Springer Nature is making SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19 research free. View research | View latest news | Sign up for updates

A measurement model for psychophysical scaling

Abstract

In the literature very little attention has been given to psychophysical scaling, even though this kind of measurement provides many advantages, such as continuous interval scales, more precision, possibilities for easy replications and therefore for correction of measurement error. Besides all kinds of technical reasons one possible explanation for this lack of attention is that the procedures have always been described as completely different from the commonly used measurement procedures. Also, the tests which have been suggested for the quality of the results were quite different from the commonly used procedures.

In this paper it will be shown that psychophysical scaling can be formulated in a congeneric test model, i.e., all the commonly used criteria for the quality of measurement instruments like reliability and validity can be applied in the usual way. An illustration of this will be given.

Furthermore it will be shown that psychophysical scales are not ratio scales but that they satisfy the requirements of a (log)interval scale.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.

References

  1. Alwin, D.F. & D.J. Jackson (1980). “Measurement models for response errors in surveys: issues and applications,” pp. 68–119 in K. Schuessler (ed.) Sociological Methodology 1980. San Francisco: Jossey Bass.

  2. Bentler, P.M. & W.H. Peeler (1979). Models of female orgasm. Archive of Sex Behaviour. Vol. 8 no. 5.

  3. Birnbaum, M.H. (1982). Controversies in psychological measurement. In: Wegener, B. (ed.) Social Attitudes and Psychophysical Measurement. Hillsdale: Erlbaum.

  4. Bollen, K.A. & B.D. Grandjean (1981). The dimension(s) of democracy: further issues in the measurement and effects of political democracy. American Sociological Review 1981: 651–659.

  5. Coleman, R. P. & L. Rainwather (1978). Social standing in America: New dimensions of class. New York: Basic Books.

  6. Cross, D. (1982). On judgement of magnitude. In: Wegener, B. (ed.) Social attitudes and psychophysical measurement. Hillsdale: Erlbaum.

  7. Dawson, W.F. & R.P. Brinker (1971). Validation of ratio scales of opinion by multi-modality matching. In: Perception and Psychophysics. Vol. 9, pp. 413–417.

  8. Gescheider, G.A. (1975). Psychophysics: Methods and Theory. New York: Wiley.

  9. Hamblin, R.L. (1971). Social attitudes: magnitude measurement and theory. In: H.M. Blalock (ed.) Measurement in the Social Sciences. London: MacMillan Press.

  10. Jöreskog, K.G. (1971). Statistical analysis of congeneric tests. Psychometrika 36: 109–133.

  11. Jöreskog, K.G. & Söbom, D. (1983). LISREL VI: A general computer program for estimation of linear structural equation systems by maximum likelihood methods. Uppsala, Department of Statistics.

  12. Lodge, M., Cross, D., Tursky, B. & Tannenhaus, J. (1975). The psychophysical scaling and validation of political support scale. American Journal of Political Science XIX(4): 611–649.

  13. Lodge, M., Cross, D., Tursky, B., Tannenhaus, J. & Reeder, R. (1976). The psychophysical scaling of political support in the real world. Political Methodology 2: 159–182.

  14. Lodge, M., Tannenhaus, J., Cross, D., Tursky, B., Foley, M.A. & Foley, M. (1981). The calibration and cross model validation of ratio scales of political opinion in survey research. Social Science Research 5: 325–347.

  15. Lodge, M. (1981). Magnitude Scaling. Beverly Hills: Sage.

  16. Lord, F. M. & Novick, M. R. (1968). Statistical Theories of Mental Test Scores. London: Addison and Wesley

  17. Marks, L. E. (1974). Sensory Process. The New Psychophysics. New York: Academic Press.

  18. Rule, S.J. & D. J. Curtis (1973). Reevaluation of two models for judgements of perceptual intervals. Perception and Psychophysics 14: 433–436.

  19. Rule, S.T. & D.J. Curtis (1982). Levels of sensory and judgemental processing: Strategies for evaluation of a model. In: Wegener, B. (ed.) Social attitudes and psychophysical measurement. Hillsdale: Erlbaum.

  20. Saris, W.E., C. Bruinsma, W. Schoots & C. Vermeulen (1977). The use of magnitude estimation in large scale survey research. Mens en Maatschappij 52: 369–395.

  21. Saris, W.E., P. Neijens & L. van Doorn (1980). Scaling social science variables by multimodality matching. In K.M. 1980, 3–21.

  22. Saris, W.E. (1982). Different questions, different variables. In: Fornell (ed.) A second generation of multivariate analysis. Hillsdale: Praeger Publishers.

  23. Saris, W.E. (1987). Continuous scales in the social sciences: An attractive possibility. Amsterdam: SRF.

  24. Saris, W.E. (1988). Variation in response functions: a source of measurement error in attitude research. Amsterdam: SRF.

  25. Saris, W.E. (1988b). Correlations between subjective variables. In: W.E. Saris (ed.) Variation in response functions: a source of measurement error in attitude research. Amsterdam: SRF.

  26. Saris, W.E., B. van de Putte, K. Maas & H. Seip (1988a). Variation in response functions: observed and created. In W.E. Saris (ed.) Variation in response functions: a source of measurement error in attitude research. Amsterdam, SRF.

  27. Saris, W.E., B. van de Putte, K. Maas & H. Seip (1988a). Extra reference points: a solution? In: W.E. Saris (ed.) Variation in response functions: a source of measurement error in attitude research. Amsterdam: SRF.

  28. Saris, W.E. & Satorra, A. Characteristics of structural equation models which affect the power of the likelihood ratio test. In: W.E. Saris & J.N. Gallhofer (eds) Sociometric Research Vol. II: Data Analysis. London: MacMillan, chapter 11.

  29. Stevens, J.C. (1987). A comparison of ratio scales for the loudness of white noise and the brightness of white light. Unpublished Ph.D. dissertation, Harvard.

  30. Stevens, S.S. (1958). On the psychophysical law. Psychological review.

  31. Stevens, S.S. (1975). Psychophysics: Introduction to its perceptual neural and social prospects. New York: Wiley, 1975.

Download references

Author information

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Saris, W.E. A measurement model for psychophysical scaling. Qual Quant 22, 417–433 (1988). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00171631

Download citation

Keywords

  • Measurement Error
  • Test Model
  • Measurement Model
  • Measurement Procedure
  • Technical Reason