Personality item difficulty and acquiescence
AbstractThis study deals with relations between acquiescence and 3 measures of personality item difficulty: controversiality, response latency, and confidence in accuracy of answer. Median ratings of confidence in answers to 110 MMPI items correlated -.62 with a measure of item controversiality, confirming the hypothesis that controversial items tend to be difficult to answer. Low-confidence items elicited acquiescence. In a 2nd sample of Ss, items low in confidence took longer to answer than contrasting high-confidence items. The low-confidence long-latency items were affected by acquiescence; the others were not. Results show that acquiescence occurs with difficult rather than easy inventory material. Response latency and subjective confidence seem logically superior to controversiality as measures of item difficulty.