Responses to nonsensical attention checks

Have others noticed that participants responding to nonsensical attention checks always seem to select the correct but non-extreme response (e.g., disagree instead of strongly disagree)? The attention checks are literal impossibilities like “…28 hours in a day…” or “…14 months in a year…” Participants get credit either way, but I’m just curious if there is a reason participants would intentionally select the non-extreme response to items like that, and if other researchers have noticed this pattern.

I have had that.

I have also had comments showing that participants don’t understand, think it is a typo, or metaphorical. They are generally whizzing along and are not all that accustomed so they think there is some meaning in it.

Perhaps “Do you commute to Mars /across the Atlantic for 14 months a year?” may be interpreted as meaning perhaps, “Do you have a really harsh commute every day?” and if they have a commute, then they’ll disagree but not strongly disagree.


1 Like