Gordon Allport: Father of personality theory
Gordon Allport (1897-1967) is often called the father of personality
theory: He was very much a trait theorist and believed in the
individuality and uniqueness of the person and that people have
Allport attempted to blend nomothetic and idiographic perspectives: he
called this blend the morphogenic approach.
Allport believed that each person had traits of various types:
Individual: traits possessed by one person
Common: traits possessed by many people
Cardinal traits: One trait that dominates the person
Central traits: small number of traits important traits that may
affect many behaviours
Secondary traits: many consistent traits which are not often
Motivational traits: Very strongly felt traits
Stylistic traits: Less strongly felt traits.
Allport believed that through autobiographies, letters and diaries an
understanding of an individualís personality could be gained. He studied
301 letters written by Jenny Gove Masterson and was able to describe
Jenny in terms of 8 traits.