wrought iron letters: UNH  

The Personality Laboratory at the University of New Hampshire

  wrought iron letters: UNH  
About the Laboratory:site homepeople in the lablist of laboratory publicationsselected reprints
Overview of Selected Theoretical Work: personality as a scientific discipline the Systems Framework for personalitypersonal intelligence emotional intelligence ethical commentary on the personality of public figures

Psychological Measures and Procedures: scales of mood,• mood-congruent judgment,• empathy, • meta-experience of mood, • personal intelligence emotional intelligenceintellectual experience • and experimental procedures

Other Resources: links to documents, video and websites on personalitysupplements to articles UNH Department of Psychology (New Window)

Personal Intelligence


  • Introduction to personal intelligence
  • Laboratory publications on personal intelligence
  • Measures of personal intelligence
  • A forthcoming book on personal intelligence

Introduction to Personal Intelligence

Note: For additional information about personal intelligence, you can also visit personalintelligence.info

Personal intelligence is defined here as:

“as the capacity to reason about personality and to use personality and personal information to enhance one’s thoughts, plans, and life experience.” (Mayer, 2008, p. 209)

More specifically, Personal intelligence involves the abilities:

"...(a) to recognize personally relevant information from introspection and from observing oneself and others, (b) to form that information into accurate models of personality, (c) to guide one’s choices by using personality information where relevant, and (d) to systematize one’s goals, plans, and life stories for good outcomes." (Mayer, 2008, p. 215)

Our research in personal intelligence is conducted in collaboration with A. T. Panter of the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill and with David R. Caruso of Yale University.


Laboratory Publications on Personal Intelligence

The following articles are now available on the topic of personal intelligence. See the "Publications" tab of this web page for these and other laboratory articles and book chapters.

Mayer, J. D. (2008). Personal intelligence. Imagination, Cognition, and Personality, 27, 209-232.

Mayer, J. D. (2009). Personal intelligence expressed: A theoretical analysis. Review of General Psychology, 13, 46-58.

Mayer, J. D., & Faber, M. (2010). Personal intelligence and resilience: Recovery in the shadow of broken connections. In J. W. Reich, A. J. Zautra, A. J., & J. Hall (Eds.) Handbook of Adult Resilience (pp. 94-111). New York: Guilford.

Mayer, J. D., Wilson, R., & Hazelwood, M. (2010). Personal intelligence expressed: A multiple case study of business leaders. Imagination, Cognition, and Personality, 30,201-224.

Mayer, J. D., Panter, A. T., & Caruso, D. R. (2012). Does personal intelligence exist? Evidence from a new ability-based measure. Journal of Personality Assessment, 94, 124-140.

Please feel free to contact the lab for reprints; Dr. Mayer's contact information is on the UNH website.

Measures of Personal Intelligence

The Test Of Personal Intelligence (TOPI)

The central measure of personal intelligence developed by the lab is an ability measure of the concept entitled the Test of Personal Intelligence (TOPI). The test has gone through three versions (1.0, 1.1, and 1.2), and its evolution is described in the following article, available from the Journal of Personality Assessment:

Mayer, J. D., Panter, A. T., & Caruso, D. R. (2012). Does personal intelligence exist? Evidence from a new ability-based measure. Journal of Personality Assessment, 94, 124-140.

At present, the TOPI 1.2 is being reconstructed and revised, so no complete form is available for use as yet. The test authors have, however, developed a short form of the measure, called the TOPI MINI-12, which is now available for general research use (see below for further information).

The Test of Personal Intelligence Mini-12 (TOPI MINI-12)

To foster the study of personal intelligence, the lab is making available the TOPI MINI-12, a 12-item measure of personal intelligence as of February 1st, 2012. We are distributing the following PDF:

Mayer, J. D., Panter, A. T., & Caruso, D. R. (2012). Test of Personal Intelligence MINI-12 (TOPI MINI-12): Brief Manual and Item Booklet. Unpublished manuscript. University of New Hampshire.

As indicated by the title, the document includes both a copy of the TOPI-MINI-12 and a manual for its its use that includes some basic psychometric information about the test. To request the TOPI MINI-12 and the technical manual, please e-mail John D. Mayer at the University of New Hampshire. The UNH website provides contact information for Dr. Mayer.

A Book about Personal Intelligence

You can read more about personal intelligence in the forthcoming book, “Personal intelligence: The power of personality and how it shapes our lives” currently "in press" with Scientific American / Farrar, Straus, Giroux. It is now on-line at Amazon here and at Barnes and Noble here, and will be released Feburary 18th, 2014.

Notes for this web page

Mayer, J. D. (2008). Personal Intelligence. Imagination, Cognition, and Personality, 27, 209-232.

©2008-2014 Personality Laboratory