Accurate Intelligence Assessments in Social Interactions: Mediators and Gender Effects


  • The authors are grateful to Heather Berg, Jessica Christie, Sara Eltzroth, Yota Gikas, Robbi Gorman, Meredith Gull, Lavonia Smith LeBeau, Tania Merkizian, Alexes Reardon, Adrienne Ryba, Dawne Staupe, Gloria Tower, and Dan Warren, who all contributed many hours to data collection, data entry, and behavior coding. The authors are extremely grateful for the assistance of Dana R. Carney and Marianne Schmid Mast in data analysis and manuscript review.

Nora A. Murphy or Judith A. Hall, Northeastern University, Department of Psychology, 125 Nightingale Hall, Boston, MA 02115. E-mail:,


Research indicates that people can assess a stranger's measured intelligence more accurately than expected by chance, based on minimal information involving appearance and behavior. The present research documents behavioral correlates of perceived and measured intelligence and identifies behaviors that mediate the relationship between perceived and measured intelligence. In particular, when judges rated targets with video and auditory stimuli available, responsiveness to conversation partner, eye-gaze, and looking at partner while speaking were each significant mediators in the accurate assessment of intelligence. Each of those behaviors, as well as the percentage of looking at partner while speaking as a function of the target's own speaking time, were significant mediators in the video silent condition. Additionally, judge and target gender contributed to accurate intelligence assessments.