The Trait Pleasure-Displeasure (or Adjustment-Maladjustment) Scale and Software
Trait Pleasure-Displeasure Defined
Trait pleasure-displeasure refers to a person's characteristic or
average level of pleasure-displeasure over time and across a
representative variety of life situations. Alternatively, it can be
viewed as an individual's predisposition or inclination to respond with
pleasure versus displeasure in various settings. The Trait
Pleasure-displeasure Scale provides an assessment of the degree of
prevalence, in a person, of positive affective states over negative
ones. Within Mehrabian's (1978, 1980, 1987, 1991, 1995) temperament
model, Trait Pleasure-displeasure is the primary temperament dimension
distinguishing psychological adjustment and health versus maladjustment
Software for Administring & Scoring the Trait Pleasure-Displeasure Scale
Software for administering, scoring, and interpreting the Trait Pleasure-Displeasure Scale is available within a larger package of software that includes all three PAD (Pleasure, Dominance, Arousability) scales. The software runs on IBM-compatible machines and, for Trait Pleasure, provides (a) total score, equivalent percentile score,
equivalent z-score, and interpretation of these scores for each person tested and (b) a database
of all three scores (total, percentile, z-score) for all individuals tested. The software is
easy to use and is password protected so that the Administrator can control access to the database
of results. In this way, individuals being tested cannot have access to the results, unless the
Administrator chooses to report such results to them.
The Trait Pleasure-displeasure Scale currently in use (Mehrabian, 1994)
is the most recent and best version of the Trait Pleasure Scale
originally developed by Mehrabian (1978). The present version contains
22 items. For each item, subjects place a check-mark in one of nine
spaces separating two adjectives to indicate how they feel in general.
The Trait Pleasure-displeasure Scale is intended primarily for
experimental use. In the event it is used in clinical or applied
settings, it is strongly advisable that findings based on the present
instrument be checked against additional data from alternative tests and
- Administration: does not require tester to be present; can be
used with individuals or groups
- Test format: semantic differential format, 22 items and 21 buffer
items used to camouflage the intent of the scale
- Appropriate population: English fluency, ages 15 and older
- Time required for administration: approximately 15 minutes
- Scoring: hand scoring yields a single total-scale score; software provides additional percentile and z-scores
- Manual: contains complete scale, scoring directions, norms
- Background literature: includes general background articles on
the PAD Temperament Model (Mehrabian, 1991, 1995; Mehrabian &
- Possible use as a general measure of psychological
health versus psychological maladjustment. Can be used as one of
three basic PAD (Pleasure, Arousability, Dominance) temperament
measures for a general assessment of temperament and/or personality.
Mehrabian's (1996) review article contains considerable validity information on the Trait Pleasure Scale. The Trait Pleasure-displeasure Scale was found to have significant positive
correlations with the following personality scales that assess
psychological adjustment in interpersonal relationships: Affiliation,
Extroversion, Nurturance, Succorance, and Emotional Empathy (Mehrabian &
O'Reilly, 1980). The Trait Pleasure Scale also correlated positively
with Sentience (i.e., a sensuous quality) and with Achievement
(Mehrabian & O'Reilly, 1980).
The Trait Pleasure Scale consistently exhibited significant negative
correlations with the following measures of psychological maladjustment:
Neuroticism, Trait Anxiety, Defendence (or Defensiveness), Aggression
(or Hostility) (Mehrabian, 1995-96; Mehrabian & O'Reilly, 1980), and
Depression (Mehrabian, 1995-96; Mehrabian & Bernath, 1991).
Mehrabian, A. (1978). Measures of individual differences in
temperament. Educational and Psychological Measurement, vol. 38,
Mehrabian, A. (1980). Basic dimensions for a general psychological
theory: Implications for personality, social, environmental, and
developmental studies. Oelgeschlager, Gunn & Hain, Cambridge, MA.
Mehrabian, A. (1987). Eating characteristics and temperament:
General measures and interrelationships. Springer-Verlag, New York.
Mehrabian, A. (1991). Outline of a general emotion-based theory of
temperament. In J. Strelau and A. Angleitner (Eds.), Explorations in
temperament: International perspectives on theory and measurement
(pp. 75-86). Plenum Press, New York.
Mehrabian, A. (1994). Manual for the Trait Pleasure- displeasure
Scale. (Available from Albert Mehrabian, 1130 Alta Mesa Road, Monterey,
CA, USA 93940).
Mehrabian, A. (1995). Relationships among three general approaches to
personality description. Journal of Psychology, vol. 129, pp.
Mehrabian, A. (1995-96). Distinguishing depression and trait anxiety
in terms of basic dimensions of temperament. Imagination, Cognition
and Personality, vol. 15, pp. 133-144.
Mehrabian, A. (1996). Pleasure-arousal-dominance: A general
framework for describing and measuring individual differences in
temperament. Current Psychology, vol. 14, pp. 261-292.
Mehrabian, A., & Bernath, M.S. (1991). Factorial composition of
commonly used self-report depression inventories: Relationships with
basic dimensions of temperament. Journal of Research in
Personality, vol. 25, pp. 262-275.
Mehrabian, A., & O'Reilly, E. (1980). Analysis of personality measures
in terms of basic dimensions of temperament. Journal of Personality
and Social Psychology, vol. 38, pp. 492-503.