Psychometrics is not measurement: Unraveling a fundamental misconception in quantitative psychology and the complex network of its underlying fallacies.

  • Jana Uher
  • Journal of Theoretical and Philosophical Psychology, October 2020, American Psychological Association (APA)
  • DOI: 10.1037/teo0000176

Beliefs that mind could be measured are based on ambiguous terms and concepts often mixed up

Photo by Siora Photography on Unsplash

Photo by Siora Photography on Unsplash

What is it about?

The widespread beliefs that psychometrics could enable science-based quantifications of the human mind are shown to be based on ambiguous meanings of key terms used in psychology that, moreover, are often confused with one another. Many psychologists also build on erroneous assumptions about what constitutes measurement in the physical sciences and therefore draw erroneous conclusions about how it could be implemented in psychological research about the human mind.

Why is it important?

The analyses show that psychometrics does not establish systematic relations to individuals’ minds as needed for measurement and that, consequently, psychometric results should not be used to make decisions about persons.


Dr Jana Uher
University of Greenwich

This provocative article is aimed at stimulating much needed debate and discussion about established research practices in psychology and the widespread but erroneous beliefs that psychometrics could be similar to measurement.

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The following have contributed to this page: Dr Jana Uher