Test Item Content Vs. Response Styles

Shulamith Kreitler, Hans Kreitler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The purpose of the study was to demonstrate that perceived correctness of the contents of items plays a larger role in determining responses to questionnaire items than response tendencies. The design was three‐factorial (2 × 2 × 2) with perceived correctness, social desirability and correspondence to preferred meaning dimensions (i.e., major content categories) as the independent variables, and response extremity as the dependent. There were 144 subjects, 18 in each of the eight conditions. The task consisted of checking whether each of 220 self‐report items was True or False and then marking the extremity of judgement on a 5‐point scale. The findings showed main effects for all three factors: the largest for perceived correctness that accounted for 58% of the variance, and small but comparable ones for the other two, that accounted for 8–9% of the variance. It was argued that item content is the main deteerminant of perceived correctness whereas preferences for particular meaning variables are main determinants of response tendencies. 1984 Australian Psychological Society

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)255-266
Number of pages12
JournalAustralian Journal of Psychology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 1984


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