Psychology 230:
Multidimensional Scaling

Professor: Forrest Young


Course Description:

  • The first part of the course is an overview of those aspects of experimental design, data analysis, and analysis interpretation that are relevant to Multidimensional Scaling. The course then continues with a survey of Multidimensional Scaling models, with emphasis on the geometrical (visual) aspects of these models and their use for exploring dissimilarity data to generate hypotheses. Hypothesis testing is not covered. Following a review of the available MDS algorithms and programs, a Lisp program implementing a multidimensional scaling algorithm will be written as the major class project.



  • The course is designed for quantitative psychology students who have a mathematical understanding of Multiple Regression and a working knowledge of LispStat.
  • Topics and Schedule:

    Note that the most links in this section are Adobe Acrobat PDF files that require the free Adobe Acrobat Reader.
    1. Introduction and History 
    2. Data Theory and Experimental Design 
    3. Classical MDS Models 
    4. Torgerson, Kruskal, and de Leeuw CMDS Algorithms 
    5. Least Squares Monotonic Transformation 
    6. Replicated Nonmetric Multidimensional Scaling Algorithm 
    7. Weighted MDS Models 
    8. INDSCAL and ALSCAL WMDS Algorithms 
    9. Interpretation of MDS Results.


    There will be a individual projects invovling the analysis of personally provided data. The analysis will be written up as a publishable quality paper. There will be no exams.


    Readings are from links provided above and below, and from the following book:
    Young, F.W. & Hamer, R.M. (1987) Multidimensional Scaling: History, Theory and Applications Erlbaum, New York.
    There is very complete set of related information prepared by William G. Jacoby for his Scaling and Dimensional Analysis course at the ICPSR (Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research). If you are interested, there is an abstract of next summer's ICPSR course. On-Line Data Gathering for MDS! Check out this movie critic site.