Types of psychological measurements - General Psychological Workshop

Types of psychological measurements

All methods of measurement in general psychometrics and psychophysics are usually divided into methods of discrimination and detection and methods of scaling.

The methods of discrimination and detection are predominantly psychophysical methods. They are designed to evaluate the processes of detecting weak signals or hardly noticeable differences between the two signals. Such signals and differences between them are usually referred to as threshold signals. We already know that historically these methods were the very first procedures for quantifying sensations. As already mentioned, they were developed by the creator of sensory psychophysics by the German philosopher Fechner.

Despite the fact that Fechner's intention lay more in the field of philosophy and metaphysics, his methods for estimating threshold sensations began to be regarded as a case-based methodological basis for psychological measurements, and sensory psychophysics soon became an integral part of the psychology of sensations and perceptions. Fechner's idea was to express the sensitivity value, which was defined as the reciprocal of the physical value of the stimulus, through the threshold value of the stimulus acting on the sense organ.

In modern psychophysics, in addition to threshold psychophysics, there are other methods designed to evaluate the resolving capabilities of our sensory systems. They were developed in the framework of the already mentioned by us theory of detection of the signal of Green and Sves using the apparatus of the statistical theory of decision making. As we have already noted, the result of applying these methods is the construction of working curves

the characteristics of the receiver (an observer with the purpose of detecting a signal). These curves are described by two basic parameters: the sensitivity value and the position of the decision criterion. Such parameters determine the ability of the observer to isolate a significant signal from a variety of irrelevant sensory phenomena, which are referred to as noise, and reflect the strategy of acceptance by the observer (in the case of a signal receiver) in ambiguous cases of deciding whether to respond to the perceived stimulus as a signal or to ignore it as noise.

The methodology developed in the signal detection theory and specific procedures aimed at evaluating the processes of discrimination and detection turned out to be very fruitful and, in fact, have long ago transcended sensory psychophysics, actually becoming psychometric methods. They are widely and successfully used to evaluate and describe memory processes, visual search, manipulation of mental images and decision making.

In another way, psychometric methods of discrimination and detection are commonly referred to as zero-scale scaling methods. The point is that the task of these methods can be expressed as the task of finding a point on a psychophysical or psychometric scale. This point determines the features of the signal detection process itself, unambiguously describes it in objective units. Often such a point denotes an important point on the scale, for example, its zero value, or it specifies the unit of measurement, as the ego takes place, for example, in Théchner's threshold psychophysics.

In contrast to the methods of detection and discrimination, the methods of scaling are designed to describe the entire range of sensations, i.e. to present the whole scale or some significant part of it, and not just a single point on the scale. The geometrical metaphor of the scale in this case is a straight line, along which you want to arrange the objects to be scaled.

The term "scaling", as a rule, is used in a situation where it is necessary for the researcher to trace the range of variation of any one characteristic. It can be, for example, perceived loudness of a sound, intensity of a smell, size of an illusion of perception of the size of subjects, subjective complexity of a task or level of progress of the student. Therefore, such procedures are sometimes referred to as one-dimensional scaling procedures.

If the researcher deals with complex stimuli, such as, for example, the meaning of the semantic category or the personality and beliefs of the politician, then in this case the a priori isolation of the individual properties of the objects under investigation proves to be difficult, if not impossible, for both the researcher and the researcher and for the subject. In this case, multidimensional scaling procedures, first developed by W. Thorgerson, are used. These procedures allow the researcher to reconstruct the parameters of objects, hidden from direct observation, for which an estimate is actually made. They can be called dimensions, factors or clusters.

In modern psychology and other sciences, various mathematical procedures for multidimensional data analysis are actively used to solve such problems. Along with the actual method of multidimensional scaling, methods of factor and cluster analysis were also widely used. However, such methods are applied to the data already collected, and they should be considered as intermediate procedures that take their place between the measurement methods and methods for processing the experimental results.

It is important to note that some methods of multidimensional data analysis were originally developed specifically for solving psychological measurement problems. So, for example, the very first procedures of factor analysis were proposed in differential psychometrics, and the multidimensional scaling method was developed in general psychometrics as a method that describes the perception of complex stimuli.

Returning to the methods of one-dimensional scaling, we note that these methods as measuring procedures differ depending on which system of relations between the changed objects or events they are called upon to describe. In this connection, following Stevens, different types of one-dimensional scaling are distinguished. An important characteristic of the methods of scaling is the way in which the desired relations are related to the procedure for applying the method itself. These questions are discussed in the following chapters of this chapter.

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