ALLPORT - VERNON - LENDZEY STUDY OF VALUES

A personality test which attempts to uncover the individual’s dominant and pervasive interests.The study is in the form of a questionnaire designed to show the relative importance of six basic values in the subject’s life. They are based on the following categories outlined in Edward Spranger’s Types of Men (1928): (1) theoretical: seeks truth, follows rational and critical interests, attempts to systematize and order his knowledge; (2) economic: stresses the practical and useful, interested in accumulating wealth and in the marketing and production of goods—a typical businessman; (3) esthetic: values form and harmony above all things, enjoys each impression for its own sake, judges things and people according to fitness, symmetry,and grace; (4) social: loves people and views them as ends rather than means, values kindness, sympathy, and unselfishness; (5) political: stresses renown, influence, and personal power not only in the political arena but in his vocation; (6) religious: primarily interested in comprehending the cosmos as a whole, concerned with the unity of all experience. (A Pictorial Study of Values has also been developed for subjects with linguistic or reading difficulties, but it is not yet ready for general use.) The authors of the test, as well as Spranger, recognize that these are six ideal types and that most people belong to more th an one group. However, if an individual fits almost completely into one category, his outlook on other things will be colored by that dominant interest. Esthetic individuals, for example, may be sensitive to other people’s feelings, but are not so vitally interested in their welfare as the individual with a dominant social interest. They might also interpret religious experience as an experience of beauty rather than spirituality. In other words, the “pure” types display dominant values which they use as a frame of reference in structuring their experiences.The Study of Values presents questions and statements designed to evoke these six values in random order, with no hint as to the categories intended. On Part I of the test the subject is given two choices and three points to divide between them: 3-0, 2—1, 1-2, 0-3. This gives him some latitude in responding and also permits a rough estimate of the strength of his preferences. Thirty familiar ideas are presented on the test, such as ‘The main object of scientific research should be the discovery of pure truth rather than its practical application.” An affirmative answer would score toward theoretical interest, a negative answer toward the economic.Part II of the test consists of fifteen questions, each containing a series of 62 ALTERNATION alternatives which the subject is required to rank in order of preference. An example is: “Do you think a good government should aim chiefly at (a) more aid for the poor, sick and old? (b) the development of manufacturing and trade? (c) introducing more ethical principles into its policies and diplomacy? (d) establishing a position of prestige and respect among nations?”The test is administered primarily to college students or adults with some college experience or its equivalent. The time required is about 20 minutes. The examiner tabulates the results and constructs a profile of the subject, showing the relative strength of his interests in the six areas. Norms have been established by testing college populations, but there are separate norms for each sex and for several different colleges. The test has been found to differentiate successfully between a number of different groups such as medical versus theological students, and its retest reliability is high. It has also revealed a number of sex differences: males generally score higher on theoretical, economic and political interests; females on esthetic, social, and religious values. These results undoubtedly reflect the influence of cultural factors on sex roles in American society. See SEX DIFFERENCES. The authors of the test believe that one of the best ways to understand an individual is to ascertain his values. This point of view has been upheld by a number of investigations—for example, Postman, Bruner and McGinnis (1948) found that people recognize words in the area of their dominant interest more quickly than words from other areas, and Postman and Schneider (1951) found that ideas which are consistent with our values tend to be retained and organized better than other ideas. Studies of this kind indicate that we tend to construe our experience in terms of our value system.The test has been criticized for apparently accepting the incomplete andfrequently flattering personality portraits of Spranger. It does not seem to recognize that the social man may be selfish and egocentric, and it seems to ignore the fact that many people are motivated by purely sensual values. It also fails to recognize the existence of people who are almost totally devoid of values of any kind. But in spite of these limitations the test is considered an important contribution to the study of values, and an instrument that may be helpful in achieving self-understanding.

Cite this page: N., Pam M.S., "ALLPORT - VERNON - LENDZEY STUDY OF VALUES," in PsychologyDictionary.org, November 28, 2018, https://psychologydictionary.org/allport-vernon-lendzey-study-of-values/ (accessed April 20, 2021).
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