- Slides: 21
George Kelly (1905 -1967) Personal Construct Theory
Theory • Personal Construct Theory or Constructivism: • People construe or understand the world and construct own versions of reality-personal system of explaining human behaviors. • Each of us tries to understand the world and we do so in ways that are different • A person’s processes are psychologically channeled by ways in which he/she anticipates events
Personality development • Development revolves about the person's attempts to maximize understanding of the world through the continuing definition and elaboration of his or her construct system.
Personal construct: • The pattern of an individual’s construction are called constructs Each person sets up his/hers own network of pathways leading into the future. Constructive Alternativism - basic assumption that human beings are capable of changing their interpretations of events
• A construct is defined not as an event, but how we construe the event. Thus a construct is the meaning we give to our surrounding reality. • • We create an image of reality and then we respond to this image. • • Personal constructs are then tested against reality. • • Personal constructs are cognitive structures we use to interpret &predict events
Metaphor of Man-as-scientist • Anticipation –we are always trying to anticipate /foresee what will happen • The construct, when tested, anticipates the right outcome the hypothesis • personal theory or construct system tells us about surrounding phenomena.
Kinds of Constructs – superordinate - construct that controls many other constructs. – subordinate - construct that is controlled by other constructs. – core - fundamental belief that is part of the individual’s personal identity – peripheral - belief that is relatively unimportant to the person and that can be changed rather easily. – preemptive - construct that includes only its own elements and maintains that these elements cannot apply to other constructs. – constellatory - construct that allows its elements to belong to other constructs concurrently; however, once identified in a particular way, these elements are fixed. – propositional - construct that leaves all of its elements open to modification.
• No 2 people use identical personal constructs, & no 2 people organize their constructs in an identical manner. • According to Kelly, personal constructs are bipolar. • We classify relevant objects in an either/or fashion with each construct. • E. g. , friendly-unfriendly, tall-short, intelligent-stupid, masculine- feminine, etc.
• Kelly argued that differences in our behavior largely result from differences in the way people “construe the world. ”
• • • Suppose two people meet a new individual named Adam. Person 1 : uses friendly-unfriendly, fun loving-stuffy, and outgoingshy constructs in forming his template for Adam’s behavior. Person 2 : uses refined-gross, sensitive-insensitive, & intelligentstupid constructs. • After both individuals interact with Adam they walk away with differentimpressions of Adam. • Person 1 believes that Adam is a friendly, fun-loving & outgoing person, whereas Person 2 thinks that Adam is gross, insensitive, & stupid. • The same situation is interpreted differently. Past experience—guides our predictions
• The theory is set out in his major work as a series of formal postulates and corollaries, • Its essence is that personal identity is defined by the way we construe or “understand” our personal worlds. • It is therefore a phenomenological approach, rather than a positivist one.
• This basically means trying things out to see whether they work: • our “constructs” or ways of making sense of the world, are not necessarily conscious and articulate, but may be inferred from behaviour. • Kelly does not refer to learning at all, but to changes in constructs over time
• Its major tool is the “Repertory Grid”, which is an amazingly simple idiographic device to explore how people experience their world. • It is a table in which, apart from the outer two columns, the other columns are headed by the names of objects or people(traditionally up to 21 of them). • These names are also written on cards, which the tester shows to the subject in groups of three, always asking the same question: • “How are two of these similar and the third one different? ”
• Constructs do not have to be dictionary opposites: • for a given subject “Unselfish” might be a more meaningful opposite to “Mean”, than “Generous”. • It is connotations for an individual which count, rather than "objective" dictionary denotations. • For this reason you need to exercise great caution in comparing the grids of different people
Corollaries • Corollaries - propositions associated with the fundamental postulate – construction - a person anticipates events by assuming there is regularity between them. – individuality - proposition that people differ in their constructions of reality. – organization - proposition that the individual’s constructs are arranged in particular ways within his or her personal belief system. – dichotomy - proposition that constructs are bipolar.
• The construction corollary • "A person anticipates events by construing their replications" • The individuality corollary • "Persons differ from each other in their construction of events" • The organization corollary • "Each person characteristically evolves for his convenience in anticipating events, a construction system embracing ordinal relationships between constructs) • The dichotomy corollary • "A person's construction system is composed of a finite number of dichotomous constructs"
• The range corollary • "A construct is convenient for the anticipation of a finite range of events only“ • The experience corollary • "A person's construction system varies as he successively construes the replication of events“ • The modulation corollary • "The variation in a person's construction system is limited by the permeability of the constructs within whose ranges of convenience the variants lie" • The fragmentation corollary • "A person may successively employ a variety of construction subsystems which are inferentially incompatible with each other
Cogntive Therapy • Role Construct Repertory Test (Rep Test) - test designed to Measure the personal construct systems of individuals. • Clients Use Invalid Constructs; therapists must assist clients' growth by employing the technique of controlled elaboration - technique in which clients are encouraged to clarify and think through their problems in consultation with therapist; • this process enables them to revise or discard old constructs and to formulate new and more effective ones.
• Fixed-Role Therapy - procedure designed to produce personality changes in clients by constructing roles for them that help them overcome their weaknesses and enable them to reconstrue themselves and their life situations.
• Fixed-Role Therapy (cont. ) – self-characterization sketch - initial step in fixedrole therapy, in which clients are asked to write a brief character outline of themselves as it might be written by an intimate and sympathetic friend. – enactment sketch - client is asked to play a role designed to contrast sharply with the client’s current self-perception, as revealed in the selfcharacterization sketch, and thus to produce major changes in the client.
• Comprehensiveness - limited in scope. • Precision and Testability - precise and testable. • Parsimony - fails to meet the parsimony criterion; too simplistic. • Empirical Validity - empirical support is strong for some aspects of theory. • Heuristic Value - theory is proving to be stimulating to researchers in Great Britain. • Applied Value - considerable influence on business managers and occupational counselors. Applied value of theory is steadily increasing.