Gordon Allport’s Personality Trait Theory
Counseling and Psychological Therapy
Alcorn State University
December 5, 2012
The aim of this research is to explore Gordan Allport’s Personality Trait Theory and to discuss how his theory closely mirrors my personal beliefs as it relates to me becoming a professional School Counselor. As we sit and look around us, we observe the great variety of personality traits among people. For instances, there are a lot of people who are very outgoing and fun-oriented, while, on the other hand, other people are more quiet. It is from these observation that we can gather that everybody is gifted with a unique personality. The question always arises in my head: "Can we model, at least approximately, human personality?" When discussing any type of development, most theorists break it down into specific stages. These stages are typically progressive. In other words, you must pass through one stage before you can get to the next. Think about how you learned to run; first you had to learn to crawl, then you could learn to walk, and finally you could develop the skills needed to run. Without the first two stages, running would be impossibility. Allport is one of those theorists who were so right about so many things that his ideas have simply passed on into the spirit of the times. His theory is one of the first humanistic theories, and would influence many others, including Kelly, Maslow, and Rogers. One unfortunate aspect of his theory is his original use of the word trait, which brought down the wrath of a number of situation ally oriented behaviorists who would have been much more open to his theory if they had bothered to understand it. But that has always been a weakness of psychology in general and personality in particular: Ignorance of the past and the theories and research of others.
What is Personality
Personality is a trait that we describe and assess everyday of people around us. Whether we realize it or not, these daily assessments are analyzed daily without us knowingly doing so. While our informal assessments of personality tend to focus more on individuals, personality psychologists instead use conceptions of personality that can apply to everyone. Personality research has led to the development of a number of theories that help explain how and why certain personality traits are developed.
Personalities are clearly unique due to the fact that we all have our own personalities that are different from other people. While a person’s personality is considered unchangeable over short periods of time, they are not so set in stone over longer periods of time and may change. In the studying of the development of one’s personality, theorists debated over nature versus nurture. Within the nature versus nurture debate it suggests that a person’s genes and the environment a person grows up in are dueling factions. The purpose of the debate was to try and discover which one was more important than the other. Today, most psychologists have come to evenly agree that both are needed for personality development, they both contribute to help making us who we are. In determining personality contributors there are several influential factors; culture, heredity, family, life experiences, and human interaction. There are genetic factors that do play a role in certain aspects of what we eventually become, short or tall, healthy or inherited health problems, characteristics linked to heredity. How we learn to deal with other people and their reactions towards us and genetic traits also help us develop our personalities. For this particular research, I will discuss Gordon Allport’s Personality Trait Theory and how I feel it applies to me becoming a counselor and other social settings. Theorist
I based my research on the Personality Theory by Gordon Allport. Allport was the father of the Personality Trait Theory. I chose Allport because his optimistic...
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