Encyclopedia of Religion
and Society

William H. Swatos, Jr. Editor

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(1897-1967) Psychologist who influenced empirical study in the psychology of religion more than any person other than William James. His early work focused upon the study of values, including a popular measure to translate Eduard Spranger's personality types (from his Types of Man [Halle 1928]) into a standardized questionnaire, the Study of Values . Of Spranger's six types operationalized in this scale, one is the religious type (R scale). This led to early empirical work on the correlates of the religiously oriented person. Frequently, Allport's valueladen views of mature religiosity failed to be supported in empirical studies of correlates of the R scale.

Allport then developed the highly influential Religious Orientation Scale , a more sophisticated psychometric measure of religiosity that measured extrinsic to intrinsic religiosity along a hypothesized single continuum. It also permitted the identification of two indiscriminate religious types, one pro-and one antireligious. Using this measure, Allport was satisfied that undesirable correlates of religiosity held for extrinsic but not intrinsic religion. Subsequent research has focused upon numerous modifications of this scale, treating extrinsic and intrinsic as independent types or dimensions.

Allport's belief that the religious sentiment can best be studied through personal documents and an idiographic approach has been far less influential than the scales he developed and the measurement-based nomothetic studies they encouraged. The Study of Values remains one of the most frequently cited standardized personality scales, and measures of intrinsic-extrinsic religiosity are the most frequently used scales in the empirical psychology of religion. This is an unanticipated and somewhat ironic legacy for Allport. His measurement scales have been used largely independently of his theoretical concerns. Allport's theoretical views on religion are expressed in The Individual and His Religion (1950), a text that has become one of the classics of the psychology of religion.

Ralph W. Hood, Jr .


G. W. Allport, The Use of Personal Documents in Psychological Science (New York: Social Science Research Council, 1942)

G. W. Allport, The Individual and His Religion (New York: Macmillan, 1950)

G. W. Allport, "Religion and Prejudice," Crane Review 2(1959): 1-10

G. W. Allport and J. M. Ross, "Personal Religious Orientation and Prejudice," Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 5(1967):432-443

G. W. Allport et al., Manual, Study of Values , 3rd ed. rev. (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1970).

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