PQA - Measuing the personal qualities and abilities of aspiring health professionals

Presentation at Seventh Australian Conference on Personality and Individual Differences,

27-29 November 2008, Bond University, Gold Coast, Queensland

Munro D, Bore M, Powis D

Cross-cultural differences in extreme and acquiescent response styles.

Two recent issues of [the journal] Personality and Individual Differences have drawn attention to differences in response styles, in particular between 'East Asian' and 'European' respondents. Hamamura et al. (March 2008) hypothesised that this is due to 'the East-Asian tendency to dialectical thinking,' or tolerance of contradictory beliefs, while Meisenberg & Williams (May 2008) suggested age, IQ, education and socioeconomic and political factors, operating across 80 countries in 10 regions. Both found convincing support for their propositions, using very different methodologies. In this study, data from 3560 respondents in three European and three East Asian countries on the authors' Mojac (moral orientation) and NACE (personality) tests were analysed. The results provide clear confirmation of the differences in response style, but several problems remain in interpreting and explaining them, due to the complexity of the interactions between item characteristics and national and gender effects. Implications for inter-cultural comparisons and the equivalence of scores will be discussed.