The ‘Reading the mind in the Eyes’ test and emotional intelligence
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AuthorMegías Robles, Alberto; Gutiérrez Cobo, María José; Cabello, Rosario; Gómez Leal, Raquel; Baron Cohen, Simon; Fernández Berrocal, Pablo
Theory of mindEyes TestEmotional intelligenceMSCEIT
Megías-Robles A, Gutiérrez- Cobo MJ, Cabello R, Gómez-Leal R, Baron-Cohen S, Fernández-Berrocal P. 2020 The ‘Reading the mind in the Eyes’ test and emotional intelligence. R. Soc. Open Sci. 7: 201305. [http://dx.doi.org/10.1098/rsos.201305]
SponsorshipSpanish Ministry of Economy, Industry and Competitiveness PSI2017-84170-R; Junta de Andalucía UMA18-FEDERJA-137 UMA18FEDERJA-114; German Research Foundation (DFG) FPU15/05179; Autism Research Trust; Wellcome Trust; Templeton World Charitable Foundation; NIHR Biomedical Research Centre in Cambridge; Innovative Medicines Initiative 2 Joint Undertaking (JU) 777394; European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme; EFPIA; AUTISM SPEAKS, Autistica, SFARI; Innovation and Development Agency of Andalusia SEJ-07325
The ‘Reading the Mind in the Eyes’ test (Eyes Test) has been widely used to measure theory of mind (ToM) or the ability to recognize the thoughts and feelings of others. Although previous studies have analysed its relationship with the ability to perceive emotions, the potential links with more complex emotional abilities remain unclear. The aim of the present research was to analyse the relationship between the Eyes Test and each of the emotional intelligence (EI) branches: perceiving, facilitating, understanding and managing emotions. In addition, we were interested in studying these relationships as a function of the Eyes Test difficulty. Eight hundred and seventy-four participants completed the Eyes Test and the Mayer–Salovey–Caruso Emotional Intelligence Test. A stepwise multiple regression analysis for the total score on the Eyes Test revealed that the best fitting model included the understanding, perceiving and managing emotion branches, with the understanding branch being the one most strongly associated with performance on the Eyes Test. Interestingly, stepwise multiple regression analysis for the easiest items of the Eyes Test revealed the same predictors, but, in the case of the most difficult items only the understanding branch was a predictor. These outcomes were not moderated by the influence of gender. Our findings support the notion that the Eyes Test can be used as a ToM task and that it is associated with complex EI abilities. Limitations and future lines of investigation are discussed.