Multidimensional Scaling Methods


The verb to scale means ‘to arrange in a graduated series’ (Webster's, 1961). Multidimensional scaling means arranging people (or objects) in two or more graduated series. A personality inventory may measure adults on their extroversion and conventionalism, thus yielding two graduated series: extroversion and conventionalism. Each graduated series is a dimension. Hence the term multidimensional scaling.

A scaling model is a statistical function expressing the relationship between location on a psychological dimension, X, and a behavioural response B: B = f(X). The dimension might be psychological extroversion. The behaviour might involve reacting to the statement ‘I like loud parties’ by choosing one of two responses: ‘True of me’; or ‘Not true of me’. The scaling model would express the probability of choosing the response ‘True of ...

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