Re: A stimulating article

Mon, 25 Sep 1995 16:26:53 +1000

> I want to call attention to a very valuable article
>that has come into my hand. To do so, I will offer
>something of a preamble, and then will make some comments on
>the content of that article.
> I do hope that I will stimulate some discussion!!!
> On several occasions, attempts have been made to
>diminish our neo-Kellian view of personal construct
>psychology by referring to this view as "entirely TOO
> I have never been able to determine why ultra-
>cognitivism is regarded as a fault of neo-PCP! I think that
>this charge is assumed to have validity because the person
>making the charge has a limited view of cognitive processes
>and of the results of current studies of those processes. I
>think that those making this charge take a REACTIVE view of
>cognitive processing to be the prevailing view. Taking a
>reactive view of cognitive processing would say something
>like this, "We build a construction. Store it away, and
>then retrieve that construction in situations in which
>inputs appear to replicate that construction." Thus, this
>semblance of constructivism sees persons as being reactive,
>rather that PROACTIVE. [Thanks to Mike Mahoney s
>clarification of this distinction, in his articles in early
>numbers of the JPCP.] That is, yes, it does see persons as
>constructing their own world views [with some help from the
>surrounding cultures], but once those views are developed
>the person is then constantly REACTIVE. The limitations of
>this kind of view can be adduced quite readily -- e.g., we
>would forever give the EXACT same self presentation whenever
>we found our selves in a particular situation!!
> A proactive constructivism would require that, in every
>instance, the persons builds on-the-spot constructions to
>fit over inputs.
> With the next part of this preamble, I would like to
>point out the tremendous power of the formulations offered
>in Kelly s original personal construct theory. The power
>emanates, as it should, from the comprehensive fundamental
>postulate of Kelly s theory -- "A person's processes are
>psychologically channelized by the ways in which he
>anticipates events."
> If one cannot find, in the cognitive science literature,
>a foundation for this postulate, then cognitive science will
>be of little value for the development of a neo-PCP. [That's
>an assertion. I could back it up with other exposition.]
> In 1981, when Jack Adam-Webber and I wrote the chapter
>on the fundamental postulate in the book which we edited
>[The Construing Person}, we took up the work of some of the
>cognitive scientists [p. 25 of the chapter] to support the
>idea that ANTICIPATIONS is reflected in the cognitive
>science work which supports the idea of "models," or
>"standards." We gave special attention to a paper written
>by Stephen Grossberg, which appeared in PSYCHOLOGICAL
>REVIEW, 1980 -- How does the brain build a cognitive code?
>Notice the brain BUILDS a cognitive code.
> We took these standards to be the schemata which a
>person builds as he/she processes the flow of inputs. We
>had stated, "In a contextualist model of persons, where
>schemata are a central strand in the context, one's
>ANTICIPATIONS are nothing other than the schemata that are
>ASSEMBLED to incorporate, integrate, or assimilate the
>incoming information." [Let me note that I would support the
>proposition that the unit of "storage" from which these
>standards are ASSEMBLED would be the dichotomous constructs
>which are hierarchically organized in the person's construct
>system -- but again, that's a whole other set of bags.] The
>point is, these standards are built on-the-spot, and they
>are built in order to anticipate the continued flow of
> Okay -- I promised a long preamble....
> Now for the article I want to recommend. Stephen
>Grossberg has written a superb article, which is published
>in the September-October, 1995 number of THE AMERICAN
>SCIENTIST - the organ of Sigma Xi. The title: THE ATTENTIVE
> With this article in hand, I stand boldly to face the
>charge that our neo-PCP is "too cognitive."
> I do hope that I have stimulated all of our PCP
>colleagues to rush right out to the library, to copy this
>article, to study it, and to tell me how I am right [or
>wrong] to willingly accept the claim that a neo-PCP can
>incorporate Grossberg's ideas into our broader theory.
> One problem, which I will need to think more about as I
>restudy Grossberg's article. He does talk about FEATURES of
>down-to-top and top-to-down processing. Can I legitimately
>claim that we can substitute ONE OR ANOTHER POLE OF A
> Happy reading -- I hope to hear from all of you.
> Jim Mancuso
Professor Mancuso

Alastair Anderson from Australia calling in.

Thanks for your refernce to fuzzy logic in your book The Construing Person.

I wonder if you could comment on a few things for me?

1. Would you agree that the notion of Bipolarity and Dichotomy should be
distinguished as seperate concepts? In my view Bipolarity is about meaning
whereas Dichotomy is about the way in which one rates that meaning.
Sometimes the two are coincident. Further a person may choose to rate an
element in a dichotomous way but this need not mean that the constuct is
Bipolar. It just means that the construct is meaningful as a dimension.

2. What do you think about the idea of treating constructs as fuzzy sets
named according to the emergent pole as long as the implicit pole is either
the semantic opposite (Bipolar) or is meaningful as a dimension for the

3. Would you agree that if a construct is not a meaningful dimension then it
could be split into two fuzzy sets onr for the explicit pole and one for the
implicit pole and rated accordingly without necessarily eliciting the
implicit pole?

I would appreciate your help on this one

Thanks in anticipation

Alastair Anderson