In psychological measurement, two interpretations of measurement systems have been developed: the reflective interpretation, in which the measured attribute is conceptualized as the common cause of the observables, and the formative interpretation, in which the measured attribute is seen as the common effect of the observables. We advocate a third interpretation, in which attributes are conceptualized as systems of causally coupled (observable) variables. In such a view, a construct like ’depression’ is not seen as a latent variable that underlies symptoms like ’lack of sleep’ or ’fatigue’, and neither as a composite constructed out of these symptoms, but as a system of causal relations between the symptoms themselves (e.g., lack of sleep → fatigue, etc.). We discuss methodological strategies to investigate such systems as well as theoretical consequences that bear on the question in which sense such a construct could be interpreted as real.
|Journal||New Ideas in Psychology|
|Publication status||Published - 1 Apr 2013|