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Semantic Differential

Definition

The semantic differential is a method of measurement that uses subjective ratings of a concept or an object by means of scaling opposite adjectives to study connotative meaning of the concept or object. For example, the first level meaning of a car is that of a transportation device; the second level meaning of a car can also be its value as a status symbol. The semantic differential is designed to measure these second levels—in other words, connotative meanings of an object. The semantic differential is mostly used for measuring attitudes toward social and nonsocial objects, but also to assess quality and type of interactions between people. The method was developed by Charles Osgood in the 1950s and has been broadly used in and outside of ...

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