Re: Personal Constructs and Memes

Hans-Cees Speel (
Wed, 2 Jun 1999 09:25:52 +0200

From: "Hans-Cees Speel" <>
Date: Wed, 2 Jun 1999 09:25:52 +0200
Subject: Re: Personal Constructs and Memes
Message-Id: <>

Dear Bill,

I see a good chance to learn here, since I understand very little of
your explanations. I would like to ask you to think of me as a new
student that is not too bright:-) that you have to explain to what you
are doing. I can understand here and there that you make grids and
so on. But I do not understand why you do that: what are you trying
to prove or what are the research questions? In the same time some
others on this list that are good memeticians but not psychologists
might be able to think along as well. Memetics is made up of
biologists, philosophers, economists and so on, and only some can
follow some others usually...

Second how are you trying to prove things?

I think when I understand that I can better see what you could do
with memetics.

> > A repertory grid is a matrix of ratings or rankings in which some set of
> > elements are elaborated along some construct dimension, For example, we
> > might use a list of ten memes as the elements and rate them on a list of
> > eight constructs, such as promotes civility, historically relevant,
> ambiguous, and so forth.

OK, but why and how?

The elements are generally listed as the column
> headings and the constructs as the row headings, > > Another type of grid
> is called the coordinate grid (my invention). In this grid the row and
> column headings are the same and are called figures, The person ranks the
> figures to one another according to some criterion, such as "general
> similarity."

OK, here you explain a how

The coordinate grid can be analyzed for logical consistency
> and integrative complexity. Logical consistency concerns the transitivity
> of the rankings, If a person looses track of her definitions or is
> psychologically motivated to ignore or fabricate some aspects of the
> "general similarity" space in some comparisons (for example, the
> similarity of wife to mother), then inconsistencies emerge in the
> analysis,

I see, but wh ydo you do that?

My studies have shown that the coordiate grid measure of
> logical inconsistency is sensitive to simulated contradictions and lies,

I do not understand this I am afraid.

> Random grids are the most inconsistent, followed by those of
> schizophrenics, neurotics and young child > >


Since we can choose what to
> use as figures, we can objectively assess the logical consistency of just
> about any person's views of anything, making the assessment based on the
> person's own premises.

could you give an example please ?

Since it is possible for those premises to be
> factually incorrect though consistent with one another, consistency does
> not necessarily imply truth.


Many bigoted people are logical so long as
> they restrict their constructions to certain premises and information.
> This makes them very difficult to reason with. Inconsistency, on the other
> hand, does imply untruth.

only when you are referring to things in reality I think, not with
concepts and abstracts and so on I think.

> > Integrative complexity concerns the extent
> to which each figure contributes an equal amount of information in
> defining "general similarity." This is especially important when the
> figures are people,

I do not understand that figures can be people?

Poor integrative complexity is usually a type of
> stereotyping, People high in integrative complexity tend to be more
> flexible and better at integrating information, Older kids also tend to be
> more integratively complex.

what is more integratively complex?

Perfect integrative complexity produces a
> self similar pattern of elaboration: > > 1 2 3 4 > 2 1 4 3 > 3 4 1 2 > 4 3
> 2 1 > There are 24 possible distinct juxtapositions of four numbers, and
> six possible of three (and 120 possible of five, 720 possible of six,
> etc. n! (n factorial)(1 x 2 x ...x (n - 1) x n) determines the number of
> possible combinations for any quantity n of distinct numbers). Just
> keeping the math straight so that your proposed grid will circumscribe all
> possibilities. > >

what is the use of the math here? What is the meaning of changing the place of
these figures? Yoiu lost me completely here I am afaid.

This can be expanded in size by doubling to infinity,
> The above matrix, which I call the mandala grid, is also perfectly logical
> and serves as a model of healthy construction of persons, The Platonic
> solids and other forms, which some people refer to as "sacred geometry"
> are also perfectly integratively complex.


> > My measure of causation
> allows us to infer causation from correlation, Do not laugh too hard, I
> have presented the method to thousands of statisticians and not one has
> been able to disprove it.

Can you give me an example please?

Several eminent methodologists have admitted
> that it appears to work, Most people just dismiss it without being able
> to argue their case with logic or data, Ad hominems are still alive and
> well in academe. Anyway, corresponding regressions/ correlations allows to
> determine is some variable (whole) is made up of other variables (parts).
> This is what Aristotle called formal causation. I have a paper that can
> be downloaded on this the following sight: >
> > > Additional papers are
> now under review and it looks like they are going to be accepted. > >

It would be nice if memetics could somehow fit too.

> Corresponding regressions/correlations can be used to trace the evolution
> of variables. > > The distinction between loose and tight constructs is
> found in George Kelly's personal construct theory, In essence, a loose
> construct is one that retains its identity but changes its element
> relations with the context, The personal construct literature has had a
> great deal of trouble distinguishing loose from illogical construction but
> according to Kelly they are not the same (the coordinate grid measure does
> not confound the two). An example of loose but logical construction might
> be getting different factor structures for the same constructs, across
> male versus female elements. There is nothing illogical about this.
> Friendly may have a common abstract meaning for both sets of elements but
> differ in details for the two sets of elements. > > Well that is my ten
> minute version of 25 years, Are there any parallels between personal
> constructs and memes? > > Bill > > >

I do not dare to answer that yet, until I better understand you I think.
This all does remind me of beliefstructures by Sabatier in the policy
literature. Do you know that?



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Theories come and go, the frog stays [F. Jacob]
Hans-Cees Speel
Managing Editor "Journal of Memetics Evolutionary Models of Information Transmission"

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For information about the journal and the list (e.g. unsubscribing)