14-06-2021 | Original Article
An evaluation of the reading the mind in the eyes test's psychometric properties and scores in South Africa—cultural implications
Gepubliceerd in: Psychological Research | Uitgave 7/2022Log in om toegang te krijgen
The ‘Reading the Mind in the Eyes’ test (RMET) has been translated and tested in many cultural settings. Results indicate that items show variability in meeting the original psychometric testing criteria. Individuals from non-Western cultures score differently on the RMET. As such, questions arise as to the cross-cultural validity of the RMET. This study tested the English version of the RMET, that consists almost exclusively of White faces, at a large South African university to determine its validity in a culturally diverse context. A total of 443 students from a range of different demographic backgrounds completed the instrument. Students were selected using simple random sampling. 30 out of the 36 items continued to show satisfactory psychometric properties. Further evidence shows significant differences based on race and home language in both overall scores and item level scores. Black race and African home language respondents show lower RMET scores and different item level perspectives on certain mental states. The current RMET is not inclusive. It requires stimuli reflecting more races and cultures. This lack of diversity is likely to be influencing and biasing results and psychometric properties. The continued exclusion of racial stimuli such as Black race is also promoting a systemic discriminatory instrument. These results have cultural implications for how we interpret and use the RMET.