According to Allport, the individual’s personality traits (later changed to personal dispositions) Are generalized neuropsychic system (peculiar to an individual), with the capacity to render many stimuli functionally equivalent, and to initiate and guide consistent (equivalent) forms of adaptive and expressive behaviour”. 1961, p.373). These three level of dispositions are: Cardinal dispositions which are traits that dominate an individual’s whole life: Central dispositions which are the general characteristics that form the basic foundations of personality. Secondary dispositions: These are the traits that are sometimes related to attitudes or preferences.
Allport regarded proprium as self- concept that has developmental stages unfolding of self being; The Sense of Bodily Self; The Sense of Self-identity; The Sense of Self-Esteem or Pride; The Sense of Self-Extension; The Self-Image; The Sense of Self as a Rational-Coper; Propriate Striving. All these stages maintains our sense of self and the behaviours and characteristics that we deem central to our lives. It also determines how we perceive the world and what we remember from our experiences.
Functional autonomy is any acquired system of motivation in which the tensions involved are not the same kind as antecedent tensions from which the acquire system developed (1961, p.229. It simply means that adult motives are not related to past motives. The past is past, there are no strings attached. Two types of functional autonomy being; Perseverative functional autonomy: “repetitious activities in which one blindly engages, and that once served a purpose but no longer do so” (Hergenhahn ; Olson, 2007, p.200). Propriety functional autonomy is the level of functional autonomy that relates to our values, self-image, and lifestyle. This is an organizing process that includes organizing, mastery and competence, and patterning which describes a striving for consistency and integration of the personality
According to Allport personality is the dynamic organization within the individual of those psychophysical systems that determine his unique adjustments to the environment (Allport, 1961, p.28). The definition emphasize the uniqueness of the individual and consequently adopt an idiographic view which assumes that each person has a unique psychological structure and that some traits are possessed by only one person; and that there are times when it is impossible to compare one person with others. Allport (1937) believes that personality is biologically determined at birth, and shaped by a person’s environmental experience.
Allport (1975) emphasized in mature, healthy adults the role of propriety functional autonomy therefore his theory is not to explain psychopathology thus not treatment offered. However he did not regard the mentally ill as necessarily without functional autonomy. He maintained that maladaptation may sometimes become so tightly structured and firmly entrenched that it actually represent the person’s style of Life. In that event, Allport regarded the illness as an acquired and functionally autonomous motivational system with contemporary meaning to the person in its own right. Such a system, in Allport’s view, is probably not amenable to so called depth analysis. However he believed, that in the cases where the person’s maladaptive life-style had not achieved functional autonomy. Then the illness may yield to conventional therapeutic procedures. The mature person in Allport’s view has the capacity of self-extension and can relate warmly with both intimate and casual relationships. Such persons are emotionally secure, accepting of others, and aware of reality in their thinking, perceiving,-and acting.