If you’re likely to trash that survey instead of filling it out, genetics may be partly to blame.
Based on a survey of sets of twins, NC State’s Dr. Lori Foster Thompson says that some people appear to be genetically predisposed to ignore survey requests.
After surveying more than 1,000 identical and fraternal twins, researchers found some intriguing evidence. If one identical twin responded, the other was likely to as well. But that didn’t hold true for fraternal twins.
Because the sets of twins were raised in the same households, the distinguishing variable is that identical twins are genetically identical while fraternal twins are not.
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Surveys are a staple of social science and the business world. Understanding who’s likely to respond can help managers and organizational researchers find ways to get the representative data needed to draw accurate conclusions.
“A lot of research has been done to evaluate how surveys can be written or presented to encourage participation,” Foster Thompson says. “Much less work has been done to evaluate the personal characteristics of potential respondents—and the role those characteristics play in determining whether someone will actually fill a survey out.”
Foster Thompson, a psychology professor, carried out the study with colleagues at Arizona State University and the National University of Singapore. The research will be published in an upcoming issue of the Journal of Organizational Behavior.