Attempting Measurement of Psychological Attributes

Publication: Scientific journalJournal articlepeer-review

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Abstract

Measures of psychological attributes abound in the social sciences as much as measures of physical properties do in the physical sciences. However, there are crucial differences between the scientific underpinning of measurement. While measurement in the physical sciences is supported by empirical evidence that demonstrates the quantitative nature of the property assessed, measurement in the social sciences is, in large part, made possible only by a vague, discretionary definition of measurement that places hardly any restrictions on empirical data. Traditional psychometric analyses fail to address the requirements of measurement as defined more rigorously in the physical sciences. The construct definitions do not allow for testable predictions; and content validity becomes a matter of highly subjective judgment. In order to improve measurement of psychological attributes, it is suggested to, first, readopt the definition of measurement in the physical sciences; second, to devise an elaborate theory of the construct to be measured that includes the hypothesis of a quantitative attribute; and third, to test the data for the structure implied by the hypothesis of quantity as well as predictions derived from the theory of the construct.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1 - 4
JournalFrontiers in Psychology
Volume4
Issue number75
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2013

Austrian Classification of Fields of Science and Technology (ÖFOS)

  • 502052 Business administration
  • 502019 Marketing
  • 502020 Market research
  • 509 not use (legacy)

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