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ERIC Number: EJ884806
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2010-May
Pages: 21
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0033-2909
Evidence for Response Bias as a Source of Error Variance in Applied Assessment
McGrath, Robert E.; Mitchell, Matthew; Kim, Brian H.; Hough, Leaetta
Psychological Bulletin, v136 n3 p450-470 May 2010
After 100 years of discussion, response bias remains a controversial topic in psychological measurement. The use of bias indicators in applied assessment is predicated on the assumptions that (a) response bias suppresses or moderates the criterion-related validity of substantive psychological indicators and (b) bias indicators are capable of detecting the presence of response bias. To test these assumptions, we reviewed literature comprising investigations in which bias indicators were evaluated as suppressors or moderators of the validity of other indicators. This review yielded only 41 studies across the contexts of personality assessment, workplace variables, emotional disorders, eligibility for disability, and forensic populations. In the first two contexts, there were enough studies to conclude that support for the use of bias indicators was weak. Evidence suggesting that random or careless responding may represent a biasing influence was noted, but this conclusion was based on a small set of studies. Several possible causes for failure to support the overall hypothesis were suggested, including poor validity of bias indicators, the extreme base rate of bias, and the adequacy of the criteria. In the other settings, the yield was too small to afford viable conclusions. Although the absence of a consensus could be used to justify continued use of bias indicators in such settings, false positives have their costs, including wasted effort and adverse impact. Despite many years of research, a sufficient justification for the use of bias indicators in applied settings remains elusive. (Contains 6 footnotes, 5 tables, and 1 figure.)
American Psychological Association. Journals Department, 750 First Street NE, Washington, DC 20002-4242. Tel: 800-374-2721; Tel: 202-336-5510; Fax: 202-336-5502; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Information Analyses; Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A