Tobias Rettig, Annelies G. Blom, Jan Karem Höhne
Memory Effects: A Comparison Across Question Types

Survey Research Methods, 2023: 17, issue 1, pp. 37-50
ISSN: 1864-3361

A crucial assumption of survey measurements is that respondents carefully perceive, reflect upon, and provide an answer to a given question and that this process is independent of re- spondents’ memory of their responses to previous questions. A violation of this assumption may considerably affect parameter estimations. To shed light on such memory effects, we investigate the ability of respondents to remember their answers to three types of survey ques- tions (beliefs, attitudes, and behaviors) within one wave of a probability-based online panel survey. We find that respondents’ ability to correctly reproduce their answers after 20 minutes is overall high and differs across questions on beliefs, attitudes, and behaviors. Furthermore, respondents who gave extreme answers are more likely to correctly reproduce their response than respondents who gave non-extreme answers.