Affective and cognitive effects on response time to a computer-administered version of the Eysenck Personality Questionnaire

Jean Marie Mulloy-Steinborn, Fordham University


Recent research has found a relationship between the evocativeness or emotional arousability of an inventory item and the response time (RT) to it. Similar to its use in projective techniques, an increased RT was related to more evocative content. With the advent of personal computers, the application of RT as a measure in conjunction with inventory items is readily accessible. A relationship has also been demonstrated between the answer chosen and RT. A yes response has been found to be more quickly made than a no response and has been inferred to signify a longer search of memory. Another line of research by Holden et. al. (1992) has found that RT correlated with scale score such that RT to items which increase scale score (onkey) correlated positively with scale score while RT to items which did not effect scale score (offkey) correlated negatively with scale scores. The current study also considered the reliability of RT as a measure. Subjects were administered the 90 items of the EPQ via a personal computer and asked to rate them for evocativeness. Item length was controlled by dividing the RT by the number of characters in the stimulus statement. Reliability of the measure was an important factor in making this determination. Possible methods to control for item length are discussed. Evocativeness was found to correlate with RT. For the Extraversion (E-scale) of the EPQ it was found in the predicted direction for the Lie scale (L-scale) a negative correlation was found. Yes responses were made more quickly than no responses for the E-scale Neuroticism scale (N-scale) and L-scale. No relationship was found between scale scores and answer chosen. Only N-scale demonstrated the mean differences between onkey and offkey responses predicted. P-scale did yield significant mean RT differences however onkey items were longer than offkey responses. No significant correlations between scale score and onkey or offkey RT was found. The number of items rated as evocative correlated positively with score on the N-scale. Content of the scale emerged as an important third variable and predictions regarding personality function and differential influence of evocativeness and self-schema were not supported.

Subject Area


Recommended Citation

Mulloy-Steinborn, Jean Marie, "Affective and cognitive effects on response time to a computer-administered version of the Eysenck Personality Questionnaire" (1994). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI9416674.