Social desirability bias


Social desirability bias

Social desirability bias is a term used in scientific research to describe the tendency of respondents to reply in a manner that will be viewed favorably by others. This will generally take the form of overreporting "good" behavior or underreporting "bad" behavior.The effect is common within the fields of medicine, psychology and the social sciences.

A hypothetical example of social desirability bias would be a study of sexual behavior. When confronted with the question "Do you masturbate? If so, how often?", a respondent may be influenced by the societal taboo of masturbation, and either lie (falsely claiming not to masturbate) or downright refuse to answer the question.

Some areas that are sensitive to participants' interpretations of social desirability:

*Sexual behavior and fantasies
*Personal income and earnings
*Feelings of self-worth and/or powerlessness
*Excretory functions
*Compliance with medicinal dosing schedules
*Religion
*Patriotism
*Bigotry and intolerance
*Intellectual achievements
*Physical symptomatology
*Acts of real or imagined physical violence
*Indicators of "kindness" or "benevolence"
*Illegal acts

When social desirability cannot be guarded against in research, often the researcher will resort to a scale that measures socially desirable responding, with the assumption that if a participant answers in a socially desirable manner on that scale, they are in all likelihood answering similarly throughout the study. One example of a test that measures socially-desirable responding is the Marlowe-Crowne Social Desirability Scale (MCSDS) [Crowne, D. P., & Marlowe, D. (1960). A new scale of social desirability independent of psychopathology. Journal of Consulting Psychology, 24, 349-354] . Depending upon the goals of the research, respondents that engage in significant amounts of socially-desirable responding are discarded from statistical consideration; mid-range scorers on a scale of socially-desirable responding may or may not be included in statistical consideration at the researcher's discretion, or their answers may be recalibrated commensurate with their perceived degree of skew, depending upon the measures involved, the goals of the study, and the robustness of the measures used. However, a major problem with such scales is that individuals actually differ in the degree to which they are socially desirable (e.g., nuns versus criminals) and measures of social desirability confound true differences with social-desirability bias.

References

ee also

*Bradley effect
*Honesty
*Observer effect
*Social research


Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Bias — This article is about different ways the term bias is used . For other uses, see Bias (disambiguation). Bias is an inclination to present or hold a partial perspective at the expense of (possibly equally valid) alternatives. Bias can come in many …   Wikipedia

  • Social proof — Social proof, also known as informational social influence, is a psychological phenomenon that occurs in ambiguous social situations when people are unable to determine the appropriate mode of behavior. Making the assumption that surrounding… …   Wikipedia

  • Social role valorization — In psychology and social work practice, Social Role Valorization (SRV) is the name given to an analysis of human relationships and human services, formulated in 1983 by Wolf Wolfensberger, PhD, as the successor to his earlier formulation of the… …   Wikipedia

  • Response bias — is a type of cognitive bias which can affect the results of a statistical survey if respondents answer questions in the way they think the questioner wants them to answer rather than according to their true beliefs. This may occur if the… …   Wikipedia

  • Acquiescence bias — is a category of response bias in which respondents to a survey have a tendency to agree with all the questions or to indicate a positive connotation.ee also*Likert scale *Social desirability biasExternal links* [http://business.nmsu.edu/… …   Wikipedia

  • Confirmation bias — (also called confirmatory bias or myside bias) is a tendency for people to favor information that confirms their preconceptions or hypotheses regardless of whether the information is true.[Note 1][1] As a result, people gather evidence and recall …   Wikipedia

  • Cognitive bias — For an article about the conceptual problems of the mind see Cognitive closure (philosophy). Psychology …   Wikipedia

  • Optimism bias — is the demonstrated systematic tendency for people to be overly optimistic about the outcome of planned actions. This includes over estimating the likelihood of positive events and under estimating the likelihood of negative events. Along with… …   Wikipedia

  • Bradley effect — Tom Bradley speaking at AIDS Walk LA at the Paramount Studios lot in 1988 The Bradley effect, less commonly called the Wilder effect,[1][2] is a theory proposed to explain observed discrepancies between voter opinion polls and el …   Wikipedia

  • Mode effect — is a broad term referring to a phenomenon where a particular survey administration mode causes different data to be collected. For example, when asking a question using two different modes (e.g. paper and telephone), responses to one mode may be… …   Wikipedia