Sunday, December 09, 2012

Some interesting findings from a study of the RMET from earlier this year

"The central finding of our study was that performance on the Eyes Test correlated to a surprising degree with verbal IQ and not with a more basic measure of face processing. We believe this finding has practical importance for considering the value of the Eyes Test as an instrument for studying individual differences in social cognition among adults. Further, we believe our results raise a question about the degree to which performance differences in this instrument reflect a relatively implicit mechanism."

"Considering the lack of any relationship between the Eyes Test and the CFMT in our sample, it is reasonable to question the lack of an explicit social emotional judgment in the CFMT as compared to the Eyes Test. However, given the profound social significance of the human face, even a very basic face-processing task could be expected to relate to broader social cognition."

The "Eyes Test" mentioned here is the Reading the Mind in the Eyes Test developed by Baron-Cohen and team, and the "CFMT" is the "gold standard" in visual face memory testing developed by prosopagnosia researchers Duchaine and Nakayama. 

So, it helps to have a good vocabulary to be able to correctly identify the many obscure and minor emotions depicted and named in the RMET, and interpreting facial expressions and recognizing faces from memory are two entirely different cognitive skills. The RMET is a vocabulary test which an inarticulate person might be expected to have a disadvantage in performing, and performance in the RMET has apparently no relation to performance in a purely visual test of face perception. Who would have thought? 

Source of quotes:

Eric Peterson and Stephanie F. Miller
The Eyes Test as a Measure of Individual Differences: How much of the Variance Reflects Verbal IQ?
Frontiers in Psychology. 2012; 3: 220.
Published online 2012 July 5. Prepublished online 2012 April 27.doi:  10.3389/fpsyg.2012.00220 PMCID: PMC3389807

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