ISSN 1671-3710
CN 11-4766/R

Advances in Psychological Science ›› 2017, Vol. 25 ›› Issue (2): 201-210.doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1042.2017.00201

• Research Methods • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Word scale and numerical scale: Differences, mechanisms, and methodological issues in scale development

YU Xiaoxia; YUAN Yuan; XIN Ziqiang   

  1. (Department of Psychology at School of Sociology and Psychology, Central University of Finance and Economics, Beijing 100081, China)
  • Received:2016-03-21 Online:2017-02-15 Published:2017-02-15
  • Contact: XIN Ziqiang, E-mail:


The type of a scale could significantly influence its result in psychological measurement. Empirical studies have demonstrated that a word scale and a numerical scale may produce different ratings even for the same item or stimulus object. Some possible mechanisms (e.g. shifting standards effect, cognitive strategies) have been proposed to explain this phenomenon. However, there is still a lack of study focused on the difference between these two scales, and the underlying psychological mechanisms have not yet been clarified. Future studies can focus on the difference between word and numerical scales, explore the mechanisms, illustrate cross-cultural differences, and improve practical applications. Some methodological issues in scale development are also discussed at the end of this article.

Key words: word scale, numerical scale, psychological mechanism, scale development