Intransigence in mainstream thinking about psychological measurement


The concept of measurement is taken for granted by most psychologists. Many enter the discipline with the presupposition that psychology must be capable of measuring psychological attributes (e.g., intelligence, depression, psychopathy). It is easy to presume that measurement in psychology is without issue, controversy, or debate. After all, how could psychology become such a productive scientific discipline without the capability of measuring psychological things? Unfortunately, not much attention is given to fundamental issues of measurement and the rich history of psychological measurement is oftentimes given an uncritical treatment, and this is typically presented over only several pages within the early chapters of introductory psychometric methods books. What is often missing from these histories is a critical appraisal of whether the perceived advancements in measurement were justifiable in the first place. It is one approach to trace the path of psychological measurement from its origins to the present day, but it is a much different approach to question whether that path was a defensible one for psychology to take.

Chapter in Problematic Research Practices and Inertia in Scientific Psychology: History, Sources, and Recommended Solutions
Richard E. Hohn
Richard E. Hohn
PhD Candidate