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Intensity was a term introduced by Bannister (1960) as ‘intensity of relationship’ among constructs. It was the total (or average) of measures of association (initially matching coefficients, later correlations) between constructs. In Fransella and Bannister (1977) it was defined as the sum of the spearman rank-order correlations squared and multiplied by 100. More widely acceptable ways of representing average correlations is via the root-mean-square correlation, and this is often viewed today as the usual operationalizations of intensity. It is also widely used as a measure of cognitive complexity. Bannister and Mair (1968, p.161) point out the major problem with this average (that it does not take account of the heterogeneity of size of correlations among constructs), subsequently alluded to in connection with monolithic construing by Mahklouf-Norris, Jones and Norris (1970) and recently demonstrated by Bell (2003).

  • Bannister, D. (1960) Conceptual structure in thought disordered schizophrenics. Journal of Mental Science, 108, 1230-1249.
  • Bell, R.C. (2003) An evaluation of indices used to represent construct structure. In G. Chiari and M. L. Nuzzo (Eds.) Psychological Constructivism and the Social World,  Milano: Angeli (EPCA Publications).
  • Fransella, F. and Bannister, D. (1977) A manual for the repertory grid technique. London: Academic Press.
  • Mahklouf-Norris, F., Jones, H.G., and Norris, H. (1970) Articulation of the conceptual structure in obsessional neurosis. British Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology, 9, 264-274.

Richard C. Bell

Establ. 2003
Last update: 15 February 2004