Article of the year award 2020: Intelligence increases ability-based empathy

Nordic Mensa Fund granted four “Article of the year awards” in 2020.

The articles rewarded range from demographics to psychiatry, from psychology to education. They show the wide range of intelligence research. We now want to tell you a little more about each of the four recipients, in random order. This is number 4 out of 4.

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Petri Kajonius was awarded for his article: Individuals with dark traits have the ability but not the disposition to empathize published in the journal Personality and Individual Differences

The article from the area of psychology studied the background factors in persons with lower empathy, called Dark Triad personalities. The study reported a strong negative relationship with Dark Triad and lack of disposition, called trait-based empathy. Dark Triad did not correlate with ability-based empathy, which means the capacity to recognize what others feel. This indicated that Dark Triad personalities are able to recognize the feelings of others, but have low inclination to empathize. Interestingly, ability-based empathy correlated positively with cognitive abilities. The best predictor among individual traits for emotional-ability intelligence (EQ) was analytical intelligence (IQ). Results such as this helps to dispel the myth that high-IQ individuals would be weaker in recognizing emotions.

Petri Kajonius is a Docent and staff member at the Division of Psychology, Pedagogy and Sociology at Högskolan Väst, Sweden, and at Lund University, Sweden. He had his PhD in Psychology in 2015. His research mostly focuses on individual psychological differences such as personality traits, intelligence and well-being. In 2020, he also published a book in Swedish on the scientific approach to the Big Five-model, Vem är du?