Proprium

Whether motivational or stylistic, some personal dispositions are close to the core of personality, whereas others are more on the periphery. Those that are at the center of personality are experienced by the person as being an important part of self. They are characteristics that an individual refers to in such terms as "That is me" or "This is mine." All characteristics that are "peculiarly mine" belong to the proprium (All-port, 1955).

Allport used the term proprium to refer to those behaviors and characteristics that people regard as warm, central, and important hi their lives. The proprium is not the whole personality, because many characteristics and behaviors of a person are not warm and central; rather, they exist on the periphery of personality. These non-propriate behaviors include (1) basic drives and needs that are ordinarily met and satisfied without much difficulty; (2) tribal customs such as wearhig clothes, saying "hello" to people, and driving on the right side of the road; and (3) habitual behaviors, such as smoking or brushing one's teeth, that are performed automatically and that are not crucial to the person's sense of self.

As the warm center of personality, the proprium includes those aspects of life that a person regards as important to a sense of self-identity and self-enhancement (Allport, 1955). The proprium includes a person's values as well as that part of the conscience that is personal and consistent with one's adult beliefs. A generalized conscience—one shared by most people within a given culture—may be only peripheral to a person's sense of personhood and thus outside that person's proprium.

Most people, Allport believed, are motivated by present drives rather than by past events and are aware of what they are domg and have some understanding of why they are doing it. He also contended that theories of motivation must consider the differences between peripheral motives and propriate strivings. Peripheral motives are those that reduce a need, whereas propriate strivings seek to maintain tension and disequilibrium. Adult behavior is both reactive and proactive, and an adequate theory of motivation must be able to explain both.

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