Despite the pervasive reliance on surveys in research, there is limited research regarding the potential ways in which responses to survey can be influenced by certain response styles. In this paper, we examined tendency to endorse the middle point of a scale: A Midpoint Endorsement Habitude (MEH). Using item-response tree modeling, we conducted 4 studies to examine and establish MEH as a trait-like construct. Specifically, we argue that MEH is not an artifact of measurement (i.e., merely a response style) but rather has substantive meaning: it is trait-like possessing qualities such as stable factor structure, temporal stability, and criterion validity. In so doing, we make three contributions: First, we show that MEH can be isolated across different measurement contexts and constructs. Regardless of the label used for the midpoint or the construct being measured, MEH emerges and explains a non-trivial amount of the variance in participants’ responses; Second, we explore the nomological network of MEH as it relates to the Big Five. We show that MEH is linked with low compassion, responsibility, respect, productivity, imagination, complex thinking, and aesthetic sensitivity, suggesting that MEH reflects an underlying lack of concern and motivation for proper effortful responding; Finally, we show that MEH tis trait-like in that it is an enduring characteristic of individuals across time and consistently links to outcomes such as workplace deviance behavior.
Sun, T., Zhang, B., Phan, W. M. J., Drasgow, F., & Roberts, B. (2019). “Meh!”: Examining Midpoint Endorsement Habitude (MEH) in Survey Research. Academy of Management Annual Meeting Proceedings, 2019(1), . https://doi.org/10.5465/AMBPP.2019.227