study, therefore, is to show the developmental steps of a measurement scale of expertise. With nominal-level measurement, for example, the only available measure of central tendency is the mode. For example, to say that a particular college student is highly extroverted (see Note 5.6 “The Big Five”) does not necessarily mean that she is behaving in an extroverted way right now. One reason is that many scientific constructs do not have counterparts in everyday language (e.g., working memory capacity). Psychological construct is a type of psychological measurement. Second, the levels of measurement can serve as a rough guide to the statistical procedures that can be used with the data and the conclusions that can be drawn from them. The difference between 30 degrees and 40 degrees represents the same temperature difference as the difference between 80 degrees and 90 degrees. Psychological testing may sound intimidating, but it's designed to help you. Notice also that neither extroversion nor fear “reduces to” any particular thought, feeling, act, or physiological structure or process. With each of these scales there is direct, measurable quantity with equality of units. This is what allows researchers eventually to draw useful general conclusions, such as “stress is negatively correlated with immune system functioning,” as opposed to more specific and less useful ones, such as “people’s scores on the Perceived Stress Scale are negatively correlated with their white blood counts.”. ), or they could time each runner to the nearest tenth of a second using a stopwatch (11.5 s, 12.1 s, etc.). Types of Reasoning Associated with Psychological Testing Inductive Reasoning - from Data to General Theory. Behavioral measures are those in which some other aspect of participants’ behavior is observed and recorded. For example, a researcher wishing to measure consumers’ satisfaction with their microwave ovens might ask them to specify their feelings as either “very dissatisfied,” “somewhat dissatisfied,” “somewhat satisfied,” or “very satisfied.” The items in this scale are ordered, ranging from least to most satisfied. Transmission of aggression through imitation of aggressive models. In others, researchers are still in the process of deciding which of various conceptual definitions is the best. Height measured in meters and weight measured in kilograms are good examples. As such, they can be used to help predict future behavior. The nominal level of measurement is used for categorical variables and involves assigning scores that are category labels. In either case, they would be measuring the runners’ times by systematically assigning scores to represent those times. The sum of these 21 ratings is the score and represents his or her current level of depression. Psychology is the study of behavior. In psychology, the intelligence quotient (IQ) is often considered to be measured at the interval level. But researchers have operationally defined it in several ways. In addition to self-report and behavioral measures, researchers in psychology use physiological measures. Another reason psychological constructs cannot be observed directly is that they often involve internal processes. One cannot say that someone with an IQ of 140 is twice as intelligent as someone with an IQ of 70 because IQ is measured at the interval level, but one can say that someone with six siblings has twice as many as someone with three because number of siblings is measured at the ratio level. The psychologist S. S. Stevens suggested that scores can be assigned to individuals in a way that communicates more or less quantitative information about the variable of interest (Stevens, 1946). Their operational definition, then, was the number of these specifically defined acts that the child committed in the 20-minute period. The idea is that the various operational definitions are “converging” on the same construct. In reality, the label “zero” is applied to its temperature for quite accidental reasons connected to the history of temperature measurement. B. Kline is an easy-to-read, upper-level textbook covering topics related not only to basic psychological testing practices but also to methodological research components. (Psychological measurement is often referred to as psychometrics The measurement of psychological variables and constructs..) Imagine, for example, that a cognitive psychologist wants to measure a person’s working memory capacity—his or her ability to hold in mind and think about several pieces of information all at the same time. In others, researchers are still in the process of deciding which of various conceptual definitions is the best. Also, ratio-level measurement is the only level that allows meaningful statements about ratios of scores. a length of 50 cms, is twice the length of 25 cms. These kinds of variables are called constructs (pronounced CON-structs) and include personality traits (e.g., extraversion), emotional states (e.g., fear), attitudes (e.g., toward taxes), and abilities (e.g., athleticism). Since money has a true zero point, it makes sense to say that someone with 50 cents has twice as much money as someone with 25 cents. Fear, for example, involves the activation of certain central and peripheral nervous system structures, along with certain kinds of thoughts, feelings, and behaviors—none of which is necessarily obvious to an outside observer. They let each of several children play for 20 minutes in a room that contained a clown-shaped punching bag called a Bobo doll. Students sometimes wonder why, when researchers want to understand a construct like self-esteem or neuroticism, they do not simply look it up in the dictionary. (1961). For example, a conceptual definition of neuroticism (another one of the Big Five) would be that it is people’s tendency to experience negative emotions such as anxiety, anger, and sadness across a variety of situations. Measurement is the assignment of scores to individuals so that the scores represent some characteristic of the individuals Finally, physiological measures are those that involve recording any of a wide variety of physiological processes, including heart rate and blood pressure, galvanic skin response, hormone levels, and electrical activity and blood flow in the brain. Rating scales are used frequently in psychological research. Psychological stress and the human immune system: A meta-analytic study of 30 years of inquiry. However, zero on the Kelvin scale is absolute zero. In fact, she might be sitting quietly by herself, reading a book. For example, if you look at your research participants as they enter the room, decide whether each one is male or female, and type this information into a spreadsheet, you are engaged in nominal-level measurement. study, therefore, is to show the developmental steps of a measurement scale of expertise. For example, repeated samples of saliva can been obtained over the day and analyzed to measure the profile of cortisol release in people exposed to different levels of daily stress (Almeida et al., 2009). However, in addition, the same ratio at two places on the scale also carries the same meaning (see Table 5.2). Psychological constructs cannot be observed directly. Other variables studied by psychologists—perhaps the majority—are not so straightforward or simple to measure. Define measurement and give several examples of measurement in psychology. Stages of Scale Development The American Psychological Association (1985, as quoted in Hinkin, 1995) established that sound measures must For example, a psychology instructor might measure his students’ attitude toward critical thinking using the same measure at the beginning and end of the semester to see if there is any change. An electroencephalograph (EEG) records electrical activity from the brain. In physics, for example, one might measure the potential energy of an object in Earth’s gravitational field by finding its mass and height (which of course requires measuring those variables) and then multiplying them together along with the gravitational acceleration of Earth (9.8 m/s2). Personality assessment, the measurement of personal characteristics. We cannot accurately assess people’s level of intelligence by looking at them, and we certainly cannot put their self-esteem on a bathroom scale. The main research question is whether it is possible to develop a scale that truly measure expertise. For any given variable or construct, there will be multiple operational definitions. These measures generally fall into one of three broad categories. The difference between temperatures of 20°C and 25°C is precisely 5°, but a temperature of 0°C does not mean that there is a complete absence of heat. Instead, it means that she has a general tendency to behave in extroverted ways (talking, laughing, etc.) This definition might also include that it has a strong genetic component, remains fairly stable over time, and is positively correlated with the tendency to experience pain and other physical symptoms. These measures generally fall into one of three broad categories. But while the rank ordering procedure communicates the fact that the second-place runner took longer to finish than the first-place finisher, the stopwatch procedure also communicates how much longer the second-place finisher took. One reason is that they often represent tendencies to think, feel, or act in certain ways. The Daily Hassles and Uplifts Scale is similar but focuses on everyday stressors like misplacing things and being concerned about one’s weight. In particular, the difference between two levels of an ordinal scale cannot be assumed to be the same as the difference between two other levels (just like you cannot assume that the gap between the runners in first and second place is equal to the gap between the runners in second and third place). Items are added up to a score, and it is assumed that this score represents a person’s position on the construct. Finally, physiological measures are those that involve recording any of a wide variety of physiological processes, including heart rate and blood pressure, galvanic skin response, hormone levels, and electrical activity and blood flow in the brain. To do this, she might use a backward digit span task, in which she reads a list of two digits to the person and asks him or her to repeat them in reverse order. The Big Five is a set of five broad dimensions that capture much of the variation in human personality. Behavioural measures are those in which some other aspect of participants’ behaviour is observed and recorded. You can often tell whether someone is male or female just by looking. The level of measurement affects the kinds of statistics you can use and conclusions you can draw from your data. The three examples clarify that psychological attributes are not directly observable through sensory detection but have to be inferred from the person’s responses to a set of problems or statements or other kinds of stimuli not discussed here, such as building blocks, mazes and games (used in child intelligence measurement) and ranking and sorting tasks (for … In psychology, the intelligence quotient (IQ) is often considered to be measured at the interval level. The level of measurement affects the kinds of statistics you can use and conclusions you can draw from your data. Normal personality assessment in clinical practice: The NEO Personality Inventory. This is why the research literature often includes different conceptual definitions of the same construct. Statisticians express this point by saying that the differences between adjacent scale values do not necessarily represent equal intervals on the underlying scale giving rise to the measurements. Psychological measures typically come from one of three categories. Be as precise as you can. She then repeats this several times, increasing the length of the list by one digit each time, until the person makes an error. Next: 5.2 Reliability and Validity of Measurement, Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. Start studying Psychological Testing & Measure Exam 1. The nominal level of measurement is used for categorical variables and involves assigning scores that are category labels. Perhaps the most common measure of internal consistency used by researchers in psychology is a statistic called Cronbachs α (the Greek letter alpha). One reason is that they often represent tendencies to think, feel, or act in certain ways. Category labels communicate whether any two individuals are the same or different in terms of the variable being measured. The author is very effective at presenting relevant issues, facts, descriptions, examples, and statistics in a logical and concise … Types and Examples of Psychological Tests. An operational definition is a definition of a variable in terms of precisely how it is to be measured. In psychological measurement we like to quantify the amount of reliability of a test with a statistic called the Pearson correlation coefficient. Different levels of quantitative information that can be communicated by a set of scores. Psychologists talk about a person’s “present functioning” in terms of their test data. To measure a psychological construct such as extraversion, psychologists often use questionnaires with multiple items. Their operational definition, then, was the number of these specifically defined acts that the child committed during the 20-minute period. Psychological Testing: A Practical Approach to Design and Evaluation by Theresa J. Interval scales are not perfect, however. 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