Some researchers say that EIQ can be learned or increased; whereas others say that EIQ is stable, and cannot be increased.
In the late 1990’s, emotional intelligence (EIQ) was one of the hottest
buzz-phrases in contemporary psychology. In the business world, it
became a hot topic, largely due to one author’s claim that a high EIQ
was one of the best predictors of success in the workplace. In his 1995
book, Emotional Intelligence, Why it Can Matter More than IQ,
author Daniel Goleman used an early definition by researcher Peter
Salovey which stated that the construct of EIQ includes knowing one’s
emotions, emotional self-control, motivation and persistence,
recognizing emotions of others, and successfully handling
relationships. Goleman made some very strong statements in his book,
including the suggestion that EIQ is one of the main keys to success in
life. He implied that emotional intelligence is at the root of many of
life’s puzzles. Why are some smart people unsuccessful? Why do certain
individuals strike out at others in a violent manner? Why so some excel
at managing others while others struggle? He hinted that EIQ was an
answer to all these, and many others, of life’s questions.
Since the birth of the concept in a 1985 thesis by Wayne Leon Payne,
researchers have been working to discover what factors play a part in
emotional intelligence. Many conceptions of emotional intelligence are
divided into two main parts; aspects related to understanding and
dealing with one’s own emotions, and those related to understanding the
emotions of others and handling social interactions. For many prominent
EIQ researchers, including most notably Goleman and Reuven Bar-on, the
construct also includes broader traits such as motivation,
interpersonal and other personal attributes (this is often called a
mixed model). For others, including Peter Salovey and John Meyer and
their colleagues, the latest models of EIQ are strictly related to the
test-taker’s abilities in this area (often called an ability model).
Like the classical notion of intelligence, they feel that emotional
intelligence is a cognitive ability that can be accurately and
concretely defined and measured.
Three main options exist in terms of how to assess EIQ:
- Assess the related skills as you would traditional intelligence, with questions where the goal is to select the best answer. This method works best with the ability model of emotional intelligence.
- Evaluate these skills through self-report, where the test-takers
answer according to what they most likely would do in a variety of
situations. This works best with the mixed model of emotional
- Create an assessment that combines these two techniques, and
therefore utilizes both the ability model and the mixed model of EIQ,
while helping to overcome potential problems of both.
It appears that the mixed models and the ability methods of evaluating
EIQ do not assess exactly the same thing. In fact, Mayer and Salovey
themselves found that their assessment shares only 10% of the variance
with Bar-on’s self-report measure of emotional intelligence (Mayer,
Caruso, Salovey, 2000). This means that while they may be somewhat
related, there is not enough overlap to justify using only one or the
other. Since self-report and ability measures can be seen as distinct
elements, our assessment will include both forms but report scores for
both separately. Both types of measures have been shown to have
predictive value in different areas in a large number of studies, so
using both can create a measure that is effective in measuring success
in a variety of areas.
Our definition of emotional intelligence is Mayer et al.’s (1999) definition:
Emotional intelligence refers to an ability to recognize the meanings
of emotions and their relationships, and to reason and problem-solve on
the basis of them. Emotional intelligence is involved in the capacity
to perceive emotions, assimilate emotion-related feelings, understand
the information of those emotions, and manage them (p. 267).
We chose to assess this
construct using both self-report questions and ability questions. The
results may at times contradict each other because people vary in their
ability to assess themselves accurately. If this is the case, the
results will clearly state where the contradiction occurs.