Knowing What We're Talking About

Facilitating Decentralized, Unequivocal Publication of and Reference to Psychological Construct Definitions and Instructions


  • Gjalt-Jorn Peters Theory, Methods and Statistics, Faculty of Psychology, Open University of the Netherlands
  • Rik Crutzen Department of Health Promotion, CAPHRI, Faculty of Health, Medicine and Life Sciences, Maastricht Universit



Constructs, Theory Development, Jingle-Jangle Fallacy, Measurement, Validity, Epistemic Iteration


A theory crisis and measurement crisis have been argued to be root causes of psychology's replication crisis. In both, the lack of conceptual clarification and the jingle-jangle jungle at the construct definition level as well the measurement level play a central role. We introduce a conceptual tool that can address these issues: Decentralized Construct Taxonomy specifications (DCTs). These consist of comprehensive specifications of construct definitions, corresponding instructions for quantitative and qualitative research, and unique identifiers. We discuss how researchers can develop DCT specifications as well as how DCT specifications can be used in research, practice, and theory development. Finally, we discuss the implications and potential for future developments to answer the call for conceptual clarification and epistemic iteration. This contributes to the move towards a psychological science that progresses in a cumulative fashion through discussion and comparison.


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