Contextual cues as a source of response bias in personality questionnaires: The case of the NEO-FFI



Two experiments demonstrated the susceptibility of a standard personality inventory to response bias elicited by contextual cues. In Study 1, participants who completed the NEO-FFI in a simulated application for a job stereotypically associated with extraversion (a journalist) scored higher on the extraversion scale than those who completed it under standard instructions. The increase occurred in response to the job label ‘journalist’ and in response to a job description stressing extraversion-related qualities. In Study 2, a priming procedure was used to elicit cognitive response distortions. Participants exposed to an extraverted stimulus person scored higher on extraversion than participants completing the NEO-FFI under standard instructions. No effects were found on the remaining scales of the NEO-FFI. Copyright © 2008 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.