Simultaneous analysis of individual and aggregate responses in psychometric data using multilevel modeling

Ian H. Langford, Claire Marris, Annë‐Lise McDonald, Harvey Goldstein, Jon Rasbash, Tim O'Riordan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Citations (Scopus)


Psychometric data on risk perceptions are often collected using the method developed by Slovic, Fischhoff, and Lichtenstein, where an array of risk issues are evaluated with respect to a number of risk characteristics, such as how dreadful, catastrophic or involuntary exposure to each risk is. The analysis of these data has often been carried out at an aggregate level, where mean scores for all respondents are compared between risk issues. However, this approach may conceal important variation between individuals, and individual analyses have also been performed for single risk issues. This paper presents a new methodological approach using a technique called multilevel modelling for analysing individual and aggregated responses simultaneously, to produce unconditional and unbiased results at both individual and aggregate levels of the data. Two examples are given using previously published data sets on risk perceptions collected by the authors, and results between the traditional and new approaches compared. The discussion focuses on the implications of and possibilities provided by the new methodology.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)675-683
Number of pages9
JournalRisk Analysis
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Aug 1999


  • Humans
  • Models, Psychological
  • Perception
  • Psychometrics
  • Risk Assessment
  • Risk-Taking

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