Control Questions

Facebook checked their survey for validity and bias with instructions before the last question. Participants were told to check the “no answer” option from among six choices asking about the length of the survey and to write “I read instructions” in the “any other comments” box. I make an outlier comment: “I read the last instruction carefully but skimmed the earlier ones.” I am fascinated by psychological and lie detector tests. I assume “Have you ever lied?” must be answered “yes” or you identify yourself as a liar. If you actually never lied or even thought you never lied, an employer still does not want to hire you. The last medical form I submitted included back to back pages of yes/no questions. I crave checking “no” to bolster my superhuman fantasy, but my unfortunate kryptonite exposure requires a “yes” for rheumatic fever and skin cancers. In the “last year” section, I admitted to a four day melanoma excision but after checking “no” to all sorts of drugs, I was paralyzed by “aspirin.” I kept some handy just in case but never did ingest any, mostly because I do not understand when to take it versus Tylenol and ibuprofen. I was tempted to lie and say I took aspirin in case it was a control question but I resist lies under pressure. My lies are generally calculated after due deliberation. Like when I told my wife I was taking my medication after the excisions.


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