Ursidae: The Undergraduate Research Journal at the University of Northern Colorado


Pamela Wagoner

Faculty Sponsor

Kimberly Murza


Although the foundational cognitive and linguistic skills of generating inferences in both reading and social contexts are similar, relationships between these two modalities, and with empathy, are unclear and have not been thoroughly studied. These relationships were explored by testing 30 typically developing college students’ ability to generate social inferences in the Eyes Test (Baron-Cohen, Wheelwright, Hill, Raste, & Plumb, 2001) and Voice Test (Golan, Baron-Cohen, Hill, & Rutherford, 2007), ability to generate reading inferences in the Inference subtest of the Watson-Glaser Critical Thinking Appraisal (Watson & Glaser, 1964), and their capacity for empathy from the Empathy Quotient (Baron-Cohen & Wheelwright, 2004), as well as considering a number of demographic variables (e.g., age, gender, and major). No significant relationships were found between social inference scores and reading inference scores or between composite inference generation scores and empathy, age, gender, or major. Findings from this study are a critical first step for practitioners hoping to assist individuals with deficits in inference generation.