A Theory of Psychological Scaling

A Theory of Psychological Scaling

A Theory of Psychological Scaling

A Theory of Psychological Scaling

Excerpt

This monograph describes the construction of a psychological theory which defines the information contained in the responses of individuals to stimuli. This has been accomplished by abstracting certain properties of behavior which are invariant over content. These have been classified and quantified in a theory of data which, with the quasi-formal basis hypothesized here, determines the genotypic inferences which may be made from manifest behavior.

On the basis presented here certain theoretical concepts and interpretations are developed and also certain new experimental procedures and experimental relations presented.

There are a number of further implications and practical developments of this system which are the outgrowth of a course on the theory of scaling at the University of Michigan. Publication of this latter material is dependent upon the prior publication of this monograph, but an indication of these further developments is contained in (11).

The general theory has been in the process of formation over a period of four years, and to a very considerable degree it represents the work of others than myself, In its very earliest formative stages it was exposed to the criticisms of Professors S. A. Stouffer, C. F. Mosteller, P. Lazarsfeld, and Mr. B. W. White as part of a Rand project in the Laboratory of Social Relations at Harvard University. In the three years since then the theory has undergone continuous modification and development in response to the criticisms and suggestions of students and colleagues in the course on the theory of scaling and in two concurrent seminars, one on the theory of psychological measurement, the other on the application of mathematics to the social sciences. It is to be anticipated that the theory will undergo additional changes both in its abstract and its real aspects as additional work is done with it. Its presentation now is necessary for the presentation of certain consequences of practical interest to psychologists and social scientists. However, the development of further consequences and the generalization to multidimensional space will undoubtedly result in changes in the basis.

To list all the people from whose criticisms and suggestions I have benefited is next to impossible, but to the following particularly I wish to express my appreciation of many benefits gained from their sustained . . .

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