I stole the picture below from YouGov.
A new YouGov study reveals exactly how positively and negatively the population perceives various descriptions to be.
YouGov showed respondents a selection of adjectives from a list of 24 and asked [a group of about 1,000–2,000 Britons] to score each on a scale from 0-10, with 0 being “very negative” and 10 being “very positive”.
Study the picture for a moment.
Even more important for us is a second picture at their site which compares average responses of Britons and Americans. There are many differences: abysmal had a difference (by my eye) of about 1.5; others were smaller. But even the small ones represent mean differences, meaning there is some variability in the differences, which they didn’t picture.
Now the picture above smacks of “density estimates”, which I won’t explain, but think of it as a way to make fancy histograms. It (over-)smooths the actual results. (I was in grad school when smoothing methods were going to save the world.) Ignore that twist. It’s clear enough that substantial variation exists for each word.
It’s true there is little overlap in scores in words at the extremes, such as perfect and appalling. Nobody I know who speaks English would ever confuse these words. Then I don’t know a lot of people. The vocabulary of benighted college students is particularly thin these days, so one never knows.
The point is this. That the variance seen is in no way unusual or unexpected, not in the different “scores” given the individual words nor in the differences in the scores by country. Of course, the so-called country differences could be partly genuine (they speak a weird English over there) and partly no different than if you were to take just the Britons and split them in two using whatever marker you like. In other words, it’s another measure of variation.
The differences within in any word are well withing the differences touted in wee-p research. Meaning, of course, that many of the results touted to be caused by theories favored by the researchers could just as well be caused by different understandings on the words. Yes, even with these variabilities differences in means between words can exist, but there is no proof this comes about because of the theory or because of the differences in understanding.
Attempting quantification of unquantifiable mental states and feels is far too common.
How much do you agree with this assessment on a scale of -42 to 3 in increments of 1/e before -10 and 1/pi after it, though those in Britain, may use mostly whole numbers.