The Relative Strength of Associations between Empathy and its Subcomponents, Machiavellianism, Emotional Intelligence and Emotion Perception/Theory of Mind.
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Allen, Jennifer K.
Overview: The current study measured correlations between empathy and its subcomponents, Machiavellianism, emotion perception/Theory of Mind (ToM) ability and Emotional Intelligence (EI). It investigated previously found gender differences in empathy, EI, ToM and Machiavellianism. The study also aimed to determine whether correlations using subcomponents of empathy could help clarify associations between these variables, and to investigate whether empathy is the strongest predictor of Eyes test performance. Method: The following tests were compiled into an on-line questionnaire: the Interpersonal Reactivity Index (IRI) and the Empathy Quotient (EQ) to measure empathy; the Mach IV to measure Machiavellianism; the 'Reading the Mind in the Eyes' test to measure ToM; the Trait EI Questionnaire-Short Form (TEIQue-SF) to measure EI. Results: Women scored higher on empathy, and men higher on Machiavellianism. No significant gender differences were found on EI or ToM. The results found a positive relationship between empathy, ToM and EI. Machiavellianism was negatively associated with EI, ToM and empathy, including its subcomponents. IRI total and (IRI)EC, and EQ total and EQ(CE) were found to be important in predicting Eyes test performance. The internal reliabilities of subcomponents of the IRI and EQ were low so factor analyses were performed to investigate factor structure. The results show strong support for three out of the four IRI subscales, but suggest that (IRI)EC needs further investigation. The results on the EQ suggest it may have a two, not three, factor structure, excluding a separate (EQ)SS subcomponent. Conclusions: Machiavellian individuals seem to be deficient in empathy, EI and ToM. Empathic individuals are globally better on both these measures, and empathy seems important in Eyes test ability. The factor structures of the IRI and EQ require further investigation.