The Director Task Fails to Differentiate Young Adult Theory of Mind Abilities: An IRT Analysis

AbstractThe goal of the present study was to demonstrate the potential application of Item Response Theory (IRT) outside its traditional use in assessing questionnaires by applying it to data from behavioural task. We did this by validating a perspective taking task called the Director Task used to assess Theory of Mind (ToM) abilities in young adults. IRT and convergent validity analyses indicated that, contrary to our hypotheses, the Director Task had an unduly narrow range of responding for measuring ToM. Furthermore, the Director Task did not correlate with other established measures of ToM. Our results suggest that the task should be used with caution when assessing a young adult population. Furthermore, since convergent validity was not established, it is uncertain what specifically the task measures. Overall, we show how IRT may serve as a useful tool in evaluating behavioural measures.


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