A construct, also known as a hypothetical construct or a psychological construct, is a scientific tool used to facilitate understanding of human behavior. All sciences are built on systems of constructs and their interrelations. The natural sciences use constructs such as gravity, temperature, phylogenetic dominance, tectonic pressure, and global warming. Likewise, the behavioral sciences use constructs such as conscientiousness, intelligence, political power, self-esteem, and group culture.

The simplest way to think about a psychological construct is to consider it a label for a cluster or domain of covarying behaviors or events. For example, if we observe someone sitting in a classroom before an examination biting his or her nails, fidgeting, lightly perspiring, and looking somewhat alarmed, we might say that he or she is experiencing test ...

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