How do we organize and understand the world around us? In this review of seminal scholarship on the subject Phin Upham reviews some of the major theories and integrates their conclusions.
Construal, the sense in which we organize our world around facts rather than facts organizing the world for us, is a crucial concept in psychology, and, in a related way, sociology. It highlights the sense in which our world is created through our own sense-making mechanisms and undermines the idea that we are objective or see the world the way all others see it. It can either cause us to throw our hands us in the air in despair over the seeming lack of coherence (or, more specifically, the lack of necessary coherence, in the world) or it can cause us to look in wonder at the human animal an its variations, complexities, and perspectives. Ultimately, construal is a necessary thing ‘” meaning is not intrinsic but created from a frame of reference, interpretation is not absolute but relative. Construal is a process that moderates between the useful, the truthful, and the environment in order to help sense-make (sometimes for the better, sometimes for the worse) for an individual.
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