This paper presents a systematic investigation of how affirmative and polar-opposite items presented either jointly or separately affect yea-saying tendencies. We measure these yea-saying tendencies with item response models that estimate a respondent’s tendency to give a “yea”-response that may be unrelated to the target trait. In a re-analysis of the Zhang et al. (PLoS ONE, 11:1–15, 2016) data, we find that yea-saying tendencies depend on whether items are presented as part of a scale that contains affirmative and/or polar-opposite items. Yea-saying tendencies are stronger for affirmative than for polar-opposite items. Moreover, presenting polar-opposite items together with affirmative items creates lower yea-saying tendencies for polar-opposite items than when presented in isolation. IRT models that do not account for these yea-saying effects arrive at a two-dimensional representation of the target trait. These findings demonstrate that the contextual information provided by an item scale can serve as a determinant of differential item functioning.
- ability-based guessing model
- affirmative and polar-opposite items
- differential item functioning
- response styles
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Applied Mathematics