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ERIC Number: EJ952985
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2011-Nov
Pages: 6
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 30
ISSN: ISSN-0012-1649
Does Mentioning "Some People" and "Other People" in a Survey Question Increase the Accuracy of Adolescents' Self-Reports?
Yeager, David Scott; Krosnick, Jon A.
Developmental Psychology, v47 n6 p1674-1679 Nov 2011
A great deal of developmental research has relied on self-reports solicited using the "some/other" question format (""Some students" think that...but "other students" think that..."). This article reports tests of the assumptions underlying its use: that it conveys to adolescents that socially undesirable attitudes, beliefs, or behaviors are not uncommon and legitimizes reporting them, yielding more valid self-reports than would be obtained by "direct" questions, which do not mention what other people think or do. A meta-analysis of 11 experiments embedded in four surveys of diverse samples of adolescents did not support the assumption that the some/other form increases validity. Although the some/other form led adolescents to think that undesirable attitudes, beliefs, or behaviors were more common and resulted in more reports of those attitudes and behaviors, answers to some/other questions were lower in criterion validity than were answers to direct questions. Because some/other questions take longer to ask and answer and require greater cognitive effort from participants (because they involve more words), and because they decrease measurement accuracy, the some/other question format seems best avoided. (Contains 2 footnotes.)
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: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education; Grade 10; Grade 9; High Schools; Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: California; New York