Motivational and Stylistic Dispositions

All personal dispositions are dynamic in the sense that they have motivational power. Nevertheless, some are much more strongly felt than others, and Allport called these intensely experienced dispositions motivational dispositions. These strongly felt dispositions receive their motivation from basic needs and drives. Allport (1961) referred to personal dispositions that are less intensely experienced as stylistic dispositions, even though these dispositions possess some motivational power. Stylistic dispositions guide action, whereas motivational dispositions initiate action. An example of a stylistic disposition might be neat and impeccable personal appearance. People are motivated to dress because of a basic need to stay warm, but the manner in which they attire themselves is determined by their stylistic personal dispositions. Motivational dispositions are somewhat similar to Maslow's concept of coping behavior, whereas stylistic dispositions are shnilar to Maslows idea of expressive behavior (see Chapter 10).

Unlike Maslow, who drew a clear line between coping and expressive behaviors, Allport saw no distinct division between motivational and stylistic personal dispositions. Although some dispositions are clearly stylistic, others are obviously based on a strongly felt need and are thus motivational. Politeness, for example, is a stylistic disposition, whereas eatmg is more motivational. How people eat (their style) depends at least partially on how hungry they are, but it also depends on the strength of their stylistic dispositions. A usually polite but hungry person may forego maimers while eating alone, but if the politeness disposition is strong enough and if others are present, then the famished person may eat with etiquette and courtesy despite behig famished.

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Responses

  • carter campbell
    What are stylistic dispositions?
    3 years ago

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