43 terms

Chapter 11 George Kelly: Personal Construct Theory

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cognitive complexity
A cognitive style or way of construing the environment characterized by the ability to perceive differences among people.
cognitive simplicity
A cognitive style or way of construing the environment characterized by a relative inability to perceive differences among people.
construct
An intellectual hypothesis that we devise and use to interpret or explain life events. Constructs are bipolar, or dichotomous, such as tall versus short or honest versus dishonest.
constructive alternativism
The idea that we are free to revise or replace our constructs with alternatives as needed.
fixed role therapy
A psychotherapeutic technique in which the client acts out constructs appropriate for a fi ctitious person. This shows the client how the new constructs can be more effective than the old ones he or she has been using.
permiability
The idea that constructs can be revised and extended in light of new experiences
personal construct theory
Kelly's description of personality in terms of cognitive processes. We are capable of interpreting behaviors and events and of using this understanding to guide our behavior and to predict the behavior of other people.
range of convenience
The spectrum of events to which a construct can be applied. Some constructs are relevant to a limited number of people or situations; other constructs are broader.
self-characterization sketch
A technique designed to assess a person's construct system; that is, how a person perceives himself or herself in relation to other people.
construction
Because repeated events are similar, we can predict or anticipate how we will experience such an event in the future.
individuality
People perceive events in different ways.
organization
We arrange our constructs in patterns, according to our view of their similarities and differences.
choice
We choose the alternative for each construct that works best for us, the one that allows us to predict the outcome of anticipated events.
dichotomy
Constructs are bipolar; for example, if we have an opinion about honesty, that idea must also include the concept of dishonesty.
range
Our constructs may apply to many situations or people, or they may be limited to a single person or situation.
experience
We continually test our constructs against life's experiences to make sure they remain useful.
modulation
We may modify our constructs as a function of new experiences.
fragmentation
We may sometimes have contradictory or inconsistent subordinate constructs within our overall construct system.
sociality
We try to understand how other people think and predict what they will do, and we modify our behavior accordingly.
commonality
Although our individual constructs are unique to us, people in compatible groups or cultures may hold similar constructs.
hypothesis testing
we form an intellectual idea of how we expect things to happen (construct) and test it against the real world. Construals are unique to each individual.
constuct system
our pattern of construals. They are not fixed, but adaptable (constructive alternativism).
___ postulate and ___ corrolaries
1; 11
Postulate
Our psychological processes (flowing and changing personality) are directed by the ways in which we anticipate (predict) events.
Construction corollary
-Themes of past reappear in the future
-No two events are the same, but are similar
-We base our expectations on these themes
Example: When I meet a dog that appears well behaved with his owner and the dog allows me to pet it, then I expect that all dogs that appear well behaved with their owners to allow me to pet them.
Individuality Corollary
-We have our own interpretations
-Subjective constructs
Example: My cousin, when she was a child, leaned in quickly to pet my dog and was bitten. She expects that all dogs that appear well behaved with their owners will not allow her to pet them.
Organization Corollary
Constructs organized in a framework.There are constructs that are categories of other constructs.
-Superordinate
-Subordinate
Example: I think that all dog breeds can make good companion animals. However, I think that Jack Russell Terriers are highly active and make better companions to young, energetic people. I think that German Shepherds are highly loyal and protective and make better companions to people conscious of their personal security.
dichotomy corollary
Constructs are bi-polar and mutually exclusive. We know what we expect to happen and what we expect not to happen. This way, we have a full understanding of the different ways events might occur.

Example: I think Basset Hounds are good companion dogs. I expect them to be low energy, clownish, and sweet. I do not expect them to be highly active, sober, or aggressive.
Choice Corollary
-Choose one of the two dimensions (poles) when we decide which action to take
High risk - low prediction
Low risk - high prediction
-One is a safe choice and one is a risky choice.Our construct system grows when we choose riskier alternatives.

Example: Based on my constructs, I would typically choose to adopt a Basset Hound in the future. This is a safe choice for my lifestyle and it has worked out well in the past - I would predict it would work out well in the future. I made the riskier decision to adopt a chow-mix. Although it has been more difficult dealing with her, it has greatly expanded my experiences and my understanding of my relationships with different breeds.
Range Corollary
Constructs are only appropriate for certain events (a range of convenience). Some ranges are large and others are smaller. The range covers the applicability of the construct.

Example: Basset hounds can be spotted yellow, brown, black, or combo colored. That is their range (yellow but not brown, black, or combo spots; brown but not yellow, black, or combo spots, etc.). This range does not apply to chow mixes. They are not spotted. On the other hand, chow tongues can be pink, purple, or combo colored. This range does not apply to basset hounds.
Experience Corollary
We judge our expectations (constructs) against reality. We make adjustments as events change and as we have new experiences.

Example: I expect that all well-behaved dogs with their owners will allow me to pet them. However, I saw my counsin get bitten by my families daschaund. I now do not expect that all of these dogs will let me pet them.
Modulation Corollary
We are able to fit new experiences in existing constructs. They are permeable to different extents. Some are flexible (and the range increases) while others are inflexible. This differs from person to person.

Example: If I thought that all dogs could make good (versus bad) companions to people and was unable to modulate this construct, then it would not be very permeable. If I met 5 abused dogs that were unable to adapt to companionship, but still failed to believe that there are some dogs that do not make good companions, then I was unable to modulate my construct about dogs. If I had a more flexible construct, then it would be more permeable to new experiences
Fragmentation Corollary
Constructs can be in conflict. We are able to cope with this conflict by prioritizing our constructs. We can tolerate the incompatibility of a new construct if we determine if it is less or more important that our original construct.

Example: I think that any dog I had would be a good pet because my construct is that dogs are good (versus bad) companions to humans. However, I have had a dog that was aggressive with children and would not be a good companion to a home with a child. I am able to tolerate this inconsistency because my idea that dogs are good companions is superordinate than my idea that some dogs do not make good pets with some types of families.
Commonality Corollary
Groups of similar people might have similar constructs based on their culture or shared experiences.

Example: I share the view that dogs make good companions with my husband, my family, many of my friends and families' friends. We all come from a culture with similar experiences and expectations about dogs as pets. However, in Nepal, dogs are a nuiscence and even a danger. It is not a cultural norm that dogs are considered companions. Instead, cows make good animals for ownership.
Sociality Corollary
We are able to keep our social bond by constructing ideas about other peoples' constructs. We behave based on how well we understand other peoples' constructs.

Example: I know that [one student] does not like animals. I try to understand her construct about dogs as pets. She has expressed to me that animals are wildlife and should be kept away from her. I respect that opinion and understand that we are different and have different constructs.
cognitive complexity:
-Sophisticated system
-See variety among people
-Better prediction
-Better able to deal with inconsistencies
Example-All students in this class are less experienced in having jobs related to psychology, but I am less experienced in having jobs in areas such as working in theology or service fields. I have more knowledge about clinical psychology, but less knowledgeable about military affairs, law enforcement, motorcycles, etc.
cognitive simplicity:
-Less Sophisticated system
-Less ability to judge differences in people
-Worse prediction
-Less able to deal with inconsistencies
Example-All students in this class are less experienced and knowledgeable than I am, as a rule, since I am older and have more education.
Free will vs determinism?
Free will - We are able to change constructs based on new experiences.
Nature vs nurture?
BOTH Nature and nurture - our rational processes are innate, but our experiences are how we use our rationality to construe events
past vs present?
Present and future oriented - We are able to make new constructs at any time based on experiences
Uniqueness vs universality?
BOTH Unique and universal - we all have different constructs based on our own experiences, but people with similar experiences will have similar construct systems
Equilibrium vs Growth?
Growth - making a construal system to handle experiences.
Optimism vs pessimism?
Optimistic - We are rational beings