Home > Publications . Search All . Browse All . Country . Browse PSC Pubs . PSC Report Series

PSC In The News

RSS Feed icon

Do universities need more conservative thinkers?

Geronimus says black-white differences in mortality "help silence black voices in the electorate"

Starr critical of risk assessment scores for sentencing

Highlights

Presentation on multilevel modeling using Stata, July 26th, noon, 6050 ISR

Frey's new report explores how the changing US electorate could shape the next 5 presidential elections, 2016 to 2032

U-M's Data Science Initiative offers expanded consulting services via CSCAR

Elizabeth Bruch promoted to Associate Professor

Next Brown Bag

PSC Brown Bags
will resume fall 2016

Can Verbal Instructions Counteract Visual Context Effects in Web Surveys?

Publication Abstract

Toepoel, Vera, and Mick P. Couper. 2011. "Can Verbal Instructions Counteract Visual Context Effects in Web Surveys?" Public Opinion Quarterly, 75(1): 1-18.

Pictures used to supplement survey questions can systematically influence the answers obtained. Respondents react to the content of the image, giving higher-frequency reports when pictures of high-frequency events are shown and lower-frequency reports when pictures of low-frequency events are shown. The effects of pictures on responses are similar to those of verbal instructions (i.e., they produce an assimilation effect). Our results show that verbal and visual language both have independent effects as well as interact with each other. Verbal instructions have stronger effects than the visual effects produced by pictures, however, and can be used to counteract the visual context effects. We find that respondents pay more attention to verbal instruction when the verbal and visual cues are inconsistent with each other. This article provides evidence for a hierarchy of features that respondents attend to, with verbal language taking precedence over visual cues like pictures. Effective question writing, with verbal instructions making the question clear to respondents, reduces visual context effects. We found little evidence that conditions with pictures were evaluated better than conditions without pictures.

DOI:10.1093/poq/nfq044 (Full Text)

Country of focus: Netherlands.

Browse | Search : All Pubs | Next