Basic Assumptions in Human Nature


Purpose of Site

Biography of Gordon Allport
Early Life
Growing Up
Late Life

His Work
Pattern and Growth in Personality

His Theories
Concept of Trait

The Propium
Human Nature
The Study of Values

Further Information
Other book titles

In regards to Allport's concept of human nature, there is a strong resemblance to Eric Erickson's idea of Lifespan Development.  At each stage of our life there is a life-long battle against the basic psychoanalytic and behavioristic conceptions of human nature (Hjelle and Ziegler p.192-197).  There are a total of eight stages, they are as follows:

1.  Freedom-Determinism, here he leaned more towards the idea of freedom.

2.  Rationality-Irrationality, he felt that we were more rational than irrational.

3.  Holism-Elemetalism, to which he favored Holism,

4.  Constitutionalism-Environmentalism, Allport believed in a balance between the two.

5.  Subjectivity-Objectivity, although this was nearly balanced, he favored subjectivity. 

6.  Proactivity-Reactivity, he favored proactivity, in which he described as being the cement which holds a person's life together.

7.  Homeostasis-Heterostasis, here he favored heterostasis, which he defined as a more humanistic approach, where as homeostasis was more animalistic.

8.  Knowability-Unknownablity, Allport favored knowability because he believed that it is possible to study certain aspects of human behavior and functioning.

-Hjelle and Ziegler (p. 193-197)

Allports work differed here with that of Erickson's because Allport believed that we leaned towards one or the other.  Erickson on the other hand, believed humans to be caught in the middle.