4. The aptitude for a job or the presence of emotional disturbance can be determined applying standardized tests. A researcher accesses her participants’ medical records and counts the number of times they have seen a doctor in the past year. In some cases, an older conceptual definition has been replaced by a newer one that fits and works better. Numerical variables are those in which the measured trait varies with the magnitude of the numbers assigned to cases. In either case, they would be measuring the runn… 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. 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). The level of measurement affects the kinds of statistics you can use and conclusions you can draw from your data. 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. Be as precise as you can. This framework of distinguishing levels of measurement originated in psychology … For any conceptual definition of a construct, there will be many different operational definitions or ways of measuring it. Stevens actually suggested four different levels of measurement (which he called “scales of measurement”) that correspond to four different levels of quantitative information that can be communicated by a set of scores. When psychologists use multiple operational definitions of the same construct—either within a study or across studies—they are using converging operations. The conceptual definition of a psychological construct describes the behaviours and internal processes that make up that construct, along with how it relates to other variables. Learn vocabulary, terms, and more with flashcards, games, and other study tools. He administers the Beck Depression Inventory, which is a 21-item self-report questionnaire in which the person rates the extent to which he or she has felt sad, lost energy, and experienced other symptoms of depression over the past 2 weeks. The result of this procedure is a score that represents the object’s potential energy. This very general definition is consistent with the kinds of measurement that everyone is familiar with—for example, weighing oneself by stepping onto a bathroom scale, or checking the internal temperature of a roasting turkey by inserting a meat thermometer. Also, ratio-level measurement is the only level that allows meaningful statements about ratios of scores. Psychological Test Measurement instrument that consists of a sample of behavior obtained under standardized conditions and evaluated using established scoring rules. Next: 5.2 Reliability and Validity of Measurement, Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. ), or they could time each runner to the nearest tenth of a second using a stopwatch (11.5 s, 12.1 s, etc.). The important point here is that measurement does not require any particular instruments or procedures. Normal personality assessment in clinical practice: The NEO Personality Inventory. The Big Five is a set of five broad dimensions that capture much of the variation in human personality. When scores based on several different operational definitions are closely related to each other and produce similar patterns of results, this constitutes good evidence that the construct is being measured effectively and that it is useful. One reason is that many scientific constructs do not have counterparts in everyday language (e.g., working memory capacity). Standard psychological … (Psychological measurement is often referred to as psychometrics.) across a variety of situations. 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). Researchers have also operationally defined stress in terms of several physiological variables including blood pressure and levels of the stress hormone cortisol. 4. He administers the Beck Depression Inventory, which is a 21-item self-report questionnaire in which the person rates the extent to which he or she has felt sad, lost energy, and experienced other symptoms of depression over the past 2 weeks. A good example of the former would be measuring working memory capacity using the backward digit span task. Psychological measurement is the development of procedures to measure people's characteristics like intelligence or personality. 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. Money is measured on a ratio scale because, in addition to having the properties of an interval scale, it has a true zero point: if you have zero money, this actually implies the absence of money. The important point here is that measurement does not require any particular instruments or procedures. Medical tests are usually straightforward. Self-report measures are those in which participants report on their own thoughts, feelings, and actions, as with the Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale. The validity of a test is its ability to measure what it seeks to measure. An important goal of scientific research is to conceptually define psychological constructs in ways that accurately describe them. Stress is a good example. Rating scales are used frequently in psychological research. Costa, P. T., Jr., & McCrae, R. R. (1992). 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. When psychologists use multiple operational definitions of the same construct—either within a study or across studies—they are using converging operations. Explain what a psychological construct is and give several examples. 5. Psychological testing measures an individual’s performance at a specific point in time — right now. Measurement of Sea Level is another example of an interval scale. Behavioral measures are those in which some other aspect of participants’ behavior is observed and recorded. This is because each 10-degree interval has the same physical meaning (in terms of the kinetic energy of molecules). Or imagine a clinical psychologist who is interested in how depressed a person is. The problem in the upper panel requires the child to deduct … The Fahrenheit and Celsius scales are examples of interval measurement. But researchers have operationally defined it in several ways. Level of measurement or scale of measure is a classification that describes the nature of information within the values assigned to variables. Instead, it means that she has a general tendency to behave in extraverted ways (talking, laughing, etc.) For any given variable or construct, there will be multiple operational definitions. Measurement used in the field of psychology. Or if you ask your participants to indicate which of several ethnicities they identify themselves with, you are again engaged in nominal-level measurement. The essential point about nominal scales is that they do not imply any ordering among the responses. The remaining three levels of measurement are used for quantitative variables. Each of the Big Five can even be defined in terms of six more specific constructs called “facets” (Costa & McCrae, 1992)[1]. 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. Psychological Bulletin, 130, 601–630. Also, ratio-level measurement is the only level that allows meaningful statements about ratios of scores. More important, researchers are in the business of developing definitions that are more detailed and precise—and that more accurately describe the way the world is—than the informal definitions in the dictionary. Stages of Scale Development The American Psychological Association (1985, as quoted in Hinkin, 1995) established that sound measures must This is an extremely broad category that includes the observation of people’s behaviour both in highly structured laboratory tasks and in more natural settings. Other variables studied by psychologists—perhaps the majority—are not so straightforward or simple to measure. Even if there is no change, he could still look at the correlation between students’ scores at the two times to assess the measure’s test-retest reliability. 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. Examples are … Psychological constructs cannot be observed directly. Instead, each is a kind of summary of a complex set of behaviours and internal processes. In many cases, the full-text of test instrument is provided. Multiple operational definitions of the same construct. These services have traditionally had a low profile and been poorly understood, often embedded within block contract arrangements and not recognised as an integral service entity. Distinguish conceptual from operational definitions, give examples of each, and create simple operational definitions. The Perceived Stress Scale is another self-report measure that focuses on people’s feelings of stress (e.g., “How often have you felt nervous and stressed?”). A rough conceptual definition is that stress is an adaptive response to a perceived danger or threat that involves physiological, cognitive, affective, and behavioral components. Of course this general definition of measurement is consistent with measurement in psychology too. Costa, P. T., Jr., & McCrae, R. R. (1992). Psychological measurements are not performed by using tools or devices, but instead, they are determined by a series of questions and evaluations conducted by a qualified therapist or psychiatrist. Psychological testing may sound intimidating, but it's designed to help you. Practice: Complete the Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale and compute your overall score. Participants in a research study are asked whether they are right-handed or left-handed. In particular, they do not have a true zero point even if one of the scaled values happens to carry the name “zero.” The Fahrenheit scale illustrates the issue. In fact, she might be sitting quietly by herself, reading a book. Stages of Scale Development The American Psychological Association (1985, as quoted in Hinkin, 1995) established that sound measures must She assigns the one on the bottom a score of 1, the one on top of that a 2, and so on. But we cannot add the units of a psychological scale and say, an IQ of 100 is twice the ability of an IQ of 50. measurement is an interval scale. For any conceptual definition of a construct, there will be many different operational definitions or ways of measuring it. When scores based on several different operational definitions are closely related to each other and produce similar patterns of results, this constitutes good evidence that the construct is being measured effectively and that it is useful. 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. These include sex, age, height, weight, and birth order. It does not require placing individuals or objects on bathroom scales, holding rulers up to them, or inserting thermometers into them. She then repeats this several times, increasing the length of the list by one digit each time, until the person makes an error. (1961). Stevens, S. S. (1946). A researcher accesses her participants’ medical records and counts the number of times they have seen a doctor in the past year. 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. Notice also that neither extraversion nor fear “reduces to” any particular thought, feeling, act, or physiological structure or process. Responses are merely categorized. Define measurement and give several examples of measurement in psychology. Variables can be measured at four different levels—nominal, ordinal, interval, and ratio—that communicate increasing amounts of quantitative information. across a variety of situations. The level of measurement affects the kinds of statistics you can use and conclusions you can draw from your data. A bone is broken or it isn't. Practice: Complete the Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale and compute your overall score. Measurement is the assignment of scores to individuals so that the scores represent some characteristic of the individuals. An important goal of scientific research is to conceptually define psychological constructs in ways that accurately describe them. Practice: Think of three operational definitions for sexual jealousy, decisiveness, and social anxiety. This is why the research literature often includes different conceptual definitions of the same construct. The nominal level of measurement is used for categorical variables and involves assigning scores that are category labels. Although it may seem absurd that a test can measure something we don’t want, a poorly defined instrument can certainly yield poor validity levels. After all, if the “zero” label were applied at the temperature that Fahrenheit happens to label as 10 degrees, the two ratios would instead be 30 to 10 and 90 to 40, no longer the same! Psychologists use tests and other assessment tools to measure and observe a client’s behavior to arrive at a diagnosis and guide treatment. These include sex, age, height, weight, and birth order. Start studying Psychological Testing & Measure Exam 1. An university instructor measures the time it takes her students to finish an exam by looking through the stack of exams at the end. Such an assertion reflects the first person’s use of a verbal label that comes later in the list than the label chosen by the second person. Practice: For each of the following variables, decide which level of measurement is being used. Category labels communicate whether any two individuals are the same or different in terms of the variable being measured. It specifically measures four factors, each with a very concrete possible situation assigned to it. Research Methods in Psychology by Paul C. Price, Rajiv Jhangiani, & I-Chant A. Chiang is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted. Their operational definition, then, was the number of these specifically defined acts that the child committed in the 20-minute period. That external sample of behavior can be many things including another test; college grade point average as when the high school SAT is used to predict performance in college; and even behavior that occurred in the past, for example, when a test of current psychological symptoms is used to predict the occurrence of past victimization (which would accurately represent … The Perceived Stress Scale is another self-report measure that focuses on people’s feelings of stress (e.g., “How often have you felt nervous and stressed?”). Types and Examples of Psychological Tests. For example, if one temperature is twice as high as another as measured on the Kelvin scale, then it has twice the kinetic energy of the other temperature. Psychological Testing: A Practical Approach to Design and Evaluation by Theresa J. Ranks communicate not only whether any two individuals are the same or different in terms of the variable being measured but also whether one individual is higher or lower on that variable. However, in addition, the same ratio at two places on the scale also carries the same meaning (see Table 5.2). Science, 103, 677–680. Define measurement and give several examples of measurement in psychology. Psychological measurement is the development of procedures to measure people's characteristics like intelligence or personality. 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. On the other hand, discontinuous, or discrete, scales express the measurement of the variable under consideration in a finite number of ways, as, for example, in a frequency distribution such as the number of students in a psychology department or the number of players on a team. Psychologist Stanley Smith Stevens developed the best-known classification with four levels, or scales, of measurement: nominal, ordinal, interval, and ratio. For example, there are 252 ways to split a set of 10 items into two sets of five. The aptitude for a job or the presence of emotional disturbance can be determined applying standardized tests. This very general definition is consistent with the kinds of measurement that everyone is familiar with—for example, weighing oneself by stepping onto a bathroom scale, or checking the internal temperature of a roasting turkey by inserting a meat thermometer. However, zero on the Kelvin scale is absolute zero. Scaled questions, no matter what they are, derive from these four measurement scales. For e.g. To do this, she might use a backward digit span task, where she reads a list of two digits to the person and asks him or her to repeat them in reverse order. (1961). Lab results are either normal or abnormal.The psychological tests that attempt to measure personality, mood and mental ability are not nearly as clear. (In our case, the underlying scale is the true feeling of satisfaction, which we are trying to measure.). To measure a psychological construct such as extraversion, psychologists often use questionnaires with multiple items. 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. 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. I provide three examples. You can ask people how old they are and be reasonably sure that they know and will tell you. In addition to self-report and behavioral measures, researchers in psychology use physiological measures. Paul C. Price, Rajiv Jhangiani, & I-Chant A. Chiang, http://wikieducator.org/Introduction_to_Research_Methods_In_Psychology/Theories_and_Measurement/Levels_of_Measurement, Next: Reliability and Validity of Measurement, Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. The ordinal level of measurement involves assigning scores so that they represent the rank order of the individuals. Research Methods in Psychology by University of Minnesota is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted. Height measured in meters and weight measured in kilograms are good examples. Some try to delve into the murky world of the subconscious while others stick with patterns of behavior that can be observed and documented. The assignment of scores to individuals where the scores represent some characteristic of the individuals. Height measured in metres and weight measured in kilograms are good examples. One reason is that they often represent tendencies to think, feel, or act in certain ways. The various measures of stress, for example, are all correlated with each other and have all been shown to be correlated with other variables such as immune system functioning (also measured in a variety of ways) (Segerstrom & Miller, 2004)[3]. The Fahrenheit scale is a clear example of the interval scale of measurement. With nominal-level measurement, for example, the only available measure of central tendency is the mode. Consider the possibility of self-report, behavioral, and physiological measures. The nominal level of measurement is used for categorical variables and involves assigning scores that are category labels. Fear, for example, involves the activation of certain central and peripheral nervous system structures, along with certain kinds of thoughts, feelings, and behaviours—none of which is necessarily obvious to an outside observer. In reality, the label “zero” is applied to its temperature for quite accidental reasons connected to the history of temperature measurement. Test results provide a sampling of a person's characteristics or traits. In either case, they would be measuring the runners’ times by systematically assigning scores to represent those times. 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