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Agreeableness is related to social-cognitive, but not social-perceptual, theory of mind

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Daniel Nettle, Beth Liddle


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We hypothesise on a number of grounds that the personality dimension of Agreeableness may be associated with inter-individual differences in theory of mind (ToM) functioning. However, it is important to distinguish social-perceptual from social-cognitive ToM. Previous findings on ToM in psychopathic individuals, sex differences in ToM and the associations between ToM and social relationships, all suggest that social-cognitive ToM is more likely than social-perceptual ToM to relate to Agreeableness. In separate empirical studies, we find that Agreeableness is substantially correlated with social-cognitive ToM performance, but uncorrelated with social-perceptual ToM performance. We suggest that the propensity or motivation to attend to the mental states of others may be central to the personality dimension of Agreeableness. Copyright © 2008 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Nettle D, Liddle B

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: European Journal of Personality

Year: 2008

Volume: 22

Issue: 4

Pages: 323-335

ISSN (print): 0890-2070

ISSN (electronic): 1099-0984

Publisher: John Wiley & Sons Ltd.


DOI: 10.1002/per.672


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