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A hypothetical variable or system which does not purport to accurately represent or model given observations but has a heuristic or interpretative value concerning them. Constructs may be (1) ideal types as the economist's concept of rational behavior. Rationality can be formalized, leads to elaborate constructions for the motivation of economic behavior and stimulates empirical inquiries into why actual behavior does not quite conform to it. Constructs may be (2) hypothetical entities, processes or mechanisms which would explain the connections between observed causes and consequences if those entities, processes or mechanisms existed. Human memory is such a construct. It bridges the gap between past experiences and current behavior. Psychological examples are the Freudian id, ego, and super ego for which physiological evidence is principally unavailable. Finally, constructs may be (3) the algorithms capable of generating (see generative) a certain process or product without evidence for whether this rather than another computational procedure is followed in practice. computer simulation of an economy exemplifies the case where the computer algorithm is known to be entirely different from (but in the aggregate (see aggregation) not incompatible with) the reasoning that may go on in the marketplace. Theory in computational linguistics similarly aims to construct mental processes algorithmically. (Krippendorff)
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