Stop Worrying about Multiple-Choice":" Fact Knowledge Does Not Change with Response Format

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Declarative fact knowledge is a key component of crystallized intelligence. It is typically measured with multiple-choice (MC) items. Other response formats, such as open-ended formats are less frequently used, although these formats might be superior for measuring crystallized intelligence. Whereas MC formats presumably only require recognizing the correct response to a question, openended formats supposedly require cognitive processes such as searching for, retrieving, and actively deciding on a response from long-term memory. If the methods of inquiry alter the cognitive processes involved, mean-changes between methods for assessing declarative knowledge should come along with changes in the covariance structure. We tested these assumptions in two online studies administering declarative knowledge items in different response formats (MC, open-ended, and open-ended with cues). Item difficulty clearly increases in the open-ended methods although effects in logistic regression models vary slightly across items. Importantly, latent variable analyses suggest that the method of inquiry does not affect what is measured with different response formats. These findings clearly endorse the position that crystallized intelligence does not change as a function of the response format.

In Journal of Intelligence

Links to all co-authors:

Oliver Wilhelm