Kelly’s Personal Construct Theory of Personality
Kelly’s Personal Construct Theory of Personality advances the notion that reality and every phenomenon that comprise it, are only meaningful when viewed through constructs that are developed based on upbringing and culture. By this theory, it is understood that humans understand reality by experiencing it and adapting. Unlike some psychological theories, this one is easily understood, as it is something that each person does, either consciously or unconsciously, on a daily basis. Personally, when meeting new people I have observed that I have developed two constructs in my mind to sort and understand those people.
Among the first things that creates an impression upon me in a social setting is another individual’s handshake.
While a firm and aggressive handshake is clearly not directly caused by a good and straightforward personality, but I have personally found that I tend to believe that a man or woman with a good handshake is a good person. Despite the fact that I am cognizant of the lack of correlation, my past experiences have shown that this is true, and therefore I unconsciously conflate the two phenomena.
Additionally, when meeting new people in the workplace, their status within the company affects my perception of them. I generally agree with the principles that my company espouses and the way in which it conducts business. Due to this observation, I have created a paradigm in which I assign value to those individuals who have moved up in the organization. This is not necessarily an ideal way to evaluate people who I know very little about, but the construct in my mind leads me to believe that it is a fair evaluation.
In short, Kelly’s Personal Construct Theory of Personality applies almost constantly to most activities of many human beings. It is almost a common sense theory. Distilled down to its most basic principles, it says that we do not mentally reassess every situation from scratch. Instead, we use past experience to predict future success.