities to deal with life’s problems rationally and effectively. This is analogous to Erikson’s “industry.”
Propriate striving
doesn’t usually begin till after twelve years old. This is my self as goals, ideal, plans, vocations, callings, a sense of direction, a sense of purpose. The culmination of propriate striving, according to Allport, is the ability to say that I am the proprietor of my life -- i.e. the owner and operator!

(One can't help but notice the time periods Allport uses -- they are very close to the time periods of Freud's stages! But please understand that Allport's scheme is not a stage theory -- just a description of the usual way people develop.)
personal dispositions
A personal disposition is defined as “a 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.”

A personal disposition produces equivalences in function and meaning between various perceptions, beliefs, feelings, and actions that are not necessarily equivalent in the natural world, or in anyone else’s mind. A person with the personal disposition “fear of communism” may equate Russians, liberals, professors, strikers, social activists, environmentalists, feminists, and so on. He may lump them all together and respond to any of them with a set of behaviors that express his fear: making speeches, writing letters, voting, arming himself, getting angry, etc.

Another way to put it is to say that dispositions are concrete, easily recognized, consistencies in our behaviors.

Allport believes that traits are essentially unique to each individual
Central traits
the building blocks of your personality. When you describe someone, you are likely to use words that refer to these central traits: smart, dumb, wild, shy, sneaky, dopey, grumpy.... He noted that most people have somewhere between five and ten of these
common traits
ones that are a part of that culture, that everyone in that culture recognizes and names. In our culture, we commonly differentiate between introverts and extraverts or liberals and conservatives, and we all know (roughly) what we mean. But another culture may not recognize these. What, for example, would liberal and conservative mean in the middle ages?
secondary traits
Preferences, attitudes, situational traits are all secondary. For example, “he gets angry when you try to tickle him,” “she has some very unusual sexual preferences,” and “you can’t take him to restaurants.”
cardinal traits.
These are the traits that some people have which practically define their life. Someone who spends their life seeking fame, or fortune, or sex is such a person. Often we use specific historical people to name these cardinal traits: Scrooge (greed), Joan of Arc (heroic self-sacrifice), Mother Teresa (religious service), Marquis de Sade (sadism), Machiavelli (political ruthlessness), and so on. Relatively few people develop a cardinal trait. If they do, it tends to be late in life.
7 char of Psychological maturity
1. Specific, enduring extensions of self, i.e. involvement.
2. Dependable techniques for warm relating to others (e.g. trust, empathy, genuineness, tolerance...).
3. Emotional security and self-acceptance.
4. Habits of realistic perception (as opposed to defensiveness).
5. Problem-centeredness, and the development of problem-solving skills.
6. Self-objectification -- insight into one’s own behavior, the ability to laugh at oneself, etc.
7. A unifying philosophy of life, including a particular value orientation, differentiated religious sentiment, and a personalized conscience.
functional autonomy:
Your motives today are independent (autonomous) of their origins.
perseverative functional autonomy
This refers essentially to habits -- behaviors that no longer serve their original purpose, but still continue. You may have started smoking as a symbol of adolescent rebellion, for example, but now you smoke because you can’t quit! Social rituals such as saying “bless you” when someone sneezes had a reason once upon a time (during the plague, a sneeze was a far more serious symptom than it is today!), but now continues because it is seen as polite.
Propriate functional autonomy is
something a bit more self-directed than habits. Values are the usual example. Perhaps you were punished for being selfish when you were a child. That doesn’t in any way detract from your well-known generosity today -- it has become your value!