Date of Award

Spring 2016

Project Type


Program or Major


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

First Advisor

John D Mayer

Second Advisor

Rebecca M Warner

Third Advisor

David B Pillemer


Intelligence is an important ability that we use in our everyday lives to understand people, such as choosing the best partner to work with on a project. Personal intelligence is the ability to “reason about personality and its processes, as applied to one’s self and others” (Mayer, Panter & Caruso, 2012). The Test of Personal Intelligence (TOPI) was developed to test this important ability. If the TOPI measures people’s ability to understand their own and other’s personality, as personal intelligence increases so should a person’s level of self-potential. This idea was tested in two studies by conducting correlations between the TOPI and measures of self-potential, defined as the creative process of making sense of our experience, finding direction and purpose in life, and making goals and plans based on life purpose. The model of self-potential employed here includes such concepts as identifying your true self (Schlegel & Hicks, 2011) and being creative (Maslow, 2011). Although no stable model was found, there was some evidence for two factors of "meaning" and "renewal." Progress also was made in the development of unifactorial scales for the self-actualization and preconscious activity scales. Some of the measures of self-potential, such as self-actualization, were correlated with the TOPI, but not all were. The TOPI was not related to words used in an essay that predict self-potential from everyday trauma.