The following text is © 1997 Robert Wozniak. All hyperlinked text links to footnotes located at the bottom of the document.


Floyd Henry Allport and the Social Psychology

Robert H. Wozniak
Bryn Mawr College

Born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin in 1890, Floyd H. Allport (1890-1971) was the second in a family of four children-all boys.[1] His father, a physician/entrepreneur, combined a general medical practice with a variety of business endeavors (founding a cooperative drug company, building and renting apartments, and the construction and supervision of hospitals). His mother, who had been a school teacher, was a devout Methodist; and the Allport home was remembered as a "peaceful but sheltered place with kindness exhibited on every hand." [2]

During Allport's childhood, the family moved from Wisconsin to Ohio, first to Streetsboro, then to Hudson, and eventually to Glenville (Cleveland). After graduating from Glenville High, Allport traveled to Cambridge to enroll at Harvard. With the exception of approximately two years between completion of undergraduate and inception of graduate study and a brief stint in the Field Artillery during World War I, Allport remained at Harvard until 1922, taking his A.B. degree in 1914, his Ph.D. in 1919, and serving as an Instructor in psychology from 1919 to 1922.

Harvard psychology, in these years, was still housed in the combined philosophy-psychology department. Until his sudden death on the podium at Radcliffe, Hugo Mčnsterberg (1863-1916) was a significant presence within the department, and it was he who advised Allport to focus his dissertation research on a comparison of the performance of individuals acting alone to that of their acting in groups. William McDougall (1871-1938), who arrived in 1920 to fill the chair left vacant after Mčnsterberg's death, was, as Allport put it, "uncongenial to my line of thinking since...[he] seemed to me to lack a suitable criterion and basis in physical reality." [3] Indeed, it may have been Allport or someone quite like him that McDougall had in mind when he described his reception at Harvard in the following terms:

"I found Behaviorism ascendant and rampant. I found that though my Social Psychology had enjoyed before the war a much larger vogue than I had realized, it and I were now back-numbers, relics of a bygone and superseded age... Another difficulty which I had not foreseen was that the numerous graduate students...with very few exceptions...had been taught some form of mechanistic psychology, with the consequence that they looked upon me and my outlandish theories with suspicion..." [4]

If behaviorism was rampant among Harvard graduate students in 1920, one important source of the prevalent attitude must surely have been the lingering influence of Edwin Bissell Holt (1873-1946). [5] Although Holt had resigned his faculty position in 1918 to "retire" to an island in Maine, his influence among Harvard students, undergraduate and graduate, had been great. [6] Indeed, of those on the Harvard faculty known to have influenced Allport during his student years, Holt was possibly the most significant. [7]

Holt had taken his own undergraduate and graduate work at Harvard and remained there, first as an instructor, then as an assistant professor of psychology, until his resignation. By 1909, he had already completed the manuscript for a book, The Concept of Consciousness,[8] that developed the relational view of consciousness articulated by William James (1842-1910) in his famous paper, Does consciousness exist?" [9] From 1909 to 1915, he continued to develop this conception in two directions.

Becoming interested in psychopathology, Holt attended the famous "Freud Conference" at Clark University in 1909[10] and began to experiment with a response set reanalysis of Freud's critical concept of the 'wish.' At the same time, he began to generalize his relational theory of consciousness to behavior conceived as a relation between the body and the environment. In 1915, these developments converged in a version of "behaviorism" described in a book bearing the rather unlikely title, The Freudian Wish and Its Place in Ethics.[11]

Although detailed discussion of Holt's ideas would be out of place in this context, [12] several key aspects of his "behaviorism" should be identified as exerting a considerable influence on the young Floyd Allport. [13] First and foremost, there was Holt's thoroughgoing objectivism. "It is not that we have two contrasted worlds, the 'objective' and the 'subjective,'" he writes, "there is but one world, the objective, and that which we have hitherto not understood, have dubbed therefore the 'subjective,' are the subtler workings of integrated objective mechanisms." [14] Indeed, as preached by Holt and reinforced by the laboratory practices then prevailing in the Harvard department, [15] the psychology encountered by graduate students of Allport's era was almost exclusively an objective science.

Second, Holt sharply distinguished the study of behavior from the physiology of reflex arcs by stressing the fact that behavior is a "synthetic novelty" that emerges out of the systematic integration of simple reflexes and that, as integration becomes increasingly complex, behavior becomes less and less a function of the actual, proximal stimuli (e.g., light hitting the retina) and more and more a function of the properties of objects in the environment. For a psychology of behavior, in other words, central mechanisms of reflex integration are of much greater importance than the peripheral mechanisms operating in receptors and effectors. For early behaviorism, much of which had been influenced by John B. Watson's (1878-1958) somewhat uncritical adoption of the peripheralist views of Jacques Loeb (1859-1924), this was an unusual position. [16] It is one, as we shall see, that is also to be found in Allport.

Third, in reinterpreting Freud's concept of "wish" in behavior terms, Holt had employed a notion, that of response "attitude" or "set" which would later become a cornerstone of Allport's analysis of complex social psychological phenomena. Wish, Holt argued, "includes...whatever would be called impulse, tendency, desire, purpose, attitude... it is a course of action which some mechanism of the body is set to carry out, whether it actually does so or does not." Indeed, since for Holt it mattered little from a conceptual point of view whether the body is set to respond or actually does respond, behavior and wish could be construed as "one and the same thing...a course of action which the living body executes or is prepared to execute with regard to some object or some fact of its environment."[17]

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, Holt defined his behaviorism in such a way that consciousness, albeit a consciousness radically redefined, might be retained. Consciousness, in Holt's view, is not a substance, a thing apart from either the objects in the environment or the operation of the nervous system. Rather, consciousness, like behavior, with which it is coterminous, is a relation between the body and its environing objects. It is a relation of awareness, one that arises in the functional dependence of behavior on the environment. As awareness, it cannot be ignored. Neither, however, should it be reified as a factor in the determination of behavior. It is, in effect, epiphenomenal or, as Holt puts it..."a mere irrelevance, a surface embroidery on action...the surface foam of a sea where the real currents are well beneath the surface." [18] It is in just this sense that Allport construes "consciousness" when he later comes to define psychology as "the science which studies behavior and consciousness." [19]

Another source of early Harvard behaviorism, of course, as it was of behaviorism everywhere, was the work of John B. Watson. At Harvard, during the years Allport spent as a student, comparative psychology was taught by Robert M. Yerkes. Although Yerkes was eventually to break with Watson, their relations during this period were quite cordial. In correspondence, Watson confided to Yerkes that he had hopes of remodeling mainstream psychology along behavior lines and Yerkes responded with measured support for Watson's program. [20] After its publication in 1914, Yerkes adopted Watson's Behavior: An Introduction to Comparative Psychology[21] as the text for his animal behavior course.

Between personal contact with Holt and indirect access to Watson at first through Yerkes and then through his text, Harvard students had, for the period, an unusually rich exposure to behaviorism. Although we have as direct evidence of Watson's influence on Allport only Allport's brief note to the effect that "from among the currents and undercurrents of psychology of that day, I seized onto behaviorism and [only later] came...to see the excesses of Watsonian thinking," [22] it is almost inconceivable that, in 1919, as a junior member of the Harvard faculty, Allport would not have turned for inspiration to Watson's newly published Psychology from the Standpoint of a Behaviorist.[23]

Nor is it surprising, therefore, that in Watson's pioneering text, we find a number of ideas that later appear, largely unmodified, in Allport's work. These include, among others, the general taxonomy of fundamental modes of response (hereditary, acquired, emotional), the classification of acquired habit as implicit or explicit, the notion that acquired habits are elaborated on a basic set of hereditary reflexes present in the newborn, and the joint use of conditioning and trial-and-error mechanisms to characterize the process of habit formation.

Unfortunately, by 1920 behaviorism at Harvard, increasingly out of favor with the more powerful philosophical forces then dominating the department, had begun to go into decline. [24] This seems likely to have been at least part of the reason for Allport's failure, in 1922, to retain his junior faculty status. As he later recalled it:

"the authorities at Harvard decided that a change was in order and they wanted particularly to bring Edwin G. Boring to the department. To make this possible, Langfeld was to be asked to go on half-time and I was to find a place elsewhere. McDougall was delegated to bring me the news. Langfeld rejected the suggestion and soon thereafter was appointed as Director of the Psychological Laboratory at Princeton, and I obtained a position as associate professor at the University of North Carolina."
[25]

At North Carolina, in the congenial company of John Frederick Dashiell (1888-1975), [26] Allport began work on his Social Psychology. The writing went quickly and the manuscript was completed in 1923, [27] in time for Allport to benefit from critical reading provided by his brother, Gordon, Langfeld, and Dashiell. Upon publication in 1924, the book became an immediate success. It was favorably reviewed [28] and widely adopted as a text. [29] Indeed, in the years since, it has often been cited as the basis for Allport's claim to being considered "the father of experimental social psychology." [30] As Katz conveyed the received view in his obituary of Allport, "it was not until the appearance of Allport's Social Psychology in 1924 that we had a text based heavily on experimental and research studies. This text made the field..." [31]

Unfortunately, like much of the received historical tradition, this view is more myth than fact. True, in his preface to the Social Psychology, Allport does stress the need "of bringing to the service of those interested in social relationships the more recent psychological investigation and theory;" [32] and he does offer his text "as an attempt in the direction of supplying this need...[by] bring[ing] within the scope of this volume...the behavior viewpoint and the experimental method."[33] But as we will see, this attempt was premature in the extreme; and Allport's own later evaluation of his text is probably closer to the truth:

"I have assumed that the widespread attention which my textbook Social Psychology...has received was due mainly to two novel features. First, it was an objectively conceived and somewhat systematic presentation of the subject from the psychological rather than the sociological point of view; and second, it suggested at least by implication the possibility of a new experimental science of social psychology." [34]

The Social Psychology is divided into two large sections preceded by an introductory chapter. In his introduction, Allport emphasizes two foundational principles on which his analysis will rest. The first, which shows the strong influence of Harvard "behaviorism," involves the subject matter of psychology in general. Psychology, for Allport, studies behavior and consciousness. Neither taken by itself will provide a complete psychology. On the other hand, behavior and consciousness are not of equal scientific status. Behaviors, in Allport's view, are the more fundamental phenomena since they can serve as explanatory principles in the natural order of events. Consciousness, on the other hand, is an epiphenomenon. It plays no causal role in the determination of the organism's reactions. It can, however, serve as a source of valuable information concerning reactions that are not readily observable and should not, therefore, be ignored.

Allport's second founding principle involves the subject matter of social psychology. As a branch of psychology, social psychology limits itself to the study of the behavior and consciousness of individuals. While it is true that social psychology focuses especially on social situations (as individual's react to and serve as stimuli for others), it nonetheless grounds itself on the assumption that all social behavior can be explained in terms of the principles of individual psychological functioning. The notion promulgated by some that there are phenomena of collective behavior or group consciousness beyond the simple aggregations of states and reactions of individuals is illusory.

Following this introduction, Allport devotes five chapters to an analysis of principles of individual psychological functioning that underlie patterns both of social stimulation and response and of social consciousness. As Allport himself puts it, "our first task has been to study those aspects of the individual which are destined to direct and control his behavior within the social sphere." [35] To do this it is necessary first "to delve into the very fiber of the organism;" [36] and to this end, Allport offers a short description of the anatomy and physiology of receptors, effectors, and the central nervous system.

With one exception, this discussion, couched as it is in terms of stimulus-response arcs, is standard for the period. The exception, which undoubtedly also reflects the Harvard influence, is that Allport is much more centralist in his orientation than is typical for early behaviorism. Cortical function, he suggests, "underlies all solutions of human...social problems,...makes possible their preservation in language, customs, institutions, and inventions[,]...enables each new generation to profit by the experience of others...[and] establishes habits of response in the individual for social as well as for individual ends, inhibiting and modifying primitive self-seeking reflexes into activities which adjust the individual to the social as well as to the non-social environment. Socialized behavior [in other words]...is the supreme achievement of the cortex." [37]

Physiological description is then followed by psychological analysis. In two chapters, Allport presents what he conceives to be the fundamental psychological mechanisms-hereditary reflexes, acquired habits, thought, and emotional reactions. The first of these chapters is one of the two most important in the book. [38] Here Allport presents his theory of prepotent reflexes and his account of the progressive modification of these reflexes "into great systems of adaptive habits both universal among mankind and peculiar to individuals." [39] Through this account, Allport attempts to show that simple and complex activities previously attributed to instincts are actually derived through the modification of prepotent reflexes. In effect, therefore, this chapter can be read as an extended critique of instinct theory.

Given that one of Allport's goals is to bring "the behavior viewpoint"[40] to social psychology, this is not surprising. For more than a decade, the standard psychological introduction to social phenomena had been McDougall's Introduction to Social Psychology.[41] At Harvard, in fact, McDougall was required reading in Perry's course on Ethics; [42] and as a beginning student Allport must surely have encountered it there if not elsewhere. In his introduction to social phenomena, McDougall had placed a heavy emphasis on instinct, attributing to human beings social instincts ranging from acquisitiveness, constructiveness, and gregariousness to parenting, pugnacity, reproduction, and self-display. By the time Allport was working on the manuscript of his social psychology, the views of McDougall and other instinct theorists had become the target of a number of quite pointed attacks. [43] Through a habit-formation account of seemingly universal systems of social reaction, Allport could both bring behaviorism to social psychology and separate his text from that of McDougall-something he clearly wished to do.

Distinguishing inherited from learned behavior, Allport grants the importance of hereditary patterns, but argues against the post-natal maturation of the complex activities often alleged to be instinctive. Newborn human infants, he suggests, [44] are endowed at birth with a set of prepotent avoidance (withdrawal, rejection, struggle) and approach (hunger, sensitive zone, sex reaction) reactions. "Each of these activities comprises, not a single reflex, but a large group of effector movements...It is evoked only by stimulation of an extremely simple type...[and] is crude in the manner in which it is carried out." [45]

With development, however, the operation of two fundamental processes leads to the elaboration of prepotent reactions into habits of increasing complexity. One process, which relies on the mechanism of the conditioned reflex, involves afferent modification of prepotent reactions by which a variety of stimuli, many of which are social, come to substitute for the original, simple, eliciting stimulus and for one another. Habits, therefore, are gradually elicited by ever more varied and appropriate situations. The second process, which is based on the standard trial-and-error mechanism of habit formation (misadjustment followed by random activity, chance success, cessation of random activity, and eventual selection of the successful movement), leads to efferent modification of the prepotent reactions. Habits gradually become complex systems of variable reactions with the potential to adjust the organism to situational variations.

At its apex in human beings, efferent modification even leads to habits in which random activity in response to misadjustment need not be overt. Humans, Allport acknowledges, think. Using symbols, they represent to themselves possible courses of action before taking them. "A symbol," for Allport, "is a brief and labile response usually undetected in outward behavior, but capable of being substituted for overt responses...[and] used as abridged and 'internal' trials in the process of trial and error." [46] "Incipient, subvocal, and inaudible word responses are," he thinks, "particularly suitable material for symbols...[inasmuch as] they require but an instant to execute, and involve neither the delay nor the danger of overt trials...Thought, therefore, is an abridged and highly efficient form of trial-and-chance success in the consummation of the prepotent reflexes." [47]

From hereditary reactions, acquired habits, and thought, Allport turns to another fundamental psychological mechanism-emotion. Emotion, he argues, is a complex pattern of conscious experience consisting of a general affective core (pleasant or unpleasant depending on whether innervation is autonomic or sympathetic) and a specific set of distinctive qualities. Adapting a view originally and independently proposed by William James (1842-1910) [48] and Carl Lange (1849-1893), [49] Allport argues that variation in conscious emotional quality reflects variation in afferent impulses arising from those distinctive somatic patterns of response (e.g., facial expression, bodily movements) that are elicited by situations that arouse emotion.

Not surprisingly, in line with his previous analysis, Allport rejects an instinctive interpretation of the origin of specific emotions in favor of one based on habit formation. On an hereditary basis of undifferentiated affectivity observed in the newborn, emotional states emerge, he suggests, as "the child brings into play the various prepotent somatic responses, such as struggling, rejecting, and withdrawing...[and] differentiating factors are added to the sympathetic pattern..." [50] Development then proceeds in the fashion of all habit formation, through the conditioning and trial-and-error mechanisms underlying the substitution of stimuli (including social stimuli) and the elaboration of responses (including those which serve as stimuli for others).

Having "attempted to reduce human behavior to its fundamental terms...prepotent reflexes, habit formation, thought, and emotion," [51] Allport both concludes his treatment of the individual and prepares for the analysis of social behavior to follow by addressing the nature and measurement of personality. "With the exception of a few traits," he tells us, "personality may be defined as the individual's characteristic reactions to social stimuli, and the quality of his adaptation to the social features of his environment." [52] Dependent upon social contacts in development and serving as stimulation for social others, personality is both a cause and a result of social behavior. Noting that for this reason personality "traits themselves can be described and measured only by a scale standardized within the social group," [53] Allport then completes his analysis of personality and his discussion of the individual by describing the nature and measurement of innate (intelligence, motility, temperament) and acquired traits (drive, compensation, extroversion/introversion, insight, ascendance/submission; expansion/reclusion, sociality).

With this, Allport arrives at the heart of his social psychology. In a second long section of the text, he focuses on social behavior-providing an introduction to its nature and development, chapters on social stimulation and social response, and analyses of three major social psychological issues: the nature of the social self, social conflict, and social behavior in relation to society. Here, if anywhere, one might have expected Allport to make good his promise to bring the "most recent psychological investigation...and the experimental method [54] to bear on social issues. It is of more than passing interest, then, to note just how little experimental research is actually contained in these chapters. With the exception of work on recognition of facial expressions of emotion (primarily that of Langfeld[55]) and that on social facilitation (depending primarily on Allport's own extensive and highly influential studies), Allport's analyses are essentially devoid of systematic, experimental research support. In 1924, social behaviorism was still largely a promissory note.

Social behavior, for Allport, is simply that in which the organism's reaction either occurs in response to the stimulus of another's behavior or serves as a stimulus to another's response. Fundamental, then, to the nature of social behavior is its quality as a social stimulus and its potential to control the behavior of others, a potential that varies phylogenetically, culminating in the human ability to exert social influence through direct forms of expression (gesture, language, facial movement), custom, tradition, and social institutions.

Of these forms of social influence, only gesture, language, and facial expression receive further discussion in Allport's text. Describing the process by which children learn to use gestural and vocal expression to control the behavior of others, Allport analyzes both forms of expression as increasing complex habit systems. Formed on the basis of prepotent reflexes (e.g., withdrawal as the origin of the negative head shake, vocal emotional expression as the origin of language), gesture and language develop through the usual processes of trial-and-error elaboration of movements (e.g., control of vocal production by the ear in circular self-stimulation), and conditioned stimulus substitution (e.g., gestures and words conditioned to the expressions of others, to the appearance of objects, and eventually to proprioceptive stimuli inherent in the child's own response to the object).

Development of facial expression essentially conforms to the same pattern. Arguing that facial expressions are "neither an original nor an inherited function of facial muscles," [56] Allport suggests that such expressions develop from natively given, global facial reactions (positive, negative) accompanying diffuse affective states in the newborn. According to the standard principles of habit formation, these global reactions are then gradually modified, on the efferent side, by the addition of special muscular contractions linked to prepotent reflexes such as rejection of bad tastes and smells, biting, etc. On the afferent side, facial expressions become conditioned to stimuli increasingly remote from those eliciting the original prepotent reflexes. Concluding his discussion of social stimulation with a detailed description of research[57] on the recognition of facial expression, Allport then turns to the analysis of elementary and complex forms of social response.

Discussion of elementary social response is restricted to sympathy, imitation, suggestion, and laughter; and Allport's primary point, in each instance, is that these are not instinctive processes, but depend on the responder's own system of habits, formed in past experience. Thus, for example, the effects of suggestion (in which one person "controls the behavior and consciousness of the recipient in an immediate manner, relatively uninfluenced by thought"[58]) are attributed to the power of a social stimulus to establish or release habitual response tendencies or augment such responses as they are being carried out.

More complex forms of response to social stimulation are those that take place in groups and crowds. For Allport, groups are distinguished from crowds by the fact that groups are assembled for deliberate activities, whereas crowds are driven by motives "of the more primitive and prepotent level." [59] In groups, the individual's behavior is influenced by perception of others engaged in the same activity. This influence may take the form of social facilitation ("releasing reactions for which the subject is in readiness, and...increasing these reactions once they have been initiated"[60]), social rivalry ("an emotional reinforcement of movement accompanied by the consciousness of a desire to win." [61]), or both. This is, of course, the area of Allport's own research and it is one in which, for only the second time, he can make good on his promise to bring experimental results to bear on questions of a social psychological nature. This he does, devoting almost an entire chapter (22 pages) to reviewing research on social facilitation and rivalry.

This is probably Allport's most significant contribution. The general findings themselves are of interest. When individuals work side-by-side in groups rather then in isolation, speed and quantity of work increase, especially when the task involves an overt, physical reaction rather then simply an intellectual response. The extent of any increase varies by age, ability, and personality of the subjects and is generally greatest for the least able and least for the most able. Quality of work, on the other hand, generally shows no average improvement and in some tasks (e.g., reasoning) may even decline.

Yet it is not so much the findings that Allport reviews, or even the specific methods that he describes, that constitute the substance of his contribution. It is rather the radical contrast that he establishes between the scientific, factual form of discourse in which he couches his analysis of social facilitation and rivalry and the speculative, philosophical, largely common sense analyses that make up most of the rest of his text. In a sense, Allport succeeds by failing. Given the state of the art in 1924, there is little in the way of "experimental fact" to be brought to bear in social psychology. It is impossible, therefore, for him to accomplish much in this regard. What he can do, however, and what he does do is to provide an object lesson in how experimental fact might be brought to bear in addressing complex social psychological issues; and, in so doing, he offers the reader a glimpse of what a behavioristic future might be expected to bring.

This is not, of course, a pattern that Allport can sustain; and in his discussion of the social response of the individual in crowds, he falls back on what is largely anecdote and speculation. After reiterating his earlier rejection of the notion of crowd or group mind, he takes the rather extreme position that "the individual in the crowd behaves just as he would have alone, only more so."[62] Anecdotally described crowd phenomena (e.g., individual suggestibility, the release and heightening of aggression) are then analyzed in terms of a combination of mechanisms of social facilitation and psychoanalytic repression, newly introduced for the purpose. Much of the excess of the crowd, Allport suggests, can be explained in terms of "the converting of social agencies which have heretofore been inhibitors of aggressive action into allied stimulations which facilitate such responses." [63]

Having analyzed the nature of social behavior and forms of social stimulation and response, Allport turns, in the final chapters of his text, to issues to which any social psychology must attend: the nature of the social self, social conflict, and social behavior in relation to society at large. The social self, for Allport, is a form of personal consciousness-consciousness "of what we infer to be in the consciousness of others concerning us." [64] It is grounded, he suggests, in "attitudes" or "response sets" (defined, following Holt, as "preparations for response set up in the neuro-muscular system"[65]) that we strive to create and maintain in others. Social conflict, for the most part, also has its origins in the individual, in the tension between prepotent interests as unsocialized drives (e.g., struggle, sex) and derived, socialized habits and attitudes (e.g., avoidance of anti-social acts or maintenance of humanitarian or professional standards).

Probably the most intriguing aspect of Allport's analysis of conflict is his attempt to restate the oedipal theory of psychoanalysis in habit formation terms:

"The love of the pre-adolescent child for the parent results from a conditioning of sensitive zone reactions (fixation). This conditioning is established usually for the parent of the opposite sex. The reason for this is that the parent's love, being unconsciously sexual in origin, is greater for the opposite-sexed child, and that child is therefore given greater physical affection than the child of the same sex. At puberty the sensitive zone reactions become consolidated into the system of mature sexual responses. There is required therefore a detachment of the whole group of love reactions from the parent-stimulus, and a reconditioning of them eventually by a person of opposite sex outside the family (transference). Children who have been petted to an unusual degree find it difficult to make this transfer complete, and show traces of the parent fixation in their later social and marital adjustments"[66]

Although this analysis has never received any great attention, it is historically interesting as an early index of both the relative ease with which aspects of the psychoanalytic account can be translated into the behavioristic language of habit formation and the relative interest that behaviorist themselves, from Watson[67] and Dashiell[68] to John Dollard (1900-1980) and Neal E Miller (b. 1909), have had in accomplishing such a translation.

The final chapter of the Social Psychology is, in effect, an extended and highly speculative attempt to demonstrate the place of social psychology in the social sciences by analyzing social behavior in relation to the functions and institutions of society at large. As Allport puts it, "Since all behavior phenomena of groups are reducible to mechanisms of individual behavior in the social environment, the relation of social psychology to the disciplines which treat of these higher aggregates is a fundamental one." [69] Although, as Allport himself admits, "the closing chapter is to be regarded merely as an outline...written primarily to guide the student in his application of the principles of social psychology to sociological questions," [70] it does contain a number of suggestive analyses (e.g., of social control, [71] of meaning as a shared attitude of response, [72] of language and the social transmission of thinking, [73] and of leadership[74]).

Unfortunately, it also embodies some of the more virulent regional and racial stereotypes of the day. Thus, for example, Allport confidently asserts that "those fitted for rapid interchanges of social stimulation and response seek urban life, leaving the slower, less mobile types for the rural community," [75] that lack of group control in rural life leads to a "defect of socialization within the family...[so that] the sex drive, unconditioned by the restraints of culture, and abetted by the direct example of nature, becomes too precocious in its expression," and that "the intelligence of the white race is of a more versatile and complex order than that of the black race...[and] probably superior also to that of the red or yellow races." [76]

Here, once again, Allport makes a case, albeit an unwitting and negative case, for the value of systematic, controlled research in social science. In the absence of experiment and data generation, suggestive theoretical analyses and pernicious social stereotypes can easily coexist. Separation of social stereotype from theory and the assessment of social theory in relation to fact[77] is the business of social research-research of the sort that Allport himself pioneered and first incorporated, even if only to a limited extent, into a systematic introduction to social psychology.


Footnotes

1. His youngest brother, Gordon Willard Allport (1897-1967), was also a well-known psychologist. Biographical details are drawn primarily from: Allport, F.H. (1974). Floyd H. Allport. In G. Lindzey (Ed). A History of Psychology in Autobiography. Volume VI. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, pp. 3-29. Information on Allport's family life has also been gleaned from the autobiography of his brother: Allport, G.W. (1967). Gordon W. Allport. In E.G. Boring & G. Lindzey (Eds). A History of Psychology in Autobiography. Volume V. New York: Appleton-Century-Crofts, pp. 3-25. [Back to text]

2. Allport (1974), p. 3. [Back to text]

3. Ibid., p. 6. This is said as well of Mčnsterberg and Hocking. [Back to text]

4. McDougall, W. (1930). William McDougall. In C. Murchison (Ed). A History of Psychology in Autobiography. Volume I. Worcester, MA: Clark University Press, p. 213. [Back to text]

5. Little biographical material on Holt is available. For general details, see Kuklick, B. (1977). The Rise of American Philosophy; Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1860-1930. New Haven: Yale University Press, pp. 431-434. [Back to text]

6. See, for example, Tolman, E.C. (1952). Edward Chace Tolman. In E.G. Boring, H.S. Langfeld, H. Werner, & R.M. Yerkes (Eds). A History of Psychology in Autobiography. Volume IV. Worcester, MA: Clark University Press, pp. 323-339; and Elliott, R.M. (1952). Richard M. Elliott. In E.G. Boring, H.S. Langfeld, H. Werner, & R.M. Yerkes (Eds). A History of Psychology in Autobiography. Volume IV. Worcester, MA: Clark University Press, pp. 75-95. [Back to text]

7. See Allport (1974), p. 6, where Allport himself lists Herbert Sydney Langfeld (1879-1958), Ralph Barton Perry (1876-1957), and Holt as significant sources of influence. Langfeld's work on recognition of facial expressions of emotion figures prominently in Allport's Social Psychology. Allport also collaborated with Langfeld in the production of an introductory experimental laboratory manual: Langfeld, H.S. & Allport, F.H. (1916). An Elementary Laboratory Course in Psychology. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company. During Allport's years at Harvard, Perry was arguing against idealism and developing concepts of motivation and purpose later to influence neobehaviorism, especially through the work of Tolman, also a Harvard graduate. Holt is singled out for special acknowledgment in the preface to the Social Psychology. To this group, one might also add Robert Mearns Yerkes (1876-1956), whose course in comparative psychology was, for many Harvard students of this period, an object lesson in objective psychology. [Back to text]

8. Holt, E.B. (1914). The Concept of Consciousness. London: George Allen & Company, Ltd. [Back to text]

9. James, W. (1904). Does 'consciousness' exist? Journal of Philosophy, Psychology, and Scientific Methods, 1, pp. 477-491. [Back to text]

10. Hall, G.S. (Ed). (1910). Lectures and Addresses Delivered before the Departments of Psychology and Pedagogy in Celebration of the Twentieth Anniversary of the Opening of Clark University. September 1909. Worcester, MA. [Back to text]

11. Holt, E.B. (1915). The Freudian Wish and Its Place in Ethics. New York: Henry Holt and Company. In this volume, Holt also reprinted another important statement of his position: Holt, E.B. (1915). Response and Cognition. The Journal of Philosophy, Psychology, and Scientific Methods, 12, pp. 365-373, 393-409 [reprinted in Volume 1 of this series]. [Back to text]

12. For discussion in a somewhat different context, see Wozniak, R.H. (1994). Behaviourism: The early years. In R.H. Wozniak (Ed). Response, Reaction, and Reflex: The Early Elaboration of Theoretical and Methodological Behaviourism 1915-1928. London: Routledge/Thoemmes. [Volume 1 of this series]. [Back to text]

13. It should be noted, however, that just as many or more of Holt's ideas seem to have bypassed Allport entirely. Indeed, with the possible exception of Tolman, who ascribed as much influence to Perry as to Holt, and the perceptionist, James J. Gibson (1904-1979), who studied under Holt at Princeton in the late 1920's, Holt seems not to have had any real intellectual heirs. [Back to text]

14. Holt (1915), pp. 92-93. [Back to text]

15. See Tolman (1952), p. 326. [Back to text]

16. See Wozniak, R.H. (1993a). John B. Watson, behaviourism, and Behavior: An Introduction to Comparative Psychology. In J.B. Watson. Behavior: An Introduction to Comparative Psychology. London: Routledge/Thoemmes, pp. vii-xx; and Wozniak, R.H. (1993b). Jacques Loeb, Comparative Physiology of the Brain and Comparative Psychology. In J. Loeb. Comparative Physiology of the Brain and Comparative Psychology. London: Routledge/Thoemmes, pp. vii-xxiii. [Back to text]

17. Holt (1915), p. 56. [Back to text]

18. Ibid., pp. 87-88. [Back to text]

19. Allport (1924), p. 1. [Back to text]

20. See Wozniak (1993a), pp. xix-xx. [Back to text]

21. Watson, J.B. (1914). Behavior: An Introduction to Comparative Psychology. New York: Henry Holt and Company. [Back to text]

22. Allport (1974), p. 7. [Back to text]

23. Watson, J.B. (1919). Psychology from the Standpoint of a Behaviorist. Philadelphia: J.B. Lippincott Company. [Back to text]

24. Nor, as we have seen, was it especially well-received by McDougall. See Kuklick (1977) for a valuable discussion of tensions within the Harvard department. [Back to text]

25. Allport (1974), p. 7. [Back to text]

26. See Wozniak, R.H. (1994). John Frederick Dashiell and the Fundamentals of Objective Psychology. In J.F. Dashiell. Fundamentals of Objective Psychology. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company. [reprinted as Volume 6 in this series]. [Back to text]

27. Allport (1974), p. 8. [Back to text]

28. Wolfe, A.B. (1924). [Review of] Social Psychology [by] F.H. Allport. Journal of Philosophy, 21, pp. 583-585; Smith, T.V. (1924-1925). [Review of] Social Psychology. By Floyd Henry Allport. The International Journal of Ethics, 35, p. 101. [Back to text]

29. This judgment is based on the relative frequency with which Allport's Social Psychology is encountered in the out-of-print book trade. [Back to text]

30. See, for example, Katz, D. (1979). Floyd H. Allport (1890-1978). American Psychologist, 34, pp. 351-353. This is not, as far as I can tell, a claim made by Allport on his own behalf. [Back to text]

31. Ibid., p. 351. [Back to text]

32. Allport (1924), p. v. [Back to text]

33. Ibid. [Back to text]

34. Allport (1974), p. 9. [Back to text]

35. Allport (1924), p. 139. [Back to text]

36. Ibid. [Back to text]

37. Ibid., p. 31. [Back to text]

38. The other is Chapter 11, which presents Allport's pioneering analysis of social facilitation. [Back to text]

39. Allport (1924), p. 140. [Back to text]

40. Ibid., p. v. [Back to text]

41. McDougall, W. (1908). An Introduction to Social Psychology. London: Methuen & Co. [Back to text]

42. Tolman (1952), p. 325. [Back to text]

43. See, for example, Dunlap, K. (1919/1920). Are there any instincts? Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 14, pp. 307-311; Kuo, Z.Y. (1921). Giving up instincts in psychology. Journal of Philosophy, 18, 645-664; and Bernard, L.L. (1921). The misuse of instinct in the social sciences. Psychological Review, 28, pp. 96-119. [Back to text]

44. For this view, Allport (1924) tells us, he is "indebted to the researches of Dr. J.B. Watson" (fn. 1, p. 50). [Back to text]

45. Ibid., pp. 50-51. [Back to text]

46. Ibid., pp. 55-56. [Back to text]

47. Ibid. [Back to text]

48. See James, W. (1890). The Principles of Psychology. New York: Henry Holt & Company, especially Volume 2, Chapter 25. [Back to text]

49. See Lange, C. (1885). Om Sindsbevaegelser. Et psyko-fysiologisk Studie. Kj┐benhavn: Jacob Lunds Forlag. [Back to text]

50. Allport (1924), p. 93. [Back to text]

51. Ibid., p. 99. [Back to text]

52. Ibid., p. 101. [Back to text]

53. Ibid., p. 99. [Back to text]

54. Ibid., p. v. [Back to text]

55. Langfeld, H.S. (1918-1919). The judgment of emotions from facial expressions. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 13, pp. 172-184; and Langfeld, H.S. (1918). Judgments of facial expression and suggestion. Psychological Review, 25, pp. 488-494. [Back to text]

56. Allport (1924), p. 218. [Back to text]

57. primarily that of Langfeld (1918-1919, 1919). [Back to text]

58. Allport (1924), p. 252. [Back to text]

59. Ibid., p. 260. [Back to text]

60. Ibid., p. 261. [Back to text]

61. Ibid., p. 262. [Back to text]

62. Ibid., p. 295. [Back to text]

63. Ibid., p. 318. [Back to text]

64. Ibid., p. 325. [Back to text]

65. Ibid., p. 320. [Back to text]

66. Ibid., p. 361. [Back to text]

67. See Buckley, K.W. (1989). Mechanical Man. John Broadus Watson and the Beginnings of Behaviorism. New York: Guilford Press, pp. 158-159. [Back to text]

68. See, for example, Dashiell, J.F. (1928). Fundamentals of Objective Psychology. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, pp. 263-266 [reprinted as Volume 6 in this series]. [Back to text]

69. Allport (1924), p. 382. [Back to text]

70. Ibid., p. vii. [Back to text]

71. Ibid., pp. 391-407. [Back to text]

72. Ibid., see p. 416[Back to text]

73. Ibid., p. 417. [Back to text]

74. Ibid., pp. 419-424[Back to text]

75. Ibid., p. 383. [Back to text]

76. Ibid., p. 386. [Back to text]

77. Although few contemporary social scientists are naive enough to look solely to data to provide definitive answers to social questions or to believe that facts are other than theory-laden, most are nonetheless committed to the importance of systematic research in the overall enterprise of theory building and clarification. Systematic research, after all, forces us to ask new questions and to change the way in which our old questions are asked. Stereotypes and bad theory, it would seem, do eventually yield in the face of good questions. [Back to text]