Psikhologicheskie Issledovaniya • ISSN 2075-7999
peer-reviewed • open access journal


2017 Vol. 10 Issue 51

Mitina O.V., Pluzhnikov I.V. An Buridan’s ass between a rock and a hard place: operationalization and measure of ambivalence in humanities (Part 1)

Full text in Russian: Митина О.В., Плужников И.В. Буриданов осёл между молотом и наковальней: операционализация и способы измерения амбивалентности в науках о человеке и обществе (Часть 1)

Lomonosov Moscow State University, Moscow, Russia

About authors
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This article is dedicated to the analysis of the operationalization problem and ambivalence estimation ways in quantitative research. Ambivalence is regarded as a general psychological phenomenon, which occurs in many application areas (including clinical psychology, political psychology, psychology of advertising, psychology of individual differences, and others), and is defined as a simultaneous coexistence of polar estimates of a subject with respect to any object or situation.  Ambivalence is characterized by estimates intensity (from indifference through dialecticism to pathological ambivalence). The main approaches to the estimation of ambivalence - experienced and potential (objective) – are considered below. In a situation when the emphasis is on the fact that the objective ambivalence is calculated according to a formula based on antonymous relationships, the term ‘operational ambivalence’ is used. The terms ‘positive’ and ‘negative’ attitude are replaced by ‘dominant’ (maximum from two) and ‘conflicting’ (minimum from two) relations. In the following, the existing models of operational ambivalence estimation are extensively described and analyzed: the Conflicting reaction model, Similarity Intensity model, Cross-product Model, the positive acceleration model, the negative acceleration model, threshold models. All of them are estimated on the basis of the dominant and conflicting relationship values. It is also proposed an alternative method of ambivalence calculation based on the dominant and conflicting relationships ratio determined by a researcher and recognized as ambivalent (parameterized model). To facilitate the understanding of the article, all the ambivalence estimation models are not only defined in formulas, but also in a tabular form for different values of the dominant and conflicting relationships, and graphically as a surface in three-dimensional space.

Keywords: mathematical psychology, ambivalence, indifference, mathematical data processing, semantic differential


The study was supported by the Russian Foundation for Basic Research, project 14-06-00316 "The problem of measuring the image of the world incoherence in general and clinical psychology" .


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Received 19 August 2016. Date of publication: 28 February 2017.

About authors

Mitina Olga V. Ph.D., Associate Professor, Department of General Psychology, Faculty of Psychology, Lomonosov Moscow State University, ul. Mokhovaya, 11–9, 125009 Moscow, Russia.
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Pluzhnikov Ilya V. Ph.D, Senior Researcher, Mental Health Research Center, Kashirskoe sh., 34, 115522 Moscow, Russia.
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Suggested citation

Mitina O.V., Pluzhnikov I.V. An Buridan’s ass between a rock and a hard place: operationalization and measure of ambivalence in humanities (Part 1). Psikhologicheskie Issledovaniya, 2017, Vol. 10, No. 51, p. 11. (in Russian, abstr. in English).

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