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Unidimensional Scaling

John P. McIver & Edward G. Carmines

Pub. date: 1981 | DOI:

Print ISBN: 9780803917361 | Online ISBN: 9781412986441

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Little Green Book


We begin our consideration of scaling models by examining briefly the contributions of Louis Thurstone, a psychologist at the University of Chicago. Not only was Thurstone one of the first psychologists to propose systematic procedures for measuring attitudes but also his research led to the development of three related but distinct methods of scaling: paired comparisons, successive intervals, and equal-appearing intervals (Thurstone, 1927, 1929; Thurstone and Chave, 1929). First, we outline the common theoretical justification for Thurstone scaling, the Law of Comparative Judgment, and then discuss the most popular of these scaling models, the method of equal-appearing intervals. Thurstone was mainly concerned with the fundamental problem of how psychological stimuli could be measured and compared with one another. The measurement of physical objects, in contrast, is simple and straightforward. If a scientist wanted to discover the weight of each of a set of objects, for example, he simply placed each ...

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