Allport preferred personality measures designed to examine the pattern of characteristics that are important to a person and that allow for comparison of the strengths of specific characteristics within the person rather than with other persons. The Study of Values (3d ed., 1960), which was developed by Allport, Philip Vernon, and Gardner Lindzey, measures a person's preference for the six value systems of theoretical, economic, social, political, aesthetic, and religious orientations. After rank ordering forty-five items, the individual receives feedback about the relative importance of the six orientations within himself or herself. Consistent with the emphasis on uniqueness, the scale does not facilitate comparisons between people. Although the language of this scale is somewhat outdated, it is still used for value clarification and the exploration of career and lifestyle goals.
Allport's research also focused on attitudes that are influenced by group participation, such as religious values and prejudice. Through the study of churchgoers' attitudes, he distinguished between extrinsic religion, or a conventional, self-serving approach, and intrinsic religion, which is based on internalized beliefs and efforts to act upon religious beliefs. Allport and his colleagues found that extrinsic churchgoers were more prejudiced than intrinsic religious churchgoers; however, churchgoers who strongly endorsed both extrinsic and intrinsic religion were even more prejudiced than either extrinsic or intrinsic religious church attenders. Allport also examined cultural, family, historical, and situational factors that influence prejudice.
Was this article helpful?