Re: Constructs and attitudes

Thu, 27 Jun 1996 14:09:22 +0200 (METDST)

Dear Lindsay,
You ask:
> 1) Are there any other reasons that the relationship between constructs
> and behaviour (Kelly's analogy of behavior as the experiment, or question to
> test the construing) has produced little research? Do you feel it is not
> operationalisable/ quantifiable?

I think, that the relation between personal constructs and observable
behavior has not been the focus of Kelly's work. This may partially be
due to the idiographic orientation of PCT. Most models (if not all)
that predict behavior make these predictions for groups (samples) of
persons. You may have to reconstruct a persons personal constructs in
more abstarct categories to derive predictions (as it is done in the
Theory of Reasoned Action). This reconstruction means, that you are
constructing a new (less general but for a specific purpose more
powerful) theory. Several theories, like Walter Mischels social
learning reconceptualization, are influenced by PCT, but introduce
more specific theorectical constructs (like intentions or goals etc.)
to make predictions.

> 2) How and why would you integrate TRA into a PCT framework?

I would not do it. I try to see the relation and what we can gain from
it. In the case of attitudes and constructs, repgrid methods may
fruitfully be used in the research on attitudes.

> I wrestle with the idea of how to find
> better quantitative predictors of this behaviour or even whether I should be
> or can from the PCT perspective?

I have no specific idea here. From a PCT perspective you would try to
find out the personal meaning of using / not using a condom, e.g., the
implications of one or the other alternative. However, in attitude
research numerous models exist, that are directly related to this
decision making process. I think there is not that much of a gap
between PCT and TRA that you can expect to increase correlations from
.30 (?) to .50 (?) by adoption a 'PCT' approach. May be someone else
has a good idea?

> 3) Are TRA and PCT incompatible in their assumptions about the actor? TRA
> seems to assume a rational decision maker who occasionally strays from reason
> to take risks. PCT uses the CPC cycle and the choice corollary to describe
> decision making but seems a long way from claiming "reasoned or rational"
> action.

Kelly coined the metaphor of 'man the scientist'. This sounds quite
'reasoned and rational' to me. If I remember it correctly, beliefs in
Fishbein and Ajzen's model may be very 'irrational' in the sense that
they may be false or shared by no one else.

Kind regards

Rainer Riemann Phone: <0>521 106 4529
Universitaet Bielefeld Fax: <0>521 106 5844
Fakultaet fuer Psychologie e-mail:
und Sportwissenschaft
Postfach 100131
D-33501 Bielefeld