UNH Personality Lab

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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.


Personal intelligence concerns the ability to understand personality in oneself and others—including the understanding of motives, socioemotional traits, and abilities. We examined if people’s scores on the ability-based Test of Personal Intelligence (TOPI) would be reflected in their narratives about someone whose personality they had learned about. In a Preliminary Study (N = 220), we collected narratives and open-ended descriptions about their learning. In Study 1 (N = 212), experts rated the respondents’ open-ended narratives for their sophistication about personality, defined as their knowledge and complexity of thought around the topic. Respondents also filled out checklists concerning what they learned and their relationship outcomes. Study 2 (N = 299) was a replication and extension in which we added the TOPI. Participants who scored higher on the TOPI produced narratives higher in Sophistication, even after statistical controls for Word Count and Vocabulary (the measures also were largely independent of the Big Five). The findings here may have applications for both testing and training.

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Journal of Intelligence

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© 2022 by the authors.


This is an Open Access article published by MDPI in Journal of Intelligence in 2022, available online: