Recalling Events: Examples As Cues in Behavioral Questions

Carolyn Simmons, University of Virginia
Joan Phillips, University of Notre Dame
Barbara Bickart, Rutgers-Camden
ABSTRACT - We examine how examples in survey questions affect recall of events. Building on the part-set cuing literature, we propose that examples increase recall when they cue low-accessibility subcategories of events, but decrease recall when they cue high-accessibility subcategories. Further, cuing with examples rather than subcategory names may in some situations clarify questions and reduce non-useable open-ended responses. A pilot study piggy-backed on a survey of Medicaid recipients confirms many of our predictions. Future work will incorporate validation measures (precluded by our piggy-backed pilot), including pretests of subcategory accessibility and objective measures of recall accuracy.
[ to cite ]:
Carolyn Simmons, Joan Phillips, and Barbara Bickart (2001) ,"Recalling Events: Examples As Cues in Behavioral Questions", in NA - Advances in Consumer Research Volume 28, eds. Mary C. Gilly and Joan Meyers-Levy, Valdosta, GA : Association for Consumer Research, Pages: 438.

Advances in Consumer Research Volume 28, 2001     Page 438

RECALLING EVENTS: EXAMPLES AS CUES IN BEHAVIORAL QUESTIONS

Carolyn Simmons, University of Virginia

Joan Phillips, University of Notre Dame

Barbara Bickart, Rutgers-Camden

ABSTRACT -

We examine how examples in survey questions affect recall of events. Building on the part-set cuing literature, we propose that examples increase recall when they cue low-accessibility subcategories of events, but decrease recall when they cue high-accessibility subcategories. Further, cuing with examples rather than subcategory names may in some situations clarify questions and reduce non-useable open-ended responses. A pilot study piggy-backed on a survey of Medicaid recipients confirms many of our predictions. Future work will incorporate validation measures (precluded by our piggy-backed pilot), including pretests of subcategory accessibility and objective measures of recall accuracy.

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