personal construct theory(redirected from Personal constructs theory)
personal construct theorya social psychological theory of PERSONALITY and social perception, part of the school of PHENOMENOLOGICAL PSYCHOLOGY, and based on the notion that each individual develops a unique personal construct system (their personality) made up of interrelated bipolar constructs (e.g. good-bad). This system is used to construe, i.e. anticipate and predict, future events, social and non-social, and therefore presents a model of the person which has been characterized through an analogy to scientific activity. Where prediction fails constructs should be modified or abandoned, though in reality this does not always occur, as in the case of those with stereotypical attitudes.
Personal construct theory has been formulated very precisely by its originator, George Kelly (Kelly, 1955), in terms of a fundamental postulate and eleven elaborative corollaries. Kelly also devised the repertory grid technique to elicit constructs. Individuals identify similarities and differences between triads of elements (e.g. people known to them), each identification being expressed as a construct, and all constructs then being applied to all elements, to generate the full grid. Applications of personal construct theory include psychotherapy and analyses of‘problem’ behaviours such as stuttering and alcoholism.