Key Terms and Concepts

Chapter 13 Allport: Psychology of the Individual 371

In the fall of 1920, a 22-year-old American philosophy and economics student was visiting with an older brother in Vienna. During his visit, the young man penned a note to Sigmund Freud requesting an appointment. Freud then the worlds most famous psychiatrist, agreed to see the young man and suggested a specific time for a meeting.

The young American arrived at No. 19 Berggasse in plenty of tune for his appointment with Dr. Freud. At the designated time, Freud opened the door to his consulting room and quietly ushered the young man mside. The American visitor suddenly realized that he had nothing to say. Searching his mind for some incident that might mterest Freud he remembered seemg a small boy on the tram car that day while traveling to Freud's home. The little boy, about 4-years old , displayed an obvious dirt phobia, constantly complaining to his well-starched mother about the filthy conditions on the car. Freud listened silently to the story and then—with a typical Freudian technique—asked his young visitor if he was in reality talking about himself. Feeling guilty, the young man managed to change the subject and to escape without too much further embarrassment.

The American visitor to Freud's consulting room was Gordon Allport, and this encounter was the spark that ignited his mterest in personality theory. Back in the United States, Allport began to wonder if there might be room for a third approach to personality, one that borrowed from traditional psychoanalysis and animal-driven learning theories, but also one that adopted a more humanistic stance. Allport quickly completed work for a PhD in psychology and embarked on a long and distinguish career as a staunch advocate for the study of the individual.

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