An exploratory study of behavioral correlates of personal constructs: I. Relationships between personal constructs and object sorting behavior



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It was the purpose of this thesis, one of four interrelated exploratory studies in the general field of personality organization, to investigate patterns of relationships and to generate hypotheses concerning the interrelatedness of characteristic methods of conceptualization on an object sorting concept-formation task with methods of conceptualizing people and with other behavior tendencies—higher order personality traits, rigidity-fluidity in social attitudes, motor perseveration, and verbal facility. Five of the tasks were group-administered stored and one, the criterion measure, was individually-administered. The tasks were: (1) object sorting task; (2) Role Construct Repertory Test; (3) Cattell's The 16 P. F. Test; (A) the Wesley Rigidity Scale; (5) writing 'q's' forward and backward; and (6) Thurstone's Word Fluency Test. Subjects for the experiment were one hundred seventeen students enrolled in undergraduate courses in psychology at the University of Houston. To determine whether significant associations existed between the thirty measures derived from the six tasks, a chi-square test was employed. A tetrachoric correlation was computed to determine the magnitude of the significant chi-square associations. A pattern analysis procedure was then utilized in which selected variables from the predictor measures were analyzed in terms of their perceived relationships with conceptual behavior on the object sorting task. Significant findings relating conceptual organization on the object sorting task and conceptual organization on the Hole Construct Repertory Test were meager and without apparent pattern. The indication is that public and closed conceptualization styles in object sorting is associated with more variability in the use of personal constructs, and conversely, open-private object sorting conceptualization seems to be related to invariance in the use of personal constructs. The results of the pattern analysis indicated consistent relationships existing between four conceptual styles (open conceptualization, conceptual constrictiveness, private conceptualization, and public conceptualization) and clusters of personality traits from the 16 P. F. Test. These findings were interpreted in terms of reality-checking and communicability of the conceptualizations and social effectiveness of the behaviors cited by Cattell which constituted the personality trait clusters. Conceptual organization as measured by the object sorting task did not predict to performance on the rigidity test used in this study. No significant relationships were found between conceptual organization as measured by the object sorting task and the word fluency test. It was inferred that these two areas of behavior may be independent factors, although conclusive evidence cannot be drawn from the present study. Significant findings relating conceptual organization on the object sorting task and the perseveration task indicated a slight tendency for public conceptual style to be associated with more perseveration on the alternating motor task. Conversely, private conceptual style was found to relate slightly to less perseveration on the motor task. The results of the pattern analysis revealed a tendency for the younger subjects to be more public in conceptual organization and conversely, a tendency for the older subjects to be more private in conceptual organization.



Personality tests