Access

You are not currently logged in.

Access JSTOR through your library or other institution:

login

Log in through your institution.

If You Use a Screen Reader

This content is available through Read Online (Free) program, which relies on page scans. Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
Journal Article

Attitudes Can Be Measured

L. L. Thurstone
American Journal of Sociology
Vol. 33, No. 4 (Jan., 1928), pp. 529-554
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2765691
Page Count: 26
Were these topics helpful?
See somethings inaccurate? Let us know!

Select the topics that are inaccurate.

Cancel
  • Read Online (Free)
  • Download ($14.00)
  • Subscribe ($19.50)
  • Add to My Lists
  • Cite this Item
Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
Attitudes Can Be Measured
Preview not available

Abstract

The object of this study is to devise a method whereby the distribution of attitude of a group on a specified issue may be represented in the form of a frequency distribution. The base line represents ideally the whole range of opinions from those at one end who are most strongly in favor of the issue to those at the other end of the scale who are as strongly against it. Somewhere between the two extremes on the base line will be a neutral zone representing indifferent attitudes on the issue in question. The ordinates of the frequency distribution will represent the relative popularity of each attitude. This measurement problem has the limitation which is common to all measurement, namely, that one can measure only such attributes as can be represented on a linear continuum, such attributes as volume, price, length, area, excellence, beauty, and so on. For the present problem we are limited to those aspects of attitudes for which one can compare individuals by the "more and less" type of judgment. For example, we say understandingly that one man is more in favor of prohibition than another, more strongly in favor of the League of Nations than another, more militaristic than some other, more religious than another. The measurement is effected by the indorsement or rejection of statements of opinion. The opinions are allocated to different positions on the base line in accordance with the attitudes which they express. The ordinates of the frequency distribution are determined by the frequency with which each of the scaled opinions is indorsed. The center of the whole problem lies in the definition of a unit of measurement for the base line. The scale is so constructed that two opinions separated by a unit distance on the base line seem to differ as much in the attitude variable involved as any other two opinions on the scale which are also separated by a unit distance. This is the main idea of the present scale construction. The true allocation of an individual to a position on an attitude scale is an abstraction, just as the true length of a chalk line, or the true temperature of a room, or the true spelling ability of a child, is an abstraction. We estimate the true length of a line, the true temperature of a room, or the true spelling ability of a child, by means of various indices, and it is a commonplace in measurement that all indices do not agree exactly. In allocating an individual to a point on the attitude continuum we may use various indices, such as the opinions that he indores, his overt acts, and his past history, and it is to be expected that discrepancies will appear as the true attitude of the individual is estimated by different indices. The present study is concerned with the allocation of individuals along an attitude continuum based on the opinions that they accept or reject.

Page Thumbnails

  • Thumbnail: Page 
529
    529
  • Thumbnail: Page 
530
    530
  • Thumbnail: Page 
531
    531
  • Thumbnail: Page 
532
    532
  • Thumbnail: Page 
533
    533
  • Thumbnail: Page 
534
    534
  • Thumbnail: Page 
535
    535
  • Thumbnail: Page 
536
    536
  • Thumbnail: Page 
537
    537
  • Thumbnail: Page 
538
    538
  • Thumbnail: Page 
539
    539
  • Thumbnail: Page 
540
    540
  • Thumbnail: Page 
541
    541
  • Thumbnail: Page 
542
    542
  • Thumbnail: Page 
543
    543
  • Thumbnail: Page 
544
    544
  • Thumbnail: Page 
545
    545
  • Thumbnail: Page 
546
    546
  • Thumbnail: Page 
547
    547
  • Thumbnail: Page 
548
    548
  • Thumbnail: Page 
549
    549
  • Thumbnail: Page 
550
    550
  • Thumbnail: Page 
551
    551
  • Thumbnail: Page 
552
    552
  • Thumbnail: Page 
553
    553
  • Thumbnail: Page 
554
    554