Encyclopedia of Personality and Individual Differences

Living Edition
| Editors: Virgil Zeigler-Hill, Todd K. Shackelford

Acquiescent Responding

  • Beatrice RammstedtEmail author
  • Daniel Danner
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-28099-8_1276-1

Acquiescent responding, which is sometimes referred to as yea-saying, has been defined as the tendency to agree with items regardless of their content (Jackson and Messick 1958; Javeline 1999). Acquiescent responding can bias empirical results in various ways. It has been found to bias the factorial structure of scales, such as personality inventories, (Rammstedt et al. 2010, 2013; Lechner and Rammstedt 2015; Rammstedt and Farmer 2013; Soto et al. 2008), correlation patterns (Bentler et al. 1971), the fit of structural equation models (Aichholzer 2015), and associations with external criteria (Danner et al. 2015). Furthermore, the mean scores of manifest variables may be biased by acquiescent responding, with the result that mean-level differences may be misinterpreted (Vlimmeren et al. 2015).

The tendency towards acquiescent responding varies across subpopulations, cultures, and item content. In particular, children (compared to adults; Soto et al. 2008) and less educated (Rammstedt...

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.

References

  1. Aichholzer, J. (2015). Controlling acquiescence bias in measurement invariance tests. Psihologija, 48(4), 409–429.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Bäckström, M., Björklund, F., & Larsson, M. R. (2009). Five-factor inventories have a major general factor related to social desirability which can be reduced by framing items neutrally. Journal of Research in Personality, 43, 335–344.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Bentler, P. M., Jackson, D. N., & Messick, S. (1971). Identification of content and style: A two-dimensional interpretation of acquiescence. Psychological Bulletin, 76(3), 186–204.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  4. Billiet, J. B., & McClendon, M. J. (2000). Modeling acquiescence in measurement models for two balanced sets of items. Structural Equation Modeling, 7(4), 608–628.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Danner, D., & Rammstedt, B. (2016). Facets of acquiescence: Agreeing with negations is not the same as accepting inconsistency. Journal of Research in Personality, 60, 120–129. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jrp.2016.10.010.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Danner, D., Aichholzer, J., & Rammstedt, B. (2015). Acquiescence in personality questionnaires: Relevance, domain specificity, and stability. Journal of Research in Personality, 57, 119–130.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Jackson, D. N., & Messick, S. (1958). Content and style in personality assessment. Psychological Bulletin, 55(4), 243–252.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  8. Javeline, D. (1999). Response effects in polite cultures: A test of acquiescence in Kazakhstan. Public Opinion Quarterly, 63, 1–28.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Lechner, C. M., & Rammstedt, B. (2015). Cognitive ability, acquiescence, and the structure of personality in a sample of older adults. Psychological Assessment, 27(4), 1301–1311.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  10. McBride, L., & Moran, G. (1967). Double agreement as a function of item ambiguity and susceptibility to demand implications of the psychological situation. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 6(1), 115–118.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  11. Mõttus, R., Allik, J., & Pullmann, H. (2007). Does personality vary across ability levels? A study using self and other ratings. Journal of Research in Personality, 41(1), 155–170.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Rammstedt, B., & Farmer, R. F. (2013). The impact of acquiescence on the evaluation of personality structure. Psychological Assessment, 25(4), 1137–1145.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  13. Rammstedt, B., Goldberg, L. R., & Borg, I. (2010). The measurement equivalence of Big Five factor markers for persons with different levels of education. Journal of Research in Personality, 44(1), 53–61.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  14. Rammstedt, B., & Kemper, C. (2011). Measurement equivalence of the Big Five: Shedding further light on potential causes of the educational bias. Journal of Research in Personality, 45(3), 121–125. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jrp.2010.11.006.Google Scholar
  15. Rammstedt, B., Kemper, C. J., & Borg, I. (2013). Correcting Big Five personality measurements for acquiescence: An 18-country cross-cultural study. European Journal of Personality, 27(1), 71–81.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Rammstedt, B., Danner, D., & Bosnjak, M. (2017). Acquiescence response styles: A multilevel model explaining individual-level and country-level differences. Personality and Individual Differences, 107, 190–194. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.paid.2016.11.038.Google Scholar
  17. Soto, C. J., John, O. P., Gosling, S. D., & Potter, J. (2008). The developmental psychometrics of Big Five self-reports: Acquiescence, factor structure, coherence, and differentiation from ages 10 to 20. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 94(4), 718–737.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  18. Trott, D. M., & Jackson, D. N. (1967). An experimental analysis of acquiescence. Journal of Experimental Research in Personality, 2(4), 278–288.Google Scholar
  19. Van Vlimmeren, E., Moors, G., & Gelissen, J. (2015). Developing a diagnostic tool for detecting response styles, and a demonstration of its use in comparative research of single item measurements. ESRA 2015: 6th Conference of the European Survey Research Association, Reykjavik.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.GESIS – Leibniz-Institute for the Social SciencesMannheimGermany

Section editors and affiliations

  • Matthias Ziegler
    • 1
  1. 1.Humboldt University, GermanyBerlinGermany