| Hierarchical construing
|Kelly introduced this
notion when he stated that "...constructs may be used as
seeing other constructs as in the hierarchical relationships of
within a system. In that sense, superordinate
constructs are versions of those constructs which are subordinate to
(p.136) . Kelly provides an example of this with a 16-point scale (a
scale) for a superordinate construct derived from four increasingly
The notion of hierarchical construing was taken up most comprehensively
by Hinkle (1965). Hinkle’s work was not published directly but was
treated extensively by Bannister and Mair (1968, pp. 78-96). This
account has formed the basis of most subsequent evaluations of this
work. It was first formally evaluated by ten Kate (1981) who raised an
important issue with respect to the notion of implication. Does imply
represent superordinate --> subordinate or
does it represent subordinate --> superordinate?
to reverse the question; which is the more superordinate construct: the
predictor or predicted? In Hinkle’s procedure, the superordinate
construct is the
one predicted while in another scheme (Hays,1958), the predicting
(in his terms, trait) is the more important. Caputi, Breiger and
(1990) have also drawn attention to this contradiction. While
relationships are most closely associated with the techniques devised
Hinkle to elicit them, laddering
and implications grids,
can also be detected in repertory grids as shown for example by Shaw
Gaines (1981) and Smithson (1987)
D., and Mair, J. M. M. (1968) The evaluation of personal constructs.
London: Academic Press
P., Breiger, R., and Pattison, P. (1990) Analyzing implications
grids using hierarchical models. International Journal of Personal
Construct Psychology, 3, 77-90.
W.L. (1958) An approach to the study of trait implication and
trait similarity. In R. Tagiuri and L. Petrullo (Eds.) Person
perception and interpersonal behavior. (pp. 289-299) Stanford, CA:
Stanford University Press.
D.N. (1965) The change of personal constructs from
the viewpoint of a theory of construct implications. Unpublished
PhD thesis, Ohio State University.
A. (1975) Frames and cages: The repertory grid approach to
human understanding. Brighton, UK: Sussex University Press
M.L.G, and Gaines, B.R. (1981) Recent advances in the analysis of
a repertory grid. British Journal of Medical Psychology, 54, 307-318.
M. (1987) Fuzzy set analysis for behavioral and social
sciences. New York: Springer-Verlag.
Kate, H. (1981) A theoretical explanation of Hinkle’s
implication theory. In H. Bonarius, R. Holland, and S. Rosenberg (Eds.)
Personal Construct Psychology. (pp. 167-175)
Richard C. Bell