Cross-cultural differences in intercultural mindreading: Evidence from a sample of Palestinian, Italian, and German adolescents

Hünefeldt, Thomas
Hussein, Ola
Belardinelli, Marta Olivetti
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John Wiley & Sons Australia, Ltd
Despite the fact that the “Reading the Mind in the Eyes” Test (RMET) is now available in more than 20 languages, there are only very few cross-cultural researchers using this test, and these researchers generally focus on North American versus East Asian cultures. Considering that the RMET stimuli were selected and constructed in the United Kingdom, this research explored cross-cultural differences in intercultural mindreading with a large sample of adolescents from Palestine (PAL), Italy (ITA), and Germany (GER). In addition to significant main effects of age (younger < older) and gender (male < female), we found a significant main effect of country (PAL < ITA < GER) and a significant interaction between gender and country. Individualism was not related to mindreading in any of the three countries whereas collectivism was positively related in PAL, but not in ITA or GER, accounting only for a very small amount of the variance. Our results suggest that (a) there may be cultural ingroup effects on mindreading, (b) the known female superiority in mindreading may be moderated by cultural factors, and (c) depending on cultural factors, individualism and collectivism may be differently related to mindreading.
age differences , collectivism , cultural differences , gender differences , individualism , theory of mind