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Theoretical Constructs

  1. Melvin H. Marx

Published Online: 30 JAN 2010

DOI: 10.1002/9780470479216.corpsy0991

Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology

Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology

How to Cite

Marx, M. H. 2010. Theoretical Constructs. Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology. 1–2.

Author Information

  1. N. Hutchinson Island, FL

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 30 JAN 2010


It is relatively easy to name directly observable behaviors like eating and running. Understanding what accounts for these behaviors is a much more difficult task. When the relevant antecedent conditions are known, such as the presentation of a noxious stimulus (for running) or the presentation of food after it has been withheld (for eating), researchers can begin to understand such behaviors. But there is more to the problem than simply identifying antecedent conditions. Attributing overt behaviors to presumed covert intraorganismic functions, such as fear and hunger, requires the naming of those functions. Such naming is essentially the problem of theoretical constructs.


  • constructs;
  • hypothesized internal processes;
  • intervening variables;
  • theoretical constructs