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Published February 17, 2022 | Supplemental Material + Published
Journal Article Open

Mentalizing During Social Interaction: The Development and Validation of the Interactive Mentalizing Questionnaire


Studies have shown that during social interaction a shared system underlies inferring one's own mental state, and the mental states of others – processes often referred to as mentalization. However, no validated assessment has been developed to measure second order mentalization (one's beliefs about how transparent one's thoughts are to others), or whether this capacity plays a significant role in social interaction. The current work presents a interactive mentalization theory, which divides these directional and second order aspects of mentalization, and investigates whether these constructs are measurable, stable, and meaningful in social interactions. We developed a 20-item, self-report interactive mentalization questionnaire (IMQ) in order to assess the different sub-components of mentalization: self–self, self–other, and other–self mentalization (Study 1). We then tested this scale on a large, online sample, and report convergent and discriminant validity in the form of correlations with other measures (Study 2), as well as correlations with social deception behaviors in real online interaction with Mturk studies (Study 3 and Study 4). These results validate the IMQ, and support the idea that these three factors can predict mentalization in social interaction.

Additional Information

© 2022 Wu, Fung and Mobbs. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms. Received: 09 October 2021; Accepted: 24 December 2021; Published: 17 February 2022. This work was supported by grants awarded to DM: US National Institute of Mental Health grant (2P50MH094258) and Conte project from Tianqiao and Chrissy Chen Institute Award (P2026052). Author Contributions. HW and DM: designed the research. HW: performed the research and analyzed the data. HW, BF, and DM: wrote the manuscript. Data Availability Statement. The original contributions presented in the study are included in the article/Supplementary Material, further inquiries can be directed to the corresponding author/s. Ethics Statement. The studies involving human participants were reviewed and approved by Caltech (Protocol Number: 18-0790). The patients/participants provided their written informed consent to participate in this study. The authors declare that the research was conducted in the absence of any commercial or financial relationships that could be construed as a potential conflict of interest.

Attached Files

Published - fpsyg-12-791835.pdf

Supplemental Material - Data_Sheet_1_MentalizingDuringSocialInteractionTheDevelopmentandValidationoftheInteractiveMentalizingQuestionnaire.docx



Additional details

August 22, 2023
October 23, 2023