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Module 16. Response Biases

Whenever we administer a psychological test, we hope to obtain reliable individual differences on the measure. Without reliable individual differences, the measure is of little use to us in predicting our outcome of interest. Sometimes, however, we find few, if any, differences between test takers’ responses. Other times, we may have substantially more variability in responses than we would expect based on previous administrations of the same or similar tests to comparable participants. In either possible scenario, we would want to determine why we obtained such different results than we had expected. There are a variety of reasons the results may be different than anticipated. In this module, we will discuss possible response biases that may influence the variability in test scores and, ultimately, the reliability, validity, and utility of those test scores. In this module, we define response biases to be strategies and methods that test takers use that are unrelated to the construct of interest.