The range of response alternatives may determine the meaning of the question: Further evidence on informative functions of response alternatives

Investigated the role of response alternatives in the respondent's interpretation of the question. 85 adults were asked to report how often they felt really annoyed. Response scales ranged either from less than once a year to more than once every 3 mo or from less than twice a week to several times a day. Ss who used the 1st scale subsequently reported more extreme examples of annoying situations than Ss who used the 2nd one. Results suggest that the range of response alternatives induced Ss to consider different behavioral instances to be the target of the question. Moreover, the different behavioral instances activated by the response scales influenced Ss' interpretation of a related situation, even when an explicit report of an example was not required. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2007 APA, all rights reserved)