Publication 7207

Stewart A. E. & Barry J. R. (1991) Origins of George Kelly’s constructivism in the work of Korzybski and Moreno. [Representations: External memory and technical artefacts] International Journal of Personal Construct Psychology 4(2): 121–136.
Although Mahoney (1988) has traced the heritage of general constructive metatheory and Zelhart and Jackson (1983) have examined the influences of Kelly’s Kansas environment on his developing theory, there has been relatively little investigation of the origins of Kelly’s constructivism. Although Kelly (7955) was undoubtedly influenced by many philosophers and psychologists as he developed the psychology of personal constructs, the roles of these people have not been extensively investigated. However, Kelly (1955, 1969) cited, in a general way, the works of Korzybski and Moreno several times in describing the origins of his theory. Lecture notes taken by one of Kelly’s students (Barry, 1948) reveal more specifically the sources (Korzybski, 1933, 1943; Moreno, 1937) that seemed influential as Kelly developed his theories. Kelly borrowed ideas of Korzybski and Moreno, among many others, in creating parts of his role therapy and personality theory. In adapting Konybski’s notion that semantic and linguistic labels are used to understand phenomena in the world, Kelly also accepted the idea that these semantic labels are indeed constructed by individuals. In adapting Moreno’s spontaneous improvisation and self-presentation techniques as a way to change semantic labels, Kelly emphasized that construction processes occur and change in a social realm.
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