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The Difference Between

What is the difference between concepts and construct?

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July 02, 2014 8:14PM

Concepts and constructs are both abstractions. Man, table, tree, insect, etc are abstractions and so are ideas of motivation, beauty, attitude, etc. The difference lies in the nature of "objects" the abstractions are made from: The existence of the objects from which the abstractions are made may be factual or hypothetical. Where factual, the abstraction is a concept (e.g., table) and where the object is hypothetical or inferential, the abstraction is a construct (e.g., motivation).

Kaplan explains that constructs are theoretical concepts that are based on observations that cannot be observed directly or indirectly (e.g. IQ, or motivation in the definition above). Calling a construct real is a reification.