Chapter 4
Measures
Fundamentals of Measurement
• Conceptual Variables – Words (self-esteem,
parenting style, brain size, depression,
cognitive development)
• Measured Variables – Numbers that represent
the conceptual variables
Operational Definition
• Operational Definition – refers to a precise
statement of how a conceptual variable is
turned into a measured variable
Measurement Scales
• Ratio (multiply & divide)
• Interval (add & subtract)
• Ordinal (ordered)
• Nominal
Self-Report Measures
• Free-Format Self-Report Measures – asking
people to freely list their thoughts or feelings
as these come to mind
Self-Report Measures
Free-Format Self-Report Measures
• Projective Measures – a measure of
personality in which an unstructured image,
such as an inkblot, is shown to participants,
who are asked to freely list what comes to
mind
• Thematic Apperception Test (TAT)
• Rorschach Inkblots
Self-Report Measures
Free-Format Self-Report Measures
• Associative Lists – people are given lists of
groups and asked to list whatever thoughts
come to mind
Self-Report Measures
Free-Format Self-Report Measures
• Think-Aloud Protocols – in this procedure,
participants are asked to verbalize into a
recorder the thoughts that they are having as
they complete a task
Self-Report Measures
• Fixed-Format Self-Report Measures – on these
measures, the participants are presented with
a set of questions, and the responses that can
be given are more structured than free-format
measures
• Example:
What is your gender: male___, female___,
other___?
Self-Report Measures
Fixed-Format Self-Report Measures
• Likert Scales – the most popular type of fixedformat scale
• Try to control for acquiescent responding (yeahsaying bias) – people who tend to agree with
everything
• Reverse Coding
Limitations in Self-Report Measures
• People may not be able to accurately selfreport on the causes of their behavior
• People may not want to accurately self-report
on the causes of their behavior
• Reactivity – changes in responding that occur
when individuals know the are being
measured
• Social Desirability & Self-Promotion
Behavioral Measures
• An alternative to self-reports is to measure an
actual behavior.
Advantages of Behavioral Measures
• Behavioral measures do not involve direct
questioning of people, therefore, they are
often less reactive
Advantages of Behavioral Measures
• Participants are particularly less reactive
when:
1. They are not aware measurement is
occurring
2. They are not aware what the measure is
designed to assess
3. They cannot change their responses even if
they desire
Behavioral Measures
• Frequency – example: frequency of stuttering
as a measure of anxiety in interpersonal
relations
• Duration – example: the number of minutes
working at a task as a measure of task interest
Behavioral Measures
• Intensity – example: how hard a person claps
his or her hands as a measure of effort
• Latency – example: the number of days before
a person begins to work on a project as a
measure of procrastination
• Speed – example: how long it takes a mouse
to complete a maze as a measure of learning
Nonreactive Measures
• Used to assess attitudes that are unlikely to be
directly expressed on self-report measures
Nonreactive Measures
• Example: When participants interviewed
people of different races, there were
differences in how close they sat to the
interviewees, made more speech errors, and
terminated the interviews sooner
Psychophysiological Measures
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Electroencephalogram (EEG)
Computer Assisted Tomography (CAT)
Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)
Positron Emission Tomography (PET)
Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging
(fMRI)
Electroencephalogram (EEG)
Computer Assisted Tomography (CAT)
Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)
Positron Emission Tomography (PET)
Functional Magnetic Resonance
Imaging (fMRI)
Electromyograph (EMG)
Heart Rate
Blood Pressure
Respiration Speed
Skin Temperature
Skin Conductance
Cortisol Levels
Multiple Measures (Mixed Measures)
• The use of Self-Report Measures combined
with Behavioral Measures
(Psychophysiological Measures) provides
superior validity
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Free-Format Self-Report Measures