Kelly’s Personal Construct Theory

  1. In the beginning, there was Freud. And Freud did give utterances, and the word was with Freud.

    Yeah, that’s Freud who used crack cocaine to bolster his creativity as he formed theories, and yes, it was Freud who came up with the oedipus complex. Not the fellow who I would be inviting round for dinner.
    Fortunately, over a century of research later we have been rescued by other paradigms, one of which came from George A. Kelly. Standing out from Freud and the ideas from the Learning Theorists, Kelly maintained that we are not passive learners, determined by inner processes and our environment, instead we are active little ‘scientists’, using our experiences to make sense of our world. We form hypotheses, and life tests them until we have beliefs that predict outcomes.
    These belief’s are called personal constructs, and how they are formed depends on a number of sub theories, called ‘collories’, which explain how and why we might reach certain constructs. Kelly measured these personal constructs in people using the ‘Role Construct Reporatory Test’ (see below).
    I really like this principle. On moral grounds I do not believe in determinism. There is no way that our actions can be down to factors beyond our control. The implications of such imply that human driven punishment need not exist. Practically applied, I can see these principles in action. I do see how we try to predict what others do, and how at times one gets it wrong, and experiences a shift in judgement. It lays on people the responsibility to choose their own destination, and embraces the reality that then external factors affect the journey.
    Below I have tweeted the details of what I read about Kelly’s research.
  2. Psychoanalytic’s say learning is implicit. Learning theorists say happens through the environment. Both say the learner is passive #pid13
  3. Psychoanalytic’s interpret distrust as a characteristic, learning theorists see it as a learnt response #pid13
  4. George A. Kelley’s 1955 theory gives a role to our inner processes and and external environments. #pid13
  5. People function as scientists, trying to understand and control the world around them #kelly #pid13
  6. Unlike scientists we do not have objective data to work with #kelly #pid13
  7. We make hypotheses, but only occasionally share them. Sharing them makes us realize others see the world differently #kelly #pid13
  8. Personal Constructs: the different perceptions of why things are as they are #pid13
  9. We are free to change our constructs, therefore we are free to change our minds #pid13
  10. That being flexible to change ones mind is called ‘Constructive Alternativism’ #pid13
  11. Superordinate construct: Long term goal #pid13
    You choose it, then it determines some of your choices
  12. A persons psychological processes are channelized by the ways in which he interprets events #kelly #pid13
  13. Identifying similarities necessitates identifying differences #pid13
  14. Construction corollary: the process we use to understand what is going on #pid13
  15. Certain forms of psychological help aid the construction corollary. #pid13
  16. Individuality corollary: Individual differences exist, and we each see them differently. E.g. aggressive or assertive? #pid13
  17. Organisation corollary: a hierarchy of constructs, determining which should be processed first #pid13
  18. Dichotomy corrolary: how we see it, e.g. good or bad, happy or sad. All corrolaries are dichotomous #pid13
  19. Choice corrollary: people are free to choose what best fits with their world. People will choose what helps them grow #pid13
  20. Range of convenience corrollary: some constructs will be more used than others. A convenient construct is more usable #pid13
  21. Experience corrollary: we can change our constructs according to experience. E.g. If someone we call polite is then aggressive. #pid13
  22. Modulation corollary: Permeable and impermeable. Those with impermeable constructs will condemn selves for violating own constructs #pid13
  23. Fragmentation corollary: People don’t always keep to the rules #pid13
  24. Community corollary: People with similar constructs will behave similarly. #pid13
  25. Sociality corollary: We work better with others when our constructs are similar. Good social interaction is build adapting constructs #pid13
  26. Pre-emptive const.: ball is a ball
    Constellatory const.: Stereotype > you do this
    Propositional const.: All open to change
  27. Kelly’s theory based on an innate need to accurately understand the world #assumptions #pid13
  28. CPC cycle: we examine all available constructs, and narrow down to select the one believed to me most beneficial, and then use it… #pid13
  29. Ideally one will develop with a set of accurate and flexible constructs. This development is lifelong. #pid13
  30. Kelly used normal participants. He researched through introspection #pid13
  31. No scoring system on rep grid test. Just provides insights. #pid13
  32. Bieri (1955): Similar rows = client does not differentiate others = cognitive simplicity (opp. cognitive complexity) #pid13
  33. Cognitive complexity = better at predicting others and more sensitive to others’ views #pid13
  34. What if we hand out rep tests to do for our presentation? #pid13