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Personality and survey satisficing

Sturgis, Patrick ORCID: 0000-0003-1180-3493 and Brunton-Smith, Ian (2023) Personality and survey satisficing. Public Opinion Quarterly, 87 (3). 689 - 718. ISSN 0033-362X

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Identification Number: 10.1093/poq/nfad036


In this paper, we consider the role of personality as a component of motivation in promoting or inhibiting the tendency to exhibit the satisficing response-styles of mid-point, straightlining, and Don’t Know responding. We assess whether respondents who are low on the Conscientiousness and Agreeableness dimensions of the Big Five personality inventory are more likely to exhibit these satisficing response styles. We find large effects of these personality dimensions on the propensity to satisfice in both face-to-face and self-administration modes and in probability and non-probability samples. People who score high on Conscientiousness and Agreeableness were less likely to be in the top decile of straightlining and mid-point distributions. The findings for Don’t Know responding were weaker and only significant for Conscientiousness in the non-probability sample. We also find large effects across all satisficing indicators for a direct measure of cognitive ability, where existing studies have mostly relied on proxy measures of ability such as educational attainment. Sensitivity analysis suggests the personality effects are likely to be causal in nature.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2023 The Author(s)
Divisions: Methodology
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Date Deposited: 06 Mar 2023 10:00
Last Modified: 16 Jun 2024 19:42

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