When it comes to reading of minds, women are now known to be better than men are, according to a recent study by the universities of Bath, Cardiff and London. The Psychologists concluded this through a unique “mind reading questionnaire’.
They analysed data from more than 4,000 autistic and non-autistic people in the United States and the United Kingdom. Mind-reading also referred as ‘mentalising’ in psychology is an ability enabling people to pick-up on subtle behavioural cues that indicate that someone one is speaking to is thinking something that they are not saying.
The researchers developed a four-step questionnaire, ranging from four to 16. Four indicated poor mind-reading abilities and 16 the highest level. In the study, 2,900 people completed the questionnaire. They had an average score between 12 and 13. They also found that women reported better scores than men. On an average when men scored 12.1 women scored 12.6. journal Psychological Assessment published the findings.
mind reading was about what others think
Senior author Dr. Punit Shah from the University of Bath’s Department of Psychology noted that almost everyone might have experienced that they had connected with other people as they talk. The communication relies on the understanding of what others are thinking and this is a surprisingly complex process, he said. Shah said that mind reading and empathy should be seen as separate identities if this psychological process was to understand. He mentioned that mind reading was about what others think and empathy was about what others feel. Though the difference between the two might seem subtle, it is critically important and they involve different brain networks.
The researchers noted that people have different mind-reading abilities. This could be a challenge, especially for people with autism. The researchers said that the new tests have much importance in clinical settings.