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Title: A developmental study of content, structure and change in children's construct systems
Author: Weaver, Malcolm J.
ISNI:       0000 0001 3564 8403
Awarding Body: University of Surrey
Current Institution: University of Surrey
Date of Award: 1980
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Personal Construct Theory, in its original form, says little about the development of construing from infancy to adulthood. The theory accounts for change taking place, and for the general direction of change towards greater validity of construing, but does not deal with the nature of construct systems at different stages of development or the parameters of development from infancy to adulthood. In exploring a theoretical framework for accounting for the development of construing, the relationship between Personal Construct Theory and Piagetian theory is considered. Fundamental similarities are pointed out, and hypotheses are generated concerning the likely course of development in construing. It is hypothesised that construct systems show developmental changes in content, structure and dynamic properties. These hypotheses are examined in two empirical studies of construing in children between 7 and 14 years of age. The first study considers content and structure. There is a developmental trend towards the increased use of psychological constructs and increasing complexity of structure, as manifested by increasing discrimination, differentiation, organisation, balance and openness. Commonality, in terms of relationships between constructs, also increases with age. The second study considers the stability of construct systems and the response to invalidatory feedback. The stability of construct relationships and overall structural characteristics increases with age. It is suggested that there is a curvilinear relationship between the discrepancy of invalidatory feedback and the extent of response. A distinction is made between the degree of discrepancy and the level of invalidation experienced. The amount of invalidation experienced at a particular degree of discrepancy varies with the age and structural characteristics of the individual . Two modes of response to invalidation are identified; change and rigidification. The nature of the response varies with the level of invalidation. The direction of structural change in response to invalidation varies with the structural characteristics of the individual.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Psychology