The Relationship of Insufficient Effort Responding and Response Styles: An Online Experiment


While self-report data is a staple of modern psychological studies, they rely on participants accurately self-reporting. Two constructs that impede accurate results are insufficient effort responding and response styles. These constructs share conceptual underpinnings and both utilized to reduce cognitive effort when responding to self-report scales. Little research has extensively explored the relationship of the two constructs. The current study explored the relationship of the two constructs across even-point and odd-point scales, as well as before and after data cleaning procedures. We utilized IRTrees, a statistical method for modeling response styles, to examine the relationship between IER and response styles. To capture the wide range of IER metrics available, we employed several forms of IER assessment in our analyses and generated IER factors based on the type of IER being detected. Our results indicated an overall modest relationship between IER and response styles, which varied depending on the type of IER metric being considered or type of scale being evaluated. As expected, data cleaning also changed the relationships of some of the variables. We posit the difference between the constructs may be the degree of cognitive effort participants are willing to expend. Future research and applications are discussed.

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Michael Lee
Yale University

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