Deconstructing, reconstructing, preserving Paul E. Meehl's legacy of construct validity

Brendan A. Maher, Irving I. Gottesman

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


The question of the status of cause-and-effect explanations of human behavior that posit physically existing causative factors and those that, on the other hand, posit hypothetical entities in the form of "useful fictions" has a long history. The influence of the works of Jeremy Bentham and Hans Vaihinger, as well as the later influence of Francis Galton, is described. Issues of the validity of hypothetical constructs and related problems of measurement and definition as found in psychoanalytic theory construction and in trait theory are examined. The significant and continuing interest generated by the landmark studies of K. MacCorquodale and P. E. Meehl (1948) and L. J. Cronbach and P. E. Meehl (1955) as well as the central importance of P. E. Meehl's thinking are described.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)415-422
Number of pages8
JournalPsychological assessment
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 1 2005


  • Construct validity
  • History of science
  • Philosophy of science


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