The present article examines the relation between the fear of being laughed at (gelotophobia) and intellectual abilities (verbal, numeric, and spatial intelligence, memory and reasoning, vocabulary, and attention) and the self-estimation of one's own abilities. In a first study, N = 167 participants completed ability tests along with a subjective measure for gelotophobia. The results indicate that gelotophobia and intellectual abilities exist independently from each other. These results were replicated in a second study (N = 177) with an independently collected data set. In this study the participants also completed a form for the self-estimation of their own abilities. Though there was a tendency for lower self-estimations of their own abilities, the mean scores were not significantly different among groups of non-gelotophobes and participants with borderline, slight, and pronounced fear of being laughed at. However, the differences between psychometrically measured and self-estimated abilities showed that gelotophobes have a lower self-estimation of their abilities regarding general intelligence, vocabulary, and attention. Taken together the studies show that gelotophobia is not related to intelligence but that gelotophobes tend to have lower self-estimations of their own abilities and underestimate their true ability (i.e., psychometrically measured) by 6 IQ-points. The general pattern of low self-estimations of abilities in gelotophobes is discussed and whether this might be a useful starting point for the development of treatments for gelotophobia.
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