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A cross-cultural investigation of the graphic differential

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A new Graphic Differential (GD) suggested by French (1977) may be used as a language-free alternative to the Semantic Differential (Osgood, Suci, & Tannenbaum, 1957). The new GD (which is based on prior attempts by other writers) consists of 5 pictographic scales for each semantic dimension: Evaluation, Potency, and Activity. Since the GD employs pictograms instead of adjectives, it would be a suseful tool for cross-cultural research, given that the pictograms, although developed in the United States, are understood universally. In the present study, 46 American and 46 German subjects sorted the 15 graphic scales according to semantic similarity. Responses were summarized in similarity matrices, which were analyzed further by the methods of maximum spanning tree and hierarchical cluster analysis. American results show that the intended meaning of the scales could be understood. This strengthens the intracultural validity of the GD. In general, the German findings were similar. The German subjects, however, could not categorize all the scales as clearly as the Americans. The “problematic” scales could weaken the cross-cultural validity of the GD.

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Espe, H. A cross-cultural investigation of the graphic differential. J Psycholinguist Res 14, 97–111 (1985). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF01067477

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  • Cluster Analysis
  • Cognitive Psychology
  • Hierarchical Cluster
  • Span Tree
  • Hierarchical Cluster Analysis