“It is often argued academically that no science can be more secure than its foundations, and that, if there is controversy about the foundations, there must be even greater controversy about the higher parts of the science"
Utility theorist Leonard Jimmie Savage (1954)
My name is Andrew Kyngdon and I'm an Australian quantitative psychologist whose primary interest is in scientific measurement and its application to cognitive systems and attributes.
Scientific measurement is the estimation of the ratio between an unknown magnitude of a continuous quantity and a unit quantity of the same kind. For example, the length of a hallway is measured by using a unit magnitude of length, such as the metre, and estimating the ratio of this unit to the hallway length. The ratio may be 4:1 which is simply expressed as 4m.
All scientific measurements are nothing less than the product of a real number and a unit. The ancient Greek geometer Euclid (fl. ca. 300BCE) gave scientific measurement its first formal treatment in Book V of the Elements, the work which influenced some of science's greatest minds, including those of Galileo Galilei, Sir Isaac Newton and James Clerk Maxwell. To this day it remains the view held in physics, the paradigm of quantitative science (c.f. Emerson, 2008). It currently underpins all modern technology, medicine, telecommunications, engineering and world trade.
Psychology and the behavioural sciences, however, have shunned the scientific definition of measurement. Stanley Smith Stevens' (1946) concept of measurement as the assignment of numerals to objects and events according to rule is held as definitive. As a consequence, almost all of the quantitative practices psychologists engage in cannot be considered to be scientific measurement.
For those who may doubt this, consider these questions. Psychometric tests are argued to be "instruments of measurement", but when was the last time you saw a test yield the product of a real number and a unit? Why isn't there a system of units in the behavioural sciences? Why hasn't there been a hugely successful applied science or engineering science based upon psychological measurement?
I created this site primarily so that people can see who I am and what I am about.
I would be very interested in hearing from others who are interested in scientific measurement as applied to psychological attributes and system; and from those who just feel that there is something deeply amiss with psychological "measurement" as it currently stands.
Please contact me via my contacts page.