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|Title:||Unfolding the conceptualisation and measurement of ambivalent attitudes|
|Authors:||McGrane, Joshua Aaron|
Axiomatic conjoint measurement theory
|Publisher:||University of Sydney.|
School of Psychology
|Abstract:||In the last two decades, ambivalence has emerged as one of the primary concerns of attitude researchers. The acknowledgement that individuals can simultaneously evaluate an attitude object as both positive and negative has challenged a number of the status quos of the attitude literature. This thesis utilises an unfolding approach to investigate the implications of ambivalence for the conceptualisation of attitudes and their measurement. Firstly, the assumption that ambivalence is at odds with the bipolar understanding of attitudes was investigated. The results suggested that ambivalence is consistent with bipolarity, whereby ambivalent attitudes are located at the centre of the bipolar dimension. Secondly, attitude scales for the abortion, euthanasia and Aboriginal Australians issues were constructed to reflect this bipolar understanding. The fit of these statements to Coombs’ (1964) unidimensional unfolding theory provided evidence that ambivalence is also consistent with the quantitative conceptualisation of attitudes. Together these results provided further validation of the unfolding approach to attitude measurement. These models alleviate many of the problems faced by the ubiquitous method of summated ratings, including the assessment of ambivalent evaluations. Finally, these scales were used to investigate the latent structure of attitudes and its relationship with meta-psychological judgements of ambivalence. The conclusions drawn from these analyses were limited by a number of issues, highlighting the importance of rigorously considering measurement issues for all attitude parameters. Nonetheless, they presented preliminary validation of these scales’ ability to measure ambivalent evaluations and suggested a systematic relationship between proximity to the centre of the evaluative dimension and metapsychological ambivalence. Overall, it is concluded that a number of assumptions regarding the implications of ambivalence are misplaced and the proposed solutions are even more troublesome. Suggestions for future research are made, particularly with respect to differentiating between ambivalent, indifferent and uncertain evaluative states. Furthermore, attitude researchers are encouraged to discard their operationalist biases in order to engage with the measurement issues illuminated throughout this thesis. This is necessary to account for the complexity of the attitude construct, which ambivalence is testament to.|
|Description:||Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)|
|Rights and Permissions:||The author retains copyright of this thesis.|
|Type of Work:||PhD Doctorate|
|Appears in Collections:||Sydney Digital Theses (Open Access)|
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