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Statistics for Psychologists – Measurement Levels

6. Challenges to Stevens' Measurement Scales

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About this Lecture

Lecture

In this lecture, we think about some challenges to Stevens’ understanding of measurement, as well as summarising those measurement scales, focusing in particular on: (i) returning to Stevens’ definition of measurement, both in quote and interpretation; (ii) the questions which each of the four measurement levels seek to answer; (iii) a reminder that anything that is true of a ‘lower’ scale is true of a ‘higher’ scale, which applies to these questions too; (iv) the limitations of each of these scale types regarding how the data within them can be manipulated; (v) some of the key challenges to Stevens’ definition of measurement.

Course

In this course, Professor Dominic Dwyer (Cardiff University) explores measurement levels and scales. In the first lecture, we think about the origin of measurement scales in psychology, and the role of Stanley Smith Stevens in establishing the four measurement levels: nominal, ordinal, interval, and ratio. In the second lecture, we think about nominal scales and their prevalence in behavioural genetics, despite statistical limitations. In the third lecture, we think about ordinal scales and their regular use in survey data collection. Next, we think about ratio scales and the importance of zero meaning something (nothing) in these scales. In the fifth lecture, we think about interval scales and their lack of applicability to ratios of data, due to the arbitrary nature of the zero value. In the sixth and final lecture, we think about how these measurement scales can be summarised and discuss some of the challenges to Stevens’ understanding of measurement.

Lecturer

Professor Dominic Dwyer is the chair for the BSc and MSc exam boards in the School of Psychology at Cardiff University. Professor Dwyer teaches introductory statistics for undergraduate years one and two. Professor Dwyer’s research is primarily focused on how animals and people learn, as well as how that learning is expressed as behaviour. Some key focus areas of this research are computational modelling, neurodegenerative disorders, and the assessment of individual differences. Some of Professor Dwyer’s recent publications include 'EXPRESS: Instrumental responses and Pavlovian stimuli as temporal referents in a peak procedure' (2022) and 'Face masks have emotion-dependent dissociable effects on accuracy and confidence in identifying facial expressions of emotion' (2022).

Cite this Lecture

APA style

Dwyer, D. (2022, April 20). Statistics for Psychologists – Measurement Levels - Challenges to Stevens' Measurement Scales [Video]. MASSOLIT. https://www.massolit.io/courses/statistics-for-psychologists-measurement-levels/challenges-to-stevens-measurement-scales

MLA style

Dwyer, D. "Statistics for Psychologists – Measurement Levels – Challenges to Stevens' Measurement Scales." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 20 Apr 2022, https://www.massolit.io/courses/statistics-for-psychologists-measurement-levels/challenges-to-stevens-measurement-scales

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