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The links between intelligence, personality, and theory of mind in an adult sample

Alexander Svenson and Pablo Guillen

No 2020-10, Working Papers from University of Sydney, School of Economics

Abstract: The Reading the Mind in the Eyes Test (RMET; Baron-Cohen, Jolliffe, Mortimore, & Robertson, 1997; Baron-Cohen, Wheelwright, Hill, Raste, & Plumb, 2001) is a commonly used test of theory of mind (ToM). Our aim was to explore intelligence and personality variables that may predict performance on the RMET. Towards this aim, 402 Australian university students were recruited for laboratory sessions where the RMET was administered along with measures of verbal and non-verbal intelligence, and measures of the Five Factor Model of personality (FFM) or Big Five. The perspective that the processes underlying RMET performance are fully implicit, and independent of other abilities or traits, was not supported by our findings. Instead, linear regression models (evaluated at a 5% significance level or lower) revealed that RMET scores were predicted by verbal reasoning ability, particularly vocabulary subtests. Moreover, the Extraversion and Conscientiousness factors had quadratic relationships with RMET scores; Agreeableness, Emotional stability, and Openness factors were positively associated with RMET scores; and Self-monitoring was negatively associated with RMET scores. Our results help address inconsistencies in the literature to date by highlighting the intertwined nature of social cognition with verbal intelligence and personality.

Keywords: theory of mind; intelligence; personality (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2020-09
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-cbe, nep-exp and nep-neu
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