Re: Constructs and attitudes
Thu, 27 Jun 96 12:31:00 +0500

Lindsay, Rainer and Rolf,

I share your interest in finding ways to explain behavior with PCT. I particularly
wish to capture a preference model of an individual for input to decision support
technology for medical decision analysis, etc.

I have been influenced by my local environment to consider the overlap of utility
theory in the conceptualization of preference models. Utility assessment (ie,
determining the value an assumed rational person places upon a given outcome) in
such an environment is most successful when "standard gamble" or "time trade-off"
methodology is employed to elicit a numerical value for the individual's
appreciation for the specified attribute of their world view. I am exploring the
use of these methodologies to elicit such numerical data for a patient's interest
in changing their perceived health along the axis of their personal constructs of
healthiness. This should ultimately be manifest by their behavior or choices
exercised in medical decision making when faced with options not dominated by
physiologic considerations (like breathing, not-dying, reducing a fractured bone).
The potential to elicit the dimensions of healthiness with the classic triad
presentation of repertory grid and PCT feeds my expectations (perhaps also my
Kellian anticipations).

If we can determine the utility function (dependent variable=value, independent
variable=position on the range of the p. construct) behavior qualitatively or
"compute the value", at least relative to some anchor or other values, we can then
compute or reason about the value of a vector of such attributes (or constructs)
at least partially. This basically points in the direction of multi-attributed
utility function theory for arriving at comparable quantitative models of
"construct vectors" which make up a patient's perspective, ie, the salient issues
in their decision making. Of course this all hinges upon the underlying "rational
human" assumption.

Does anyone know of other attempts to merge personal construct theory with the
utility theory of economics and decision analysis or utility assessment?

Questions or comments are coveted.


Duane Steward, D.V.M., M.S.I.E., Fellow A.A.V.I.
Fellow in Medical Informatics
Clinical Decision Making Group; Laboratory for Computer Science; M.I.T.
NE43-415 545 Technology Square Cambridge, MA., 02139 URL:
(617) 253-3533 Group Office: 253-5860 Fax: (617) 258-8682