The "Reading the Mind in the Eyes" test: systematic review of psychometric properties and a validation study in Italy

Cogn Neuropsychiatry. 2013 Jul;18(4):326-54. doi: 10.1080/13546805.2012.721728. Epub 2012 Oct 30.


Introduction: The "Reading the Mind in the Eyes" test (henceforth, Eyes test) is a simple but advanced Theory of Mind test, and it is widely used across different cultures. This study assessed the reliability and construct (convergent and discriminant) validity of the Eyes test in Italy.

Methods: A sample of 18- to 32-year-old undergraduate students of both sexes (N=200, males=46%) were invited to fill in the Italian version of the Eyes test, the Empathy Quotient (EQ), the Toronto Alexithymia Scale (TAS), and the Marlowe-Crowne Social Desirability Scale (SDS).

Results: Internal consistency (Cronbach's alpha) was .605. Confirmatory factor analysis provided evidence for a unidimensional model, with maximal weighted internal consistency reliability=.719. Test-retest reliability for the Eyes test, as measured by intraclass correlation coefficient, was .833 (95% confidence interval=.745 to .902). Females scored significantly higher than males on both the Eyes test and the EQ, replicating earlier work. Those participants who scored lower than 30 on the EQ (n=10) also scored lower on the Eyes test than those who did not (p<.05). Eyes test scores were not related to social desirability.

Conclusions: This study confirms the validity of the Eyes test. Both internal consistency and test-retest stability were good for the Italian version of the Eyes test.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Systematic Review
  • Validation Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Affective Symptoms / psychology
  • Data Interpretation, Statistical
  • Empathy / physiology
  • Eye*
  • Factor Analysis, Statistical
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • Psychometrics
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Sample Size
  • Social Desirability
  • Theory of Mind / physiology*
  • Young Adult