Kelly's Original Role Construct Repertory Test

The goal of the Role Construct Repertory Test (or simply Role Repertory Test, RRT) is to understand how an individual views (that is, construes) his or her world, especially those people known to the person with whom he or she plays different roles. The RRT is often referred to as an 'idiographic' measurement procedure because it permits the individual to freely describe self and others using his or her own language. Described briefly, the individual completing the RRT is first asked to provide the names of different people he/she knows personally. The individual is then asked to compare and contrast people from the list in groups of three. For instance, the individual might be asked to consider, 'Mom', 'Dad', and 'Self' and describe how two of the three people are similar to each other and distinct from the third. The response is provided in bipolar form; e.g., happy / sad, ignorant / wise, troubled / stable. The compared people are referred to as 'elements' and the bipolar responses are referred to as 'personal constructs.' The personal constructs essentially comprise the 'personal theory' the individual uses to make sense of his or her world.

 

The original Minimum Context Card Form of the RRT is completed in two steps. In the first step the person is asked to elicit names or titles (for example, 'Dad', 'Mom', 'Uncle Ted') from the following Role Title List:

  1. A teacher you like. (Or the teacher of a subject you liked.)
  2. A teacher you disliked. (Or the teacher of a subject you disliked.)
  3. Your wife or present girlfriend ... Your husband or present boyfriend.
  4. An employer, supervisor, or officer under whom you worked or served and whom you found hard to get along with. (Or someone under whom you worked in a situation you did not like.)
  5. An employer, supervisor, or officer under whom you worked or served and whom you liked. (Or someone under whom you worked in a situation you liked.)
  6. Your mother. (Or the person who has played the part of a mother in your life.)
  7. Your father. (Or the person who has played the part of a father in your life.)
  8. Your brother nearest your age. (Or the person who has been most like a brother.)
  9. Your sister nearest your age. (Or the person who has been most like a sister.)
  10. A person with whom you have worked who was easy to get along with.
  11. A person with whom you have worked who was hard to understand.
  12. A neighbor with whom you get along well.
  13. A neighbor whom you find hard to understand.
  14. A boy you got along well with when you were in high school. (Or when you were 16.)
  15. A girl you got along well with when you were in high school. (Or when you were 16.)
  16. A boy you did not like when you were in high school. (Or when you were 16).
  17. A girl you did not like when you were in high school. (Or when you were 16).
  18. A person of your own sex whom you would enjoy having as a companion on a trip.
  19. A person of you own sex whom you would dislike having as a companion on a trip.
  20. A person with whom you have been closely associated recently who appears to dislike you.
  21. The person whom you would most like to be of help to. (Or whom you feel most sorry for.)
  22. The most intelligent person whom you know personally.
  23. The most successful person whom you know personally.
  24. The most interesting person whom you know personally.

Here are the instructions for eliciting the names as provided by Kelly:

   The examiner instructs the subject, "Here are some titles which should suggest to you some people you know. You are asked to write the names of these people on these cards. On this first card it says, 'A teacher you liked.'" The examiner hands the subject a numbered 3" x 5" card bearing the role title. "If the name of that teacher happens to be Smith, then write his or her name in the bland space on the card."
   On presentation of the third card the examiner says, "You find as you go through this list that you will think of someone whose name you have already listed. When this happens write down the name of another person who seems most like that person, so that, when you are through, you will have all different names."
   If, for example, the subject has difficulty recalling a teacher he liked, the examiner may say, "...or the teacher of a subject you liked." The alternative titles are indicated in parentheses below.
   The remainder of the role titles are presented in a similar way.

Once all of the names are listed on the numbered cards, the person moves on to the second step of generating personal constructs using the Triadic Method. Here are Kelly's instructions:

   The examiner says, "Now I would like you to tell me something about these three people." The examiner hands the subject cards 18, 20, and 21. "In what important way are two of them alike but different from the third?"
   The examiner records the subject's response on a blank form opposite "Sort Number One -- Construct." Usually the subject will indicate spontaneously which two cards are being judged as alike. If he does not, the examiner asks him.
   Then the examiner points to the odd card and says, "How is this person different?"
   The examiner records the subject's response to the second question in the blank marked "Contrast."
   The remaining 'sorts' are elicited and recorded in the same fashion.

Here are the sorts (sets of three cards) to which Kelly referred:

  1. 18, 20, 21
  2. 2, 22, 23
  3. 9, 10, 24
  4. 8, 12, 19
  5. 4, 11, 21
  6. 1, 3, 15
  7. 5, 14, 17
  8. 7, 13, 16
  9. 6, 9, 18
  10. 1, 8, 22
  11. 3, 21, 23
  12. 7, 14, 20
  13. 3, 6, 7
  14. 1, 9, 24
  15. 10, 12, 17
  16. 4, 11, 19
  17. 2, 6, 20
  18. 5, 13, 15
  19. 8, 10, 16
  20. 4, 11, 12
  21. 14, 17, 18
  22. 2, 19, 23
  23. 5, 13, 22
  24. 15, 16, 24
  25. 1, 12, 21
  26. 4, 5, 17
  27. 7, 20, 24
  28. 6, 8, 16
  29. 2, 9, 15
  30. 3, 10, 11
  31. 13, 14, 18
  32. 19, 22, 23

The original RRT thus yields 32 bipolar terms from the subject completing the procedure. Kelly recommended flexibility during the process, "As the sorting progresses the examiner may substitute or add special combinations in order to test the subject's handling of certain figures or types of figures or to check the permeability of certain constructs." (p. 223)


Kelly discussed several versions of the original Minimum Context Card Form of the RRT above. The Full Context Form involves using all of the cards at once. Here are Kelly's instructions:

   All of the cards are spread out before the subject and the examiner says, "I want you to consider the important ways in which groups of these people are alike. Will you arrange these cards so that the people who are alike in some important way are together?"
   As soon as the subject selects two cards to be put together, the examiner says, "How are those two alike?"
   When a third or any subsequent card is added the examiner says, "Are these still the ____ ones?"
   When a card is taken away from a group the examiner asks, "Why did you take that one away? Are you still thinking of that pile as the _____ ones now?"
   The examiner records the way in which the piles are built up in sequence, by using numbers to indicate the cards which are added or removed from groups.
   When the subject indicates that his sorting is complete, the examiner rechecks the constructs which identify the groups and checks the constructs which identify the cards left in isolation, if any. A record is kept of the final classification of all cards, whether grouped or not, as well as of the runing record of intermediate constructs and their elements.


Kelly described the Sequential Form as a "...more exacting test of the functional adequacy of a person's constructs..." (p. 225). The instructions are as follows:

   Cards 24, 23, and 22 are presented to the subject in the same manner as in the Minimum Context Card Form. In the second sort the examiner says, "Now let me take this one away (removing card 24) and add this one (adding card 21). Now what would you say is an important way in which two of these people are alike but different from the third?"

The sequence of cards follows:

    24, 23, 22
    23, 22, 21
    22, 21, 20
    21, 20, 19
    ~~~~~~~
    ~~~~~~~
    3, 2, 1
    2, 1, 24
    1, 24, 23
 


The Self-Identification Form involves adding a new card titled 'Myself' to the original twenty-four.

Cards 24, 23, and the myself card are presented to the subject in the same manner as in the Minimum Context Card Form. The administration is like that of the Sequential Form except that the Myself card remains as one of the three cards presented in each sort. (p. 225)


Kelly also envisioned using the RRT in specific contexts with the Personal Role Form. It follows the same format as the Self-Identification Form, but the instructions for eliciting the constructs are as follows:

   Now suppose that the three of you were all together by yourselves for an evening. What kind of place might it be? What would happen? How would you yourself be likely to be acting? How would each of the others be likely to be acting? (p. 225-226)


Group Form

Instructions: Write the name of each of the persons indicated in the blanks provided below. If you cannot remember the name, but do remember the person, simply make a check mark or some other note of identification. If you cannot remember the person, substitute the name of a person whom the role title suggests to you. Do not repeat names. If a role title appears to call for a duplicate name, substitute the name of another person whom the second role title suggest to you.

  1. You mother or the person who has played the part of a mother in your life.
  2. Your father or the person who has played the part of a father in your life.
  3. Your brother nearest your age. If you have no brother, the person who is most like one.
  4. Your sister nearest your age. If you have no sister, the person who is most like one.
  5. A teacher you liked or the teacher of a subject you liked.
  6. A teacher you disliked or the teacher of a subject you disliked.
  7. Your closest girl (boy) friend immediately before you started going with your wife (husband) or present closest girl (boy) friend.
  8. Your wife (or husband) or closest present girl (boy) friend.
  9. An employer, supervisor, or officer under whom you served during a period of great stress.
  10. A person with whom you have been closely associated, who for some unexplainable reason, appeared to dislike you.
  11. The person whom you have met within the past six months whom you would most like to know better.
  12. The person whom you would most like to be of help to, or whom you feel most sorry for.
  13. The most intelligent person whom you know personally.
  14. The most successful person whom you know personally.
  15. The most interesting person whom you know personally.

Construct Elicitation instructions and form:

The sets of three numbers in the following sorts refer to the numbers, 1 to 15, for the people named above.

   In each of the following sorts three numbers are listed. Look at your list of numbered names and consider the three people whom you have listed opposite these numbers. In what important way are two of these three people alike and, at the same time, essentially different from the third? After you have decided what that important way is, write it in the blank opposite the sort marked CONSTRUCT.
   Next encircle the numbers corresponding to the two people who are alike. Write down what you believe to be the opposite of the construct in the blank marked CONTRAST.

  Numbers                          CONSTRUCT                                                               CONTRAST

10, 11, 12    ______________________________________      ______________________________________
6, 13, 14      ______________________________________      ______________________________________
6, 9, 12        ______________________________________      ______________________________________
3, 14, 15      ______________________________________      ______________________________________
4, 11, 13      ______________________________________      ______________________________________
2, 9, 10        ______________________________________      ______________________________________
5, 7, 8          ______________________________________      ______________________________________
9, 11, 15      ______________________________________      ______________________________________
1, 4, 7          ______________________________________      ______________________________________
3, 5, 13        ______________________________________      ______________________________________
8, 12, 14      ______________________________________      ______________________________________
4, 5, 15        ______________________________________      ______________________________________
1, 2, 8          ______________________________________      ______________________________________
2, 3, 7          ______________________________________      ______________________________________
1, 6, 10        ______________________________________      ______________________________________