Re: attitudes, beliefs & constructs

Devi Jankowicz (
Thu, 7 May 98 22:36:16 +0100

Lynda Koenig writes:

>So my reason for delaying would be to establish basic notions like
>construct structures, laddering, resistance-to-change, Individuality,
>Commonality, and Sociality corrolaries first of all.))
>I'm very interested in this discussion and would appreciate some
>discussion/description of 'laddering' and 'resistance to change exercises.'

I'm sure lots of colleagues on this mailing list will respond to this
one! Here's my own tuppence-worth.

Laddering is a procedure by which you ask your respondent to indicate
which pole of a construct s/he prefers, followed by a question to
establish his/her reason for the preference: "why, for you, is this pole
preferable?". The result is expressed as a new, superordinate construct;
and the preference-reason-new superordinate construct procedure repeated
iteratively, until it becomes absurd to ask for further reasons. The
resulting, "most-superordinate" construct is interpreted as a core
construct and, in some situations, as a personal value.

This procedure is repeated for all the constructs a person has recorded
in his/her grid, and a set of most-superordinate constructs obtained.

Resistance-to-change involves comparing these most-superordinate
constructs pairwise, iteratively for all combinations, and recording the
preferences expressed: from which it is possible to obtain a hierarchy of
more central, and less central, superordinate constructs which, for the
applications I use them in, can be seen as a personal values hierarchy.

The classic reference to both is:
Hinkle, D.N. _The Change in Personal Constructs from the Viewpoint of a
Theory of Implications_ Unpub. Ph.D. Dissertation, Ohio State University,
but this may be difficult to obtain; you'll find a description of each
procedure in several of the more technique-orientated textbooks.

I don't have them to hand, being at home right now, so I'm sure
colleagues will correct me on the details: but I'm fairly certain that
you'll find a description in one or other of the following:

Bannister, D. & Mair, M. _The Evaluation of Personal Constructs_ London:
Academic Press 1968.
Fransella, F. & Bannister, D. _A Manual of Repertory Grid Technique_
London: Academic Press 1977.

Kind regards,

Devi Jankowicz