Few studies have been done until now on the relationship between emotion comprehension and intellectual abilities. A Spanish version of the TEC (Pons, Harris, 2000) was administered in a series of different studies to: 1) a group of adults with moderate and mild to borderline mental retardation; 2) a group of adults with mental retardation with IQ below 50 vs. another group composed of adults with mental retardation with IQ above 50, and 3) a group of adults with mental retardation vs. a group of matched typically developing children (6-10 years old) by WISC-R scores. Preliminary analyses showed: 1) a low score of the first group of mentally retarded adults on TEC (only 56% of answers were correct), showing some really important failures in understanding mixed emotions, the role of beliefs and moral on emotions, and the regulation of emotions; 2) a high correlation between TEC and most of the WAIS-III subtests, especially for: Symbol Search, Digit Symbol Coding. Picture Completion, and Letter-Number Sequencing (between .69 and .78, p<0.01); 3) a significant better emotional comprehension within the sample of softer level of adults with mental retardation when compared with adults with deeper level of mental retardation, especially regarding: the role of external causes on emotions, the role of reminders on emotions, and the control of expressed emotions, and 4) no significant or minor differences on TEC scores were observed between the sample of adults with mental retardation and the sample of typically developing children matched by WISC-R scores. This research suggests a close relationship between intelligence and emotional comprehension, and accordingly the importance of the development of some basic cognitive processes, like intelligence, in the development of socio-emotional abilities, like emotional comprehension. It seems that emotion comprehension can be partially impaired when certain cognitive components of intelligence (especially those linked to speed of processing, working memory and perceptual analysis) are partially impaired. Some of the results of this empirical research have been presented at the 33rd Annual Meeting of the Jean Piaget Society (JPS), Chicago, USA (Hernandez Blasi, Pons, Escalera & Suco, 2003). This empirical research is still running. With Carlos Hernandez Blasi and Ana Suco (University Jaume I) and Cinta Escalera (Valencia Institute for Handicapped People).
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