One of the fundamental shortcomings of the empirical psychological literature on mental disorders, personality aspects, intelligence, or emotions is that there is a lack of depth regarding the discussion what these psychological constructs are. Researchers often use statistical models such as factor models and find 3 depression factors or 5 personality factors, but it remains entirely unclear what these factors represent. I have written about this in more detail here regarding the psychopathology literature for which this challenge is especially severe.
I was asked recently by the Editor of Health Psychology Review to write a commentary on a paper by Peters & Crutzen entitled “Pragmatic Nihilism: How a Theory of Nothing can Help Health Psychology Progress” (URL). While the paper covers a few interesting ideas, it was somewhat consistent with the majority of the psychological literature in ignoring prior discussion on what psychological constructs are. Continue reading