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Lecture

George Kelly


Department
Psychology
Course Code
PSY230H1
Professor
Maja Djikic

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George Kelly
The Person as a Scientist
In our attempts to understand the world we develop personal constructs that are like
hypotheses which make the world more meaningful to us.
If the constructs fit our experiences we hold onto them, if they do not we seek to change
them.
He placed emphasis on the ways in which people construe the world and thus is
perceived as a cognitive theorist who stresses the process of knowing as the primary
factor in personality development.
He however, felt that his theory should not be classified and instead considered
independently.
The cognitive view: rejects behaviourist view that people react passively to stimuli.
Instead it explores the various ways in which we respond to the environment by actively
processing the information we receive into new forms, categories, and mental
representations of the world.
We actively construct reality.
Behaviour is in part determined by attitudes, expectations and beliefs.
Constructive Alternativism
His theory is based on the philosophical position constructive alternativism: any one
event is open to a variety of interpretations.
The world does not automatically make sense to us and we therefore have to create ways
to understand it. No reality outside our interpretations of it.
Individual’s complex constructions should be the subject of study.
Objective truth of a persons interpretations are not important for they not knowable.
Our position in the world is one of constructive alternativism, as we change or revise our
constructs in order to understand it more accurately.
The world is not a fixed given that can be immediately understood.
The validation process is central to the psychology of personal constructs.
Fundamental Postulate and Corollaries
A persons processes are psychologically channelized by the ways in which he anticipates
events. The way in which individual anticipates events is crucial to behaviour. The future,
not the past is the primary impetus for behaviour.
There are 11 corollaries presented to elaborate the fundamental postulate.
1) Construction: place interpretation on event in order to understand the world.
2) Individuality: No two people interpret events in the same way.
3) Organization: Interpretations are not haphazard or arbitrary. We all organize
constructs in a series of ordinal relationships reflecting our belief that some
constructs are more important than others. We develop a system of constructs.
4) Dichotomy: we make assertions and indicate that the opposite quality is not
characteristic of it (an event). All constructs are of a bipolar form.
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