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Lecture 8

PSY230H1 Lecture Notes - Lecture 8: Major Force, Oedipus Complex, Limiting Factor

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Maja Djikic

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PSY230H1F Lecture 8; Nov. 02, 2011
Cognitive Approach
Swing to what matters IS the thinking
George A. Kelly (1905-1967)
Unlikely candidate to have such an impact
Born in Kansas in 1905
An only child; his mother doted on him
No Oedipus complex
Father a Presbyterian minister and farmer who
was forced to give up his ministry for reasons of
health, but did occasionally follow his calling
over the years
Parents devoutly religious, and always working
to help the needy
Attended one-room elementary school
Attended high school in Wichita, Kansas, living
away from home much of the time after he was
B.A. in physics and mathematics
Nothing to do w psychology
Developed interest in psychology, and entered
into graduate school at the University of Iowa in
Worked in physiological psychology, but
decided to drop it for more humanitarian work
to see how it relates to the community
Worked hard on the development of
psychological services for the state of Kansas
He was a major force in establishing
traveling psychological clinics
Major force in life was onset of World War II
Entered the Navy as aviation psychologist
War brought considerable demand for training
of clinical psychologists
PTSD: dif values & concerns, hard to
readjust to regular ppl’s concerns
Many clinical psych programs opened up
So professions started after war
1946: Became prominent as a professor &
director of clinical psychology at Ohio State
University – over the next twenty years built
into one of best clinical programs in world
Died in 1967, relatively young
Structural constructs
Based approach to psych on a single
philosophical assumption
“We assume that all of our present
interpretations of the universe are subject
to revision or replacement”
No such thing as a fact, only
Constructive alternativism
Construct an interpretation, can choose
alternate interpretations of world based
on what we see
World in which we live is one of continually
changing interpretations or points of view
rather than a world of frozen meanings
Anything that we look at in the world
can be interpreted differently based on
our interpretations and constructs of
the world
What is a ‘person’?
Human being is not passive & inert
“All bhvr is anticipatory in nature.”
Do things since expect certain outcome
Gained theory about how things are
Bhvr is person’s way of posing questions
about life.
“… every man is, in his own particular way,
a scientist.”
Meant for this theory to be real
Test hypotheses, challenge and
reconstruct interpretation if wrong
Bothered by distinction btwn how
psychologists view their bhvr & their
subjects’ bhvr.
Philosophical split
Skinner did not suffer from this, had a
theory of him and others (not just
Person looks at life, notes series of
recurring events which seem repetitive,
then places interpretation upon this
predictable aspect of his or her experience.
Involves abstracting from events &
interpreting subsequent events thru these
Ex. Abstraction of ppl being unhappy
when you are late – induces neg
experiences on behalf of someone ekse
So this theory is rly an abstraction
Construct is lens thru you look at world
Most of us have multiple lenses, multiplicity
of theories
Not essential that a construct be named
Can be a visual gesture
We are all prone to it
Children begin formulating constructs even
before they can speak
Ex. Don’t have word for Mother but can
construct it, calm down at sight of this
person, make predictable anticipations
Why did Kelly call his constructs personal
They kind of are personal
Private, unique, even peculiar
We don’t know what an indiv’s language
means until we have an understanding of
their constructs
Ex. “love”, problem of construct coming
from misunderstanding each other’s
meaning of love

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Fundamental postulate
A person’s processes are psychologically
channelized [this term was coined by Kelly; it
simply means directed or determined] by the
ways in which he anticipates events
(hypotheses about the world)
11 corollaries
Corollaries: The person as a process
1. Construction corollary:
A person anticipates events by construing their
Abstracting what has happened to you over
and over again
Ex. When someone opens a door for me,
they tend to say thank you; so peeved when
someone doesn’t say thank you
1. Individuality corollary
Persons differ from each other in their
construction of events.
Ex. Dif meanings of love, dif emotional
Corollaries :Hierarchy of experience
3. Organization corollary
Each person characteristically evolves, for his
convenience in anticipating events, a
construction system embracing ordinal
relationships between constructs
Not all constructs are framed at same level
of abstraction, so some have broad
reference in our lives, whereas others refer
to very limited & specific life events
A superordinate construct is said to
subsume (include the meaning of) a
subordinate construct
“Loyalty” may be superordinate to the less
abstract concept of “working unselfishly”
and “doing what is asked”.
Series of related interpretions, some more
brief, others more specific
Ex. Love can include caring for one another
4. Dichotomy corollary
A person’s construction system is composed of
a finite number of dichotomous constructs
Kelly claimed we need to name both ends of
the construct in order to define it properly
“We do not explicitly express a whole
construct if we say, “Mary and Alice
have gentle dispositions but neither of
them is as athletic as Jane.” We would
have to say something like this, if we
were to express a true construct: “Mary
and Alice are gentle; Jane is not.” Or,
we might way, “Jane is more athletic
than Mary or Alice.”
Kelly referred to the two ends of construct
as poles of the construct (similarity pole &
contrast pole)
Construct always says how things are
alike (similar) & also different (contrast)
from 3rdthing
Corollaries: Limitations of anticipation
4. Choice corollary
A person chooses for himself that alternative in a
dichotomized construct through which he
anticipates the greater possibility for extension
and definition of his system
Pick an interpretation that suits of better
Ex. Have fight; interpret event to support
you construction system (that you are nice
and the other person is mean)
4. Range corollary
A construct is convenient for the anticipation of a
finite range of events only
Implies that any construct is limited to a
finite range of events. Limiting factor is
relevance. Outside this range it is not
contrasting, it’s irrelevant.
Ex. Weather; words/constructs that wouldn’t
apply: hard, soft, tall, short
7. Experience corollary
A person as construction system varies as he
successively construes the replication of events
A person is not an passive onlooker – but
revises his system
Corollaries: Variation versus Stability
7. Modulation corollary
The variation in a person’s construction system is
limited by the permeability of the constructs
within whose range of convenience the variants
Permeability of constructs
Relative capacity for a construct to take
on new elements/meanings
‘This is clearly a chair and all one can
do is use it as a chair.”
Prevents black-and-white thinking
Corollaries: Variation versus Stability
7. Fragmentation corollary
A person may successively employ a variety of
construction subsystems which are inferentially
incompatible with each other
When you use subsystems of constructs that
are not logically consistent with one another
For example you may want to treat your
child both like an adult (and scold them for
something) & a baby (hugging them)
Using constructs that don’t respond
together, pick one not both
Corollaries: Shared experience
10.Commonality corollary
To the extent that one person employs a
construction of experience which is similar to that
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