Attitudes: Components and Measurement by Thurstone, Likert and Semantic Differential Scales
Attitudes are complex psychological constructs that reflect an individual's positive or negative feelings, beliefs, and evaluations about a particular object, person, or event. Attitudes are crucial in shaping behaviour and influencing information processing and decision-making. To better understand attitudes, researchers have developed various frameworks and measurement tools to assess them.
Components and Measurement by Thurstone
One of the earliest frameworks for understanding attitudes was developed by Louis Thurstone, who identified seven primary attitudes that individuals hold: pleasure, displeasure, approval, disapproval, favourable, unfavourable, and neutral attitude. According to Thurstone, attitudes can be measured by determining the strength of an individual's feelings towards an object or event, with stronger attitudes indicating more intense feelings and evaluations.
Another framework for understanding attitudes was developed by Rensis Likert, who introduced the Likert scale. The Likert scale is a type of rating scale that measures attitudes by asking individuals to rate their agreement or disagreement with a series of statements about an object or event. This type of scale is widely used in attitude research and is considered to be a reliable and valid measure of attitudes.
Semantic Differential Scale
Finally, the semantic differential scale is another measurement tool that is used to assess attitudes. The semantic differential scale measures attitudes by asking individuals to rate an object or event along a series of bipolar adjective pairs, such as good-bad, pleasant-unpleasant, and positive-negative. This type of scale is designed to capture the nuanced and complex nature of attitudes, as it takes into account the various dimensions and evaluations that individuals hold.
- Thurstone, L. L. (1928). Attitudes can be measured. American Journal of Sociology, 33(6), 529-554.
- Likert, R. (1932). A technique for the measurement of attitudes. Archives of Psychology, 140, 1-55.
- Osgood, C. E., Suci, G. J., & Tannenbaum, P. H. (1957). The measurement of meaning. Urbana, IL: University of Illinois Press.