Relationships Between E-S Theory, Theory of Mind, Ability Tilt, and College Major Preference Controlling for General Intelligence

Date
2018
Authors
Elpers, Karrie
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Abstract

The present study sought to understand the relationships between college major preferences and four measures of cognition that are weakly related to general intelligence (g): (1) E-S tilt, the within-subject difference in empathizing (E) strategies which identify, predict, and respond to mental states and systemizing (S) strategies which analyze a system using set rules; (2) ability tilt, the within-subject difference in SAT/ACT math and verbal scores; (3) theory of mind (ToM), the ability to attribute independent mental states and processes to another person; and (4) college major preference for STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) or humanities. Analyses controlled for a measure of g, the International Cognitive Ability Resource (ICAR). We predicted that S tilt, math tilt, and STEM majors would be related based on the assumption that these tap rule-based processes. We also predicted that E tilt, verbal tilt, ToM, and humanities majors would be related based on the assumption that these tap empathy and non-rule-based processes. We also examined whether ability tilt mediated the relationship between E-S tilt and college major preference. Consistent with prior research, E-S tilt and ability tilt correlated with college major preference, with S tilt and math tilt predicting STEM majors and E tilt and verbal tilt predicting humanities majors. However, E-S tilt did not correlate with ability tilt. Furthermore, ability tilt did not mediate the relationship between E-S tilt and college major preference. The thesis concludes with a discussion of limitations of the study and suggestions for future research.

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Keywords
ability tilt, academic outcomes, college major preference, E-S theory, general intelligence, theory of mind
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Department
Psychology