Re: Constructivism,constructs, + Kellians

Tim A. Connor (
Tue, 11 Jun 1996 23:03:59 -0700 (PDT)


Going to the source for a definition of construct:

"Man looks at his world through transparent patterns or templets which he
creates and then attempts to fit over the realities of which the world is
composed. The fit is not always very good. Yet without such patterns
the world appears to be such an undifferentiated homogeneity that man is
unable to make any sense out of it. Even a poor fit is more helpful to
him than nothing at all.

"Let us give the name _constructs_ to these patterns that are tentatively
tried on for size. They are ways of construing the world. They are what
enable man, and lower animals too, to chart a course of behavior,
explicitly formulated or implicitly acted out, verbally expressed or
utterly inarticulate, consistent with other sources of behavior or
inconsistent with them, intellectually reasoned or vegetatively sensed"

Elsewhere, he defines a construct as an axis upon which one plots one's
experience, and discusses the formal characteristics in detail. He is
quite explicit that it is not a category, class, set, or symbol.

I believe you also asked about the postulate and corollaries, and I don't
believe anyone ever did post them. They are (without elaboration --
apologies to those for whom this is old news):

Fundamental postulate: A person's processes are psychologically
channelized by the ways in which he anticipates events.

1. Construction corollary: A person anticipates events by construing their

2. Individuality corollary: Persons differ from each other in the
construction of events.

3. Organization corollary: Each person characteristically evolves, for
his convenience in anticipating events, a construction system embracing
ordinal relationships between constructs.

4. Dichotomy corollary: A person's construction system is composed of a
finite number of dichotomous constructs.

5. Choice corollary: A person chooses for himself that alternative in a
dichotomized construct through which he anticipates the greater
possibility for extension and definition of his system.

6. Range corollary: A construct is convenient for the anticpation of a
finite rang eof events only.

7. Experience corollary: A person's construction system varies as he
successively construes the replication of events.

8. Modulation corollary: The variation in a person's construction system
is limited by the permeability of the constructs within whose range of
convenience the variants lie.

9. Fragmentation corollary: A person may successivley employ a variety of
construction subsystems which are inferentially incompatible with each other.

10. Commonality corollary: to the extent that one person employs a
construction of experience which is similar to that employed by another,
his psychological processes are similar to those of the other person.

11. Sociality corollary: to the extent that one person construes the
construction processes of another, he may play a role in a social process
involving the other person.

There's really no substitute for reading Kelly's explanation; I suggest
the 1963 book A THEORY OF PERSONALITY, readily available in paperback and
not expensive.

I've enjoyed following the discussion, and hope to join in more actively
as soon as I get through midterms. Now back to the grindstone...



Tim Connor, M.S. "Psychotherapy is not
Pacific University an applied science, it
School of Professional Psychology is a basic science in
2004 Pacific Avenue which the scientists
Forest Grove, OR 97116 USA are the client and his
<> therapist"
--George Kelly