Squaring the circle: From latent variables to theory-based measurement

Faculty/Professorship: Foundations in Education  
Author(s): Borgstede, Matthias  ; Eggert, Frank
Title of the Journal: Theory & Psychology
ISSN: 1461-7447, 0959-3543
Publisher Information: Thousand Oaks, Kalifornien, USA; München : Sage Publications; GBI-Genios Deutsche Wirtschaftsdatenbank GmbH
Year of publication: 2022
Volume: 33
Issue: 1
Pages: 118-137
Language(s): English
DOI: 10.1177/09593543221127985
Psychometrics builds on the fundamental premise that psychological attributes are unobservable and need to be inferred from observable behavior. Consequently, psychometric procedures consist primarily in applying latent variable modeling, which statistically relates latent variables to manifest variables. However, latent variable modeling falls short of providing a theoretically sound definition of psychological attributes. Whereas in a pragmatic interpretation of latent variable modeling latent variables cannot represent psychological attributes at all, a realist interpretation of latent variable modeling implies that latent variables are empty placeholders for unknown attributes. The authors argue that psychological attributes can only be identified if they are defined within the context of substantive formal theory. Building on the structuralist view of scientific theories, they show that any successful application of such a theory necessarily produces specific values for the theoretical terms that are defined within the theory. Therefore, substantive formal theory is both necessary and sufficient for psychological measurement.
GND Keywords: Forschungsmethode; Psychologie
Keywords: formal models, latent variables, measurement, metatheoretical structuralism, theory-based measurement
DDC Classification: 150 Psychology  
RVK Classification: CM 3000   
Peer Reviewed: Ja
International Distribution: Ja
Type: Article
URI: https://fis.uni-bamberg.de/handle/uniba/58257
Release Date: 9. February 2023
Project: Open-Access-Publikationskosten 2022 - 2024