Psychological Scales of Yesteryear

Example Item from the Imaginary Audience Scale

Example Item from the Imaginary Audience Scale

When psychologists create scales (such as the many personality tests you may be familiar with), they try to use language and examples that would be relevant and accessible to their participants. Although this helps in reducing the possibility that participants will be alienated or confused by the items in a scale, it also means that some scales don’t age quite as well as others. The above example is from Elkind & Bowen’s 1979 scale to measure a component of egocentrism called imaginary audience. This scale was used in a study of K-12 and college students in 1990 (Jahnke & Blanchard-Fields), and I wonder whether the language already seemed outdated at time. Reading it 21 years later, I got a little chuckle.

Updates will continue to be sporadic (ok, they’e been non-existent) while I finish up my summer travel/deadlines. Unfortunately, no dress-up parties are planned—at least none that I am invited to—but there are still adventures to be had and data to be analyzed before I am back to a more normal schedule.


Elkind, D., & Bowen, R. (1979). Imaginary audience behavior in children and adolescents Developmental Psychology, 15(1), 38–44.

Jahnke, H. C., & Blanchard-Fields, F. (1993). A test of two models of adolescent egocentrism. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 22(3), 313–326.


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