Overview of Personal Construct Theory

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Overview of Personal Construct Theory

Personal Construct Theory Overview

By Kendra Cherry  Fact checked by Emily Swaim Updated on September 20, 2020

Table of Contents

Personal construct theory suggests that people develop personal constructs about how the world works. People then use these constructs to make sense of their observations and experiences.

The world we live in is the same for all of us, but the way we experience it is different for each individual. For example, imagine that you and your friend are going for a walk in the park and you spot a large brown dog. You immediately see a graceful and adorable animal that you would like to pet.

Your friend, on the other hand, sees a threatening animal that she wants to avoid. How can two people have such a different interpretation of the same event?

According to psychologist George Kelly, personality is composed of the various mental constructs through which each person views reality. Kelly believed that each person was much like a scientist. Just like scientists, we want to understand the world around us, make predictions about what will happen next, and create theories to explain events.

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Overview of Personal Construct Theory