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Personal Construct Theory

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1 Personal Construct Theory
George Kelly ( ) Personal Construct Theory

2 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

3 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.

4 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

5 A construct is defined not as an event, but how we construe the event
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

6 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.

7 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.

8 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.

9 Kelly argued that differences in our behavior largely result from differences in the way people “construe the world.”

10 Suppose two people meet a new individual named Adam.
    Person 1 : uses friendly-unfriendly, fun loving-stuffy, and outgoing-shy constructs in forming his template for Adam’s behavior. Person 2 : uses refined-gross, sensitive-insensitive, & intelligent-stupid 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

11 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.

12 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

13 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?” 

14 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

15 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.

16 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"

17 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

18 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 the therapist; this process enables them to revise or discard old constructs and to formulate new and more effective ones.

19 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.

20 Fixed-Role Therapy (cont.)
self-characterization sketch - initial step in fixed-role 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 self-characterization sketch, and thus to produce major changes in the client.

21 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 the 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 the theory is steadily increasing.

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