Re: Each Angel its Own Species

Hemant Desai (
Wed, 13 Mar 1996 20:06:38 -0600 (CST)

Bill Chambers wrote (inpart):

> In my replication of Mairs study I used Mairs trait & like self grid
> in one condition. In another condition I used all whole figure constructs.
> The figures were chosen to be people who were either like self or
> not like self. In this condition, there was much more polarization- those
> people judged unlike self correlated negatively with the "like self"
> construct, those selected to be like self correlated positively with
>"like self". Thus the polarization that Mair used to test meaningfullness
> of whole figure constructs actually was greater when we restricted
> the grid to whole figures. It was apparently the traits that could not
> come up to the meaningfulness of whole figures, not the other way around.
> The study should be repeated rating self in many situations on like self and
> on (un)characteristic traits. Then we could see if people add up to
> themselves.
> It is possible that sometimes, for some people, that the trait constructs
> elicited to add up to "like self" do not add up to like self. It depends
> on whether the person is doing the adding or not. We know from mathematical
> simulations that if they do add them up, then corresponding regressions will
> reflect this. This puts us miles ahead of where Mair left us- thinking
> that whole figure constructs were meaningless.
> The reduction of people to abstractions, instead of the elaboration of
> people by abstractions, is rampant in psychology.
> The most malicious expression of this is the dismissal of another person's
> experience by a diagnosis. We have seen this recently on Mr. Nightingale's
> net. It is a shame that the diagnostician's, both certified and uneducated,
> have not had more to say about a fellow scientist's mathematical,
> philosophical psychological ideas. But it is not surprising. Some people
> put the ideals of the bandwagon before the lives of real people.
> Thank you for putting my person before your diagnosis. Bill

Dear Bill:

First, let me say that as someone entrusted with some responsibility
for this "net" [ I must confess I haven't been so bold in two years:) ]
that you are welcome to share your knowledge without fear of derision.

Your research and experience with personal construct theory has been
one of the most enlightening that I have heard so far. I gather from your
posts and vita that you have visted India. Since I am a native of that
land I am very curious to hear about your early work especially your
master's theses and the paper on a synthesis of Kelly's work in relation
to eastern mandalas and cognitive-psychosocial development.

Personally, I have found Gregory Bateson's work to be helpful both in
professional counseling and in teaching (the idea of the "double-bind"
and the metacommunicative aspects of semiotics) and, in particular, the
concept of cybernetics. Also, I believe that Bateson's work (and that
of Anthony Wilden: System and Structure, 1980) is quite relevant to
research on grid methods and interview techniques. Of course,
many of these ideas are already at the core of Kelly's writings.

I know that Foley (1988), in Fransella and Thomas (Eds): Experimenting
with PCP, tried to show that Kelly and Bateson were compatible. I have
posted prior on the importance of going beyond the basic axiom/frame
of reference & corrollaries and connecting with existing alternatives to
practices in academic psychology (Jung's archetypes are a good example).

I would like to learn more about the coordinate grid as a measure of
logical consistency and conceptual differentiation--a la Harvey, Hunt
and Schroder (1961). I am in the process of designing a study that
would use both ranked and rated grids with each respondent (with
the ranked grid having the same events as elements and constructs) and
the rated grid with supplied constructs drawn from previous qualitative
research on social and moral reasoning.

Unfortunately, no one here at UNL is very familiar with the intricacies
(and potential pitfalls) of the grid that I could ask advice from for
an upcoming dissertation proposal. Thanks in advance for any help or
thoughts on such issues. With best wishes...

Hemant Desai

Phone (402) 476 7311 (home)
(402) 472 5423 (work-message)
Address: P.O. Box 85671, Lincoln, NE 68588-0641 USA