• Role Construct Repertory Test
Personal construct theory maintains that all people are motivated to reduce uncertainty in their lives. In this manner, each person is like a scientist who is attempting to solve complex problems. Instead of dealing with complex equations in chemistry and physics, however, one is attempting to unravel the complexities of one's own life and the relationships that one has developed. Just as scientists are constantly making changes in their theories and research claims based on the availability of new evidence, people change the way they look at their subjective worlds on the basis of new evidence. That evidence appears in the form of new interactions with significant others in people's lives, such as spouses, children, parents, and bosses. When new evidence is made available, a person will alter his or her thought patterns in order to reduce uncertainty in the future. This view forms the basis of George A. Kelly's principle of constructive alternativism—the view that people are entitled to their own views of the world and that they will make use of those views in order to reduce uncertainty in the future.
Kelly became involved in personal constructs theory late in his career. Ironically, his early experiences as a psychologist did not even involve the study of personality. It was only in 1955, twelve years prior to his death, that he published The Psychology of Personal Constructs: A Theory of Personality. In this work, he defined and discussed the concept of a construct. For Kelly, a construct is a thought that a person has for the purpose of attempting to interpret events; these interpretations may prove to be accurate or inaccurate. In those situations in which a construct leads to an incorrect prediction of an event, the person is likely to change the construct. All of Kelly's con structs are dichotomous in nature; that is, they are made of pairs of polar op-posites that cannot be simultaneously correct when referring to the same person. For example, one cannot view one's boss as both intelligent and unintelligent at the same time. Similarly, one's boyfriend or girlfriend cannot be seen as cruel and kind at the same moment.
Was this article helpful?