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Survey: Contrast Questions

The order in which questions are presented in a survey may influence respondent answers. Former questions may prime—or draw a respondent’s attention to—certain information or attitudes, which the respondent may then think about when answering subsequent questions. These contrast questions may cause contrast or assimilation effects, in which respondents answer a second question more or less favorably because they were primed by the information in a previous question. For example, asking individuals to first rate their disapproval with the current president of the United States, and then rate their disapproval with how the country is run overall causes participants in this group to report greater disapproval with how the country is run than participants who were asked the same questions in the opposite order. Having ...

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