The goal of this article is to develop a new theory-driven scale for measuring salespeople's interpersonal-mentalizing skills—that is, a salesperson's ability to “read the minds” of customers in the sense of first recognizing customer intentionality and processing subtle interpersonal cues and then adjusting volitions accordingly. Drawing from research on autism and neuroscience, the authors develop a model of brain functioning that differentiates better-skilled from less-skilled interpersonal mentalizers. They establish the convergent, discriminant, concurrent, predictive, and nomological validities of measures of the scale using four methods in four separate studies: confirmatory factor analysis, structural equation models, multitrait–multimethod matrix procedures, and functional magnetic resonance imaging. The study is one of the first to test the validity of measures of a scale not only in traditional ways but also by adopting procedures from neuroscience.

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Keywords construct validity, functional magnetic resonance imaging, personality, sales force behavior, theory of mind
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Series ERIM Top-Core Articles
Journal Journal of Marketing Research
Dietvorst, R.C, Verbeke, W.J.M.I, Bagozzi, R.P, Yoon, C, Smits, M, & van der Lugt, A. (2009). A Sales Force–Specific Theory-of-Mind Scale: Tests of Its Validity by Classical Methods and Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging. Journal of Marketing Research, 46(5), 653–668. doi:10.1509/jmkr.46.5.653