Re: +ve and -ve values of constructs

Beverly Walker (
Mon, 27 Sep 1999 13:34:54 +1000

dear robert,
I am wondering if you are getting confused by the terms 'positive' and
'negative' poles.

There seems to me to be three usages of these terms in pcp:
1. the first pole of the construct provided.
2. the pole of the construct that is to do with two being similar is
positive, the odd one out negative
3. the side of the construct that is most valued.

To assume that constructs in a vacuum always have an absolute value is,
IMHO, absurd. After all Kelly gave the example of north vs. south and
light vs. dark to illustrate bipolarity. Value can only occur in a
context, which you often find when you ladder. sometimes the nature of
the grid does provide a context as is the case with people as elements,
or at least the person reads in a context e.g. people I want to spend
time with. but if you gave them a context such as people I'd want to be
married to or people who I'd like to supervise me or be my tax
accountant, a very different valuing of construct poles would occur, I
good luck with it, You are right to trust your instincts about your

Assoc. Prof. Beverly M. Walker, Ph.D.
Psychology Dept,
University of Wollongong,
(1999 Australian University of the Year Joint Award)
Northfields Ave,
NSW 2522