[Rasch] current issues of research in psychometrics?

Mark Moulton markhmoulton at gmail.com
Thu May 3 14:53:12 EST 2012


Wow!  Fantastic post, Andrew.
Mark

On Wed, May 2, 2012 at 6:30 PM, Andrew Kyngdon <akyngdon at lexile.com> wrote:

> Dear Anthony,
>
>
>
> You say:
>
>
>
> I looked at some journals but couldn’t ‘detect’ a specific line of
> research which one can say that psychometricians are following now.
>
>
>
> I doubt that there has ever existed any coherent line of research in
> psychometrics, if by “line of research” it is meant a program of sustained
> research into the psychology of individual differences in test performance
> which has resulted in a steady accumulation of knowledge of such
> differences.
>
>
>
> Have a look at the website for “Psychometrika”, the flagship journal of
> psychometrics. In 2010, the most viewed paper online was Cronbach’s
> original 1951 paper on “alpha”. In 2006 it was the same. When I looked on
> Tuesday (1st May), it was the most viewed paper in the previous 90 days.
> Rather amusingly, the second most viewed paper was Sijtsma’s (2009) paper
> titled “On the use, the misuse and very limited usefulness of Cronbach’s
> alpha”.
>
>
>
> Has there been nothing truly new and groundbreaking in psychometrics in
> over 60 years? Is Cronbach’s alpha the single most important and
> consequential idea that psychometricians have devised in all this time? It
> would appear so.
>
>
>
> Contrast this with the study of decision making under conditions of risk
> and uncertainty of the past 60 years. The most cited article of all time
> for “Econometrica” is Kahneman & Tversky’s (1979) paper on “prospect
> theory”, which founded the field of behavioural economics. The most viewed
> paper online for “Journal of Risk and Uncertainty” is Tversky & Kahneman’s
> (1992) paper on “cumulative prospect theory”, which is prospect theory with
> the incorporation of the rank dependent functional proposed by the
> Australian economist John Quiggin (1982).
>
>
>
> Sixty years ago we thought that people were all strictly rational utility
> maximisers (i.e., all choice behaviour conformed to the von Neumann &
> Morgenstern (1944) axioms) who are always risk averse and aware of how
> their choices affect their total asset position. Today we know why:
>
>
>
> ·        people prefer sure consequences (gifts) over gambles which have
> a high probability of winning a larger amount of money than the gift
> (Allais, 1953);
>
> ·        people do not tend to consider their total asset position when
> making a risky choice (such as when purchasing a lottery ticket);
>
> ·        people counterintuively seek risk when faced with certain losses
> (Tversky & Kahneman, 1981);
>
> ·        people’s choice behaviour is highly sensitive to the way a
> choice is framed and presented to the decision maker (Tversky & Kahneman,
> 1981);
>
> ·        people buy lottery tickets, play poker machines AND purchase
> insurance; and why strictly rational choice fails to explain this (Tversky
> & Kahneman, 1992);
>
> ·        loss aversion causes the equity premium paradox (Bernatzi &
> Thaler, 1995);
>
> ·        loss aversion causes the status quo bias (Williamson &
> Zeckhauser, 1988);
>
> ·        there is a lower rate of tax evasion than is predicted by
> strictly rational utility maximisation (Bernasconi, 1998);
>
> ·        stock market levels move around too much (the “volatility
> puzzle”) and the predictability of price to earnings ratios (Barberis,
> Huang & Santos, 2001);
>
> ·        choices between insurance policies is not strictly rational
> (Johnson, Hershy, Meszaros & Kunreuther, 1993); and why people purchase
> more insurance than what they actually need (Segal & Spivak, 1990);
>
> ·        people are highly averse to “probabilistic insurance” (Wakker,
> Thaler & Tversky, 1997);
>
> ·        the behaviour of options traders is not strictly rational when
> the probabilities of returns are not fully known (Fox, Rogers & Tversky,
> 1996);
>
> ·        some investors choose portfolios that lie underneath the Sharpe
> – Linter Capital Market Line (i.e., choose portfolios of stocks
> stochastically dominated by others) (Levy, 2008);
>
> ·        investors tend to hold onto their losing stocks to a greater
> extent than their winning stocks (Shefrin & Statman, 1985);
>
> ·        people’s willingness to bet on an uncertain event depends not
> only upon the uncertainty, but upon the source of the uncertainty (the
> Ellsberg (1961) Paradox);
>
> ·        political leaders take risks to maintain their international
> reputations and domestic support (Levy, 1997);
>
> ·        political leaders, when they have suffered losses (e.g.,
> domestic support, territory) take excessive risks to recover such losses
> rather than wear them (Levy, 1997); and even why
>
> ·        Jimmy Carter chose to use military force in the Iranian Hostage
> Crisis of April, 1980 (McDermott, 1994).
>
>
>
> A plausible account for all of the above is given by either prospect
> theory or cumulative prospect theory. Can we point to anything like this
> situation in psychometrics? Do we really know anything substantial about
> individual differences in mathematics ability, for example, than we didn’t
> know 60 years ago?
>
>
>
> I doubt it.
>
>
>
> Andrew
>
>
>
> *From:* rasch-bounces at acer.edu.au [mailto:rasch-bounces at acer.edu.au] *On
> Behalf Of *Anthony James
> *Sent:* Wednesday, 2 May 2012 3:45 PM
> *To:* Rasch at acer.edu.au
> *Subject:* [Rasch] current issues of research in psychometrics?
>
>
>
> Dear all,
>
> A colleague of mine asked me “What are the current issues of research in
> psychometrics these days?”
>
> I looked at some journals but couldn’t ‘detect’ a specific line of
> research which one can say that psychometricians are following now.
>
> Does really such a line(or a number of lines) exist?
>
> Cheers
>
> Anthony
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