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Understanding Other MindsPerspectives from developmental social neuroscience$

Simon Baron-Cohen, Michael Lombardo, and Helen Tager-Flusberg

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199692972

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199692972.001.0001

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Appendix 7C: Social relations variance partitioning of JA

Appendix 7C: Social relations variance partitioning of JA

Understanding Other Minds
Oxford University Press

With the Social Relations Model (SRM), the set of judges rate the same set of targets, who may very well be the same persons as the judges. For each judge-target pair, an accuracy score is computed. Within the SRM, the variance in accuracy is partitioned into the following sources:


  • Are some judges better than others at the task?
  • Target:

  • Are some targets easier to judge than others?
  • Relationship:

  • Are people better at judging some persons more than others, controlling for judge and target effects?
  • Error:

  • Unpredicted variance.
  • (p.116)

    Table 7.A3 Social relations variance partitioning and reliability values from three studies





    r 1,1


    Kenny & La Voie (1984)






    Ickes et al. (2000)






    Elfenbein et al. (2006)












    (a) Assuming 10 targets.

    Without replications, relationship and error variance are confounded. Most studies have not attempted to measure group variance.

    In Table 7.A3 are the proportions of judge, target, and relationship/error variance. The following studies are included;

    Kenny & La Voie (1984): The average across three studies of emotion and deception detection are presented.

    Ickes, Buysse, Pham, Rivers, Erickson, Hancock, et al. (2000): The average across the two studies of empathic accuracy that do not use standardized stimuli.

    Elfenbein, Foo, Boldry, & Tan, (2006): One study involving the perception of emotion.

    Also reported in the table is (judge variance)/(judge variance + relationship/error variance) which is a close analogue to the inter-item (target) correlation or r 1,1 and the reliability of judgment assuming ten targets.

    Not directly relevant to this paper is the interesting result that target is the dominant source of variance: Some targets are easy to judge and others are most difficult. The statement by Malone & DePaulo (2001) is quite relevant here:

    It is possible that most of the variance … is due to differences in the judgeability of targets as opposed to the sensitivity of the perceivers. (p. 113)

    Not included in the table is the study by Thomas & Fletcher (2003) which has quite different results, yielding r 1,1 of .62 and an internal consistency estimate with 10 targets of .94. The large value found in this study, but perhaps it is due to the fact that judges were placed in a highly emotional situation.