semantic differential

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semantic differential A method devised by C. E. Osgood and his colleagues to study the connotative meaning of cultural objects, using a set of bipolar rating scales (for example sweet/sour, good/bad), in order to elicit data (see C. Osgood, and G. Suci , and P. Tannenbaum , The Measurement of Meaning, 1957
). When scales are intercorrelated and factor analysed, three general components repeatedly appear, both for different objects and cross-culturally: namely, evaluation, potency, and activity. The technique can be used to compare the responses of one individual to different objects, experiences, concepts, or whatever; and of groups of individuals to same stimuli. It has been used in a variety of settings including market research and therapy.