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Attitude scale-definition, types, point scale

Attitudes are “the most distinctive and indispensable concept in contemporary social psychology”  –       Gordon Allport, 1935

Attitude is an enduring disposition to consistently respond in a given manner. Three components of an attitude are

  • Affective – The feelings or emotions toward an object
  • Cognitive – Knowledge and beliefs
  • Behavioral – Predisposition to action, Intentions, Behavioral expectations

In social research, scaling techniques are used to measure the attitude and behavior. One can make judgment about characteristic of an individual and place him on a scale which is measuring for that characteristic.


Originally the word ‘scale’ come from the Latin word scala, meaning a ladder or flight of steps, a scale represents a series of ordered steps at fixed intervals used as a standard of measurement. Scales are used to rank people’s judgments of objects, events, or other people from low to high or from poor to good.


A SCALE is a continuum from highest to lowest points and has intermediate points in between these two extremities. The scale points are related that the first point indicates a higher position than the second; the second point is higher than the third point and so on.

Commonly used scales in behavioral research include

  • Attitude scales designed to measure people’s opinions on social issues,
  • Employee rating scales to measure job-related performance,
  • Scales for determining socioeconomic status used in sociological research,
  • Product rating scales used in consumer research and
  • Sensory evaluation scales to judge the quality of food, air, and other phenomena.


An attitude scale is a special type of questionnaire designed to produce scores indicating the intensity and direction (for or against) of a person’s feelings about an object or event.

Attitude scales are often used in attitude change experiments.

One group of people is asked to fill out the scale twice, once before some event, such as reading a persuasive argument, and again afterward. A control group fills out the scale twice without reading the argument. The control group is used to measure exposure or practice effects. The change in the scores of the experimental group relative to the control group, whether their attitudes have become more or less favorable, indicates the effects of the argument.

Some important characteristics of attitude scale are:

  • These are used for measuring the social attitudes.
  • A questionnaire is prepared; by the items in the questionnaire assess the attitude of an individual towards a matter, thing, an object or system and score is allotted for each item.
  • The individual is asked to express his response towards an object or system, on the basis of his responses, he is assigned a score which indicates the position.
  • Some relevant and indirect statements can also be used to reveal the attitude.
  • The scale also specifies the crucial shades of opinions.
  • Most of the scales used are ordinal in nature, though there is attempt to treat the resulting data as intervally scaled. The simplest possible type of such scale has the respondent classifying the object/issue/product/himself into one among two dichotomous categories.
  • The attitude measurement scales can be categorised into those which are unidimensional in nature and those which are multidimensional. The different type of single dimensional attitude measurement scales which are available are graphical and numerical scales, summated scales, paired comparisons, equal-appearing intervals.




  • Select the words which will give the opinion.
  • The respondent is to cross out every word i.e., more annoying than pleasing to him.
  • The attitude of a respondent is known by calculating the numbers of words crossed or not crossed. The words selected should be suggestive of an attitude and the opposite words should also be given at the same time.
  • One point is given to each agreement or disagreement whichever is to be chosen.


  • The words may not be dichotomous in nature.
  • The neutral or confused opinions cannot be represented.
  • Adequate number of words expressing the same attitude may not be found.

        METHOD – 2

Two sets of words indicating both favorable and unfavorable opinions are given. The favorable items may be crossed and favorable items may be left unscored.