How do the constructs you use affect the way you communicate with others?
To get a clearer sense of the kinds of judgments you make, think of specific people who fit the following categories: a family member, a teacher, a male friend, a female friend, a person you dislike, and a person you work or socialize with.
Choose two of these people and list five to ten adjectives that describe ways in which these people are similar and five to ten adjectives that describe ways in which they are different. Then, choose two other people and repeat the exercise. It is acceptable to use some of the same adjectives again. Finally, choose another person (or one of the people you examined earlier) and compare them to yourself. List five to ten adjectives that describe how you and this person are similar and five to ten adjectives that describe how the two of you are different. These adjectives represent some of your personal constructs. Now analyze your list, clustering together constructs that are similar.
Write a paper in which you discuss what your list tells you about your values. Address the following issues and any other insights you gained from completing the paper:
• Do you have a relatively stable set of constructs about people, or do your constructs vary widely depending on whom you are judging?
• Does stereotyping enter your judgment process; for example, do you use different kinds of constructs to describe men than to describe women? Are the constructs you use fair? Are they complete? Do they allow you to make adequate assessments of others?
• Did you judge yourself more favorably than you did others?
• How do the constructs you use affect the way you communicate with others?
• Discuss how people can be encouraged to develop a rich and complex set of personal constructs.