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Calibrating the experimental measurement of psychological attributes

Bach, DR; Melinščak, F; Fleming, SM; Voelkle, MC; (2020) Calibrating the experimental measurement of psychological attributes. Nature Human Behaviour , 4 pp. 1229-1235. 10.1038/s41562-020-00976-8. Green open access

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Abstract

Behavioural researchers often seek to experimentally manipulate, measure and analyse latent psychological attributes, such as memory, confidence or attention. The best measurement strategy is often difficult to intuit. Classical psychometric theory, mostly focused on individual differences in stable attributes, offers little guidance. Hence, measurement methods in experimental research are often based on tradition and differ between communities. Here we propose a criterion, which we term ‘retrodictive validity’, that provides a relative numerical estimate of the accuracy of any given measurement approach. It is determined by performing calibration experiments to manipulate a latent attribute and assessing the correlation between intended and measured attribute values. Our approach facilitates optimising measurement strategies and quantifying uncertainty in the measurement. Thus, it allows power analyses to define minimally required sample sizes. Taken together, our approach provides a metrological perspective on measurement practice in experimental research that complements classical psychometrics.

Type: Article
Title: Calibrating the experimental measurement of psychological attributes
Location: England
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1038/s41562-020-00976-8
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1038/s41562-020-00976-8
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
Keywords: Human behaviour, Sociology
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences > Experimental Psychology
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology > Imaging Neuroscience
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10116203
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