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Some correspondence rules refer to behaviour (an observable) and these correspondence rules provide the concept with its operational component. However, other observables are also introduced into correspondence rules and it is the correspondence rules using these other, non-behaviour, observables which provide the nature component with meaning. A hypothetical construct can have one of three different natures. In other words it can have one of three different kinds of ontological status. Different kinds of correspondence rule are used to describe each of these different kinds of nature.

However, atheoretical characterisations of individuals are very limited and so when describing the individual it is common to make explicit theoretical assumptions. The observable characteristics are taken merely as indicators of the underlying theoretical concepts. Theoretical concepts in psychology are generally referred to either as hypothetical constructs or as intervening variables. The difference between hypothetical constructs and intervening variables was defined by MacCorquodale and Meehl (1948).

Examples of physiological hypothetical constructs are neurones and transmitter substances. Physiological 'hypothetical constructs', like other 'hypothetical constructs', are described by correspondence rules which refer to observables. The observables used in the description of physiological 'hypothetical constructs', like the observables used in the description of theoretical concepts in other disciplines, comprise a ragbag of THE NATURE OF HYPOTHETICAL CONSTRUCTS 47 everyday observation or 'thing language' (Carnap, 1938).

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