Quantitative science and the definition of measurement in psychology

  title={Quantitative science and the definition of measurement in psychology},
  author={Joel Michell},
  journal={British Journal of Psychology},
  • J. Michell
  • Published 1 August 1997
  • Psychology
  • British Journal of Psychology
^ge d that establishing quantitative science involves two research tasks: the scientific one of showing that the relevant attribute is quantitative; and the instrumental on& of constructing procedures for numerically estimating magnitudes; In proposing quantitative theories and claiming to measure the attributes involved, psychologists are logically committed to both tasks. However, they have adopted their own, special, definition of measurement, one that deflects attention away from the… 

Figures from this paper

Attempting Measurement of Psychological Attributes
In order to improve measurement of psychological attributes, it is suggested to readopt the definition of measurement in the physical sciences; to devise an elaborate theory of the construct to be measured that includes the hypothesis of a quantitative attribute; and third, to test the data for the structure implied by the hypotheses of quantity as well as predictions derived from the theory ofThe construct.
Method Effects and the Meaning of Measurement
It is argued that it may be possible to formulate an account of what method effects are that is coherent not only across different research traditions in the human sciences, but also with thinking found in other scientific disciplines; however, doing so requires a more explicit commitment to a realist position on measurement than is generally forthcoming from human scientists.
Epistemology of Measurement: The Relevance of its History for Quantification in the Social Sciences
Five episodes in the history of quantitative science provided the occasions for changes in the understanding of measurement important for attempts at quantification in the social sciences. First,
Burning the straw man: What exactly is psychological science?
Problemification: Efendic and Van Zyl (2019) argue for following open access-based principles in IO psychology following the recent crises in psychological research. Among others, these refer to the
Is Psychometrics Pathological Science?
Pathology of science occurs when the normal processes of scientific investigation break down and a hypothesis is accepted as true within the mainstream of a discipline without a serious attempt being
Psychological Measurement and Methodological Realism
Within the context of psychological measurement, realist commitments pervade methodology. Further, there are instances where particular scientific practices and decisions are explicable most
Measurement Theory, Psychology and the Revolution That Cannot Happen
Doubt is raised that revolutions in measurement theory, for example conjoint measurement or Rasch measurement, will lead to the quantification of psychological attributes. First, the meaning of
Stevens's theory of scales of measurement and its place in modern psychology
Stevens's theory of scales of measurement has been an important methodological resource within psychology for half a century. It advanced the representational theory of measurement and promised to
Beyond psychometrics: Measurement, non‐quantitative structure, and applied numerics
A statement from Michell (Michell, J., “Normal science, pathological science, and psychometrics”, Theory and Psychology, Vol. 10 No. 5, 2000, pp. 639‐67), “psychometrics is a pathology of science”,


Measurement in Psychology
IN the opening paragraph of “Psychology Down the Ages”, Prof. C. Spearman concludes a list of difficulties facing any who seek to define psychology, with the questions: “Do the data at its disposal
Abstract Measurement Theory.
The need for quantitative measurement represents a unifying bond that links all the physical, biological, and social sciences. Measurements of such disparate phenomena as subatomic masses,
Psychology: The Propaedeutic Science
-EVIOUREVIOUS claims that psychology is propaedeuJl } tic to the other sciences have been met with ~"j [enthusiastic indifference. Contributing to this , indifference has been the fact that
Further Comments on the “Nonrevolution” Arising From Axiomatic Measurement Theory
Cliff's (1992) commentary on the failure of axiomatic measurement theory (AMT) to generate as much impact on cognitive psychology and psychometrics as he had once anticipated invites further
My own viewpoint on mental measurement (1887)
SummaryThe paper presents a translation of excerpts from Fechner's (1887) paper “On the principles of mental measurement and on Weber's law”, which was his last and “most perfect” (Wundt) statement
The Definition of a Profession: The Authority of Metaphor in the History of Intelligence Testing, 1890-1930
In the early twentieth century, a small group of psychologists built a profession upon the new social technology of intelligence testing. They imagined the human mind as quantifiable, defining their
Primary mental abilities.
This publication reports the first large experimental inquiry, carried out by the methods of factor analysis described by Thurstone in The Vectors of the Mind, with results that are eminently worthy of the assistance so generously accorded.
The Metaphysics of Measurement
My thesis is that there are good reasons for a philosophical account of measurement to deal primarily with the properties or magnitudes of objects measured, rather than with the objects themselves.
A theory of ratio magnitude estimation
Abstract Various axiomatic theories of magnitude estimation are presented. The axioms are divided into the following categories: behavioral , in which the primitive relationships are in principle
The Rise of Experimentation in American Psychology
Laboratory experiments are the principal tools used by psychologists to formulate and test their theories of how the human mind works, yet few histories of psychology have studied the experimental