Emotional Intelligence Home Page

Notes From Academic Articles

Below are selected notes from my reading of some articles on emotional intelligence by the research team of John Mayer, Peter Salovey and David Caruso. I don't include all the citations. If you do not have access to the journals in which they originally appeared, or if they are in press, you may request a copy from akendal@cisunix.unh.edu

Listed in order of publication

Emotional Intelligence, Peter Salovey, & John D. Mayer-- Imagination, Cognition, and Personality (1990),9, 185-211.

Emotional Intelligence Meets Traditional Standards for an Intelligence, J. Mayer, David Caruso, P. Salovey -- Intelligence, 27, pp 267-298.

Models of Emotional Intelligence by Mayer, J. D., Salovey, P., & Caruso, D. R. (2000). In R. J. Sternberg (Ed.). Handbook of Human Intelligence (2nd ed), pp 396-420. New York: Cambridge.

Selecting a Measure of Emotional Intelligence: The Case for Ability Scales, by J.D. Mayer, D. Caruso, P. Salovey. "Second Submission" Version: January 11, 2000 Chapter in: R. Bar-On, & J. D. A. Parker (Eds.). The Handbook of Emotional Intelligence.

Emotional Intelligence as Zeitgeist, as Personality, and as a Mental Ability, by Mayer, Salovey and Caruso, Chapter in: R. Bar-On, & J. D. A. Parker (Eds.). The Handbook of Emotional Intelligence.

Emotional Intelligence, Peter Salovey, & John D. Mayer-- Imagination, Cognition, and Personality (1990),9, 185-211.

The abstract reads:

This article presents a framework for emotional intelligence, a set of skills hypothsized to contribute to the accurate appraisal and expression of emotion in oneself and in others, the effective regulation of emotion in self and others, and the use of feelings to motivate, plan and achieve in one's life. We start by reviewing the debate about the adaptive vs. maladaptive qualities of emotions. We then explore the literature on intelligence, and especially social intelligence, to examine the place of emotion in traditional intelligence conceptions. A framework for integrating emotion-related skills is then described. Next, we review the components of emotional intelligence. To conclude the review, the role of emotional intelligence in mental health is discussed and avenunes for further investigation are suggested.

The article begins by asking, "Is emotional intelligence a contradiction in terms?" Then, somewhat humorously, the authors quote several psychologists from years ago who said things like, emotions were "accute disturbances of the individual," and that emotions were "disorganized responses" which came from a "lack of adjustment, and pure emotion is similar to "a complete loss of cerebral control," and that emotions contained "no trace of conscious purpose." In 1940 some psychologist wrote in a his textbook that IQ should measure how much one can not show emotions such as fear or grief or "inquisitive over things that arouse the emotions of younger children."

Then the article cites examples of a more "modern" approach to emotions in psychology.

The paragraph begins with: (p 186)

"A second tradition views emotion as an organizing response because it adaptively focusses cognitive activities and subsequent action." In other words, our emotions help us think and act in healthy ways. The authors provide four citations from the period between 1948 and 1982 to support this view of emotions. They also cite a quotation which says that our emotions "arouse, sustain and direct activity."

"The full expression of emotions seems to be a primary human motive, and it may therefore be worthwhile to consider it from a functionalist perspective." [This seems to be another way of saying that they believe, as I do, that all emotions have basic survival value.]

Next section: A definition of emotions

"We view emotions as organized responses, crossing the boundaries of many psychological subsystems, including the physiological, cognitive, motivational, and experiential systems."

[In another article after this one they reference a quote which seems to be the source of their definition of emotion. The quote is from 610, from Smith, C. A., & Lazarus, R. S. (1990). Emotion and adaptation. In L. A. Pervin, Handbook of personality (609-637). New York: The Guilford Press, and is as follows:

Emotion is an organized response system that coordinates physiological, perceptual, experiential, cognitive, and other changes into coherent experiences of moods and feelings.

Later in their 2000 "Zeitgeist" article Mayer et al say this "Emotions are complex organizations of the physiological, emotional, experiential, cognitive, and conscious," so they have kept the same basic definition of emotion (which is obviously a pretty academic definiton.)

They distinguish emotions from mood "in that emotions are shorter and generally more intense. [They do not address what feelings are.]

They say that they view emotions as "adaptive and as something that can potentially lead to a transformation of personal and social interaction into enriching experience."

Subsection: Emotional intelligence and its relationship to other intelligences

"... constructs such as emotional intelligence have played a part within the traditions of the intelligence field.

Subsection: Intelligence defined

They mention Pythagoras' "none-too-helpful" depiction of intelligence as "winds," as well as Descartes statement that intelligence is the ability to judge true from false. They say that the definition which is probably most cited is that of Wechsler who said intelligence is "the aggreggate or global capacity of the individual to act purposefully, to think rationally, and to deal effectively with his environment."


Editorial Comments

Link to a full copy of the original 1990 article

My notes from:

Emotional Intelligence Meets Traditional Standards for an Intelligence, by John Mayer, David Caruso, Peter Salovey (2000)-- Intelligence, 27 (4), pp 267-298.

(the full text of this article is also available)


The authors list the following as necessary criteria for declaring something an intelligence:

1. You must be able to break it down into a set of mental abilities.

2. The abilities coming from the intelligence must form a related set. IE they must be intercorrelated--they must rise and fall as a group.

3. The abilities must have a significant positive correlation to traditional intelligence, without being so highly correlated that they are just another indication of traditional intelligence.

4. The abilities of the intelligence should "develop with age and experience."

(In their paper, the authors combined numbers 2 and 3.)

Based on their research, Mayer et al have concluded that emotional intelligence does indeed meet these traditional criteria of a standard intelligence.

They then offer this definition of emotional intelligence

p 2.1 "EI refers to an ability to recognize the meanings of emotions, and to reason and problem solve on the basis of them," and it involves "the capacity to perceive emotions, assimilate emotion-related feelings, understand the information of those emotions, and manage them."

2.2 "EI can be assessed most directly by asking a person to solve emotional problems, such as identifying the emotion in a story or a painting..."

The authors then provide some details regarding the terms in their definitions. For example, they say that assimilating emotions includes "weighing emotions against one another", and "allowing emotions to direct thought."

Next they discuss their test instrument and go into a considerable amount of detail about the two research studies they conducted.

In this article the authors also touch on several of their concerns. For example, they are concerned that writers in the popular press have hurt the scientific field of emotional intelligence research by making unsubstantiated claims, adding their own, unvalidated components to the definition of EI and creating questionable tests which claim to measure emotional intelligence.

Mayer et al are concerned that a confusion is being generated about what emotional intelligence is or is not, and that by and including unrelated variables (or at least, variables which have not yet been individually tested for their relationship to those already identified in the authors' previous work) other authors have hampered their efforts to establish EI as a legitimate intelligence. (By legitimate I mean something which is generally accepted by their peers in the academic research community.)

The article concludes with the authors saying that in their view, emotional intelligence is "an important candidtate to enlarge the group on which general intelligence is based." They go on to cautiously state, "Perhaps a general intelligence that includes emotional intelligence will be a more powerful predictor of important life outcomes than one that does not."


Selected notes from my reading of:

Models of Emotional Intelligence, Mayer, J. D., Salovey, P., & Caruso, D. R. (2000) In R. J. Sternberg (Ed.). Handbook of Human Intelligence (2nd ed). pp 396-420. New York: Cambridge --

In this article MS& C review some of the literature being presented as emotional intelligence. They start out by spending a considerable amount of time on defining the words emotion, intelligence and emotional intelligence. They compare various definitions and then compare their model of EI with that of Daniel Goleman and Reuven Bar On. They call Goleman and Bar On's models "mixed models" because they mix in variables which have not been scientifically validated as being related to intelligence. They refer to their own model as an "ability model" because they believe it reflects a person's actual mental ability as directly related to standard definitions of intelligence.

They report these findings from a study of their MEIS test:

1. It "achieved a full-scale alpha reliability of r=.96 (p. 408)

2. The MEIS test tasks were "generally positively related" and they talk about factorial structures (which means nothing to me!)

3. General emotional intelligence, what they called gei, correlated with measures of verbal intelligence (r = .36); with measures of self-reported empathy (r = .33); and with parental warmth (r = .23)

4. "... ability at emotional intelligence was age dependent, increasing between young adolescence and early adulthood."

From the article I also gathered that this is what bothers them the most about Goleman's 1995 book:

-- He made unsubstantiated claims about emotional intelligence - in particular, he implied that it was a better predictor of "success" in all sorts of areas, like work, school and relationships. (The way he did this was as follows: he tells people that IQ only accounts for about 20% of a person's success. He strongly implies, and let's his audience believe, that emotional intelligence accounts for the other 80%, although he never actually says this.)

-- He decided for himself what to include in his definition of emotional intelligence, and has thus corrupted and confused the use of the term before it has even been established. For example, Goleman added optimism, motivation, resilience, persistence, flow and the ability to delay gratification to his definition. MS&C say that until research shows these are truly linked to intelligence, it is better to

1. Call motivation motivation

2. Call optimism, resilience, and persistence personality traits (See below for my discussion of personality traits vs. intelligence.)

3. Call "flow" an altered state of consciousness.

My commentary:

In this article the authors also raise the question of what is meant by the word, "success." I was pleased to see them address this critically important question. Other writers on the topic of emotional intelligence, for example Goleman in his 1997 book for business, have talked about success as if meant only material wealth and status, which is the predominant picture of success portrayed to the world by American media.

I see many possible definitions of "success" however. For example, this food for thought: Does academic success mean high grades? Or might it perhaps mean learning about oneself and growing personally from one's academic experience, regardless of one's grades? Does it mean learning to play the game and work the system? Or might it mean learning to question the system and identify its problem areas, then work to change them? Does it mean preparing you to work in a corporation, an institution or a profession? Or might it mean preparing you to work for yourself? Or might it mean preparing you to help identify what is truly important and most needed in the world? And does financial success mean high levels of income from a huge corporation with corresponding high levels of consumption? Or might it mean attaining the ability to work and live independently on lower levels of income and higher levels of sustainability? And perhaps an even more difficult question: how might one describe success as a parent? Finally, how might one define success for the human species?

A few thoughts on personality traits vs. intelligence

I have been trying to figure out a good way to explain the difference between a personality trait and a component of emotional intelligence. Here is one thing I have come up with:

If one can reach a point where too much of that trait is a liability, then it cannot be considered an intelligence.

I offer the case of optimism: if optimism is a component of emotional intelligence then it would seem that the more optimistic one is, the more emotionally intelligent. In other words, the relationship is always positive, ie the correlation factor, "r," is always greater than zero. My hypothesis is that there is indeed some positive relationship between optimism and emotional intelligence at most levels of optimism. But I suspect two things: First, either that beyond a certain point, the more one is optimistic, the less emotionally intelligent one is, (so the r factor becomes negative) or second, that at a certain point, it doesn't matter if the person is more optimistic or not, his "EQ" score does not rise any further, ie the r factor is zero.

I thought of a person who was always optimistic, to the point of unhealthiness. Instead of taking needed action in the case of real danger, such a person might say to himself or his children, "Don't worry, everything will work out. Everything is just the way it is supposed to be. Smile. Be happy. Let's sing a song!" I find it hard to believe such a person would score highly on any valid EQ test.

As another example, in Goleman's own case in the Utne reader EQ test, he suggests it is high EQ for the insurance salesman to keep trying to make a sale. But perhaps such persistence is actually not in the salesman's best interest, (or in the prospect's!) Perhaps the product is simply a rotten product, that is why no one is buying it, and the salesman with high EQ actually would feel bad for selling it!

Or perhaps the salesman is not good at the kind of behavior salesmen seem to need in order to excel. Perhaps such behavior is simply not part of his nature, perhaps he is simply too honest, for example, and would be happier in another field. I would suggest that it would be more intelligent for the salesperson to think about how he feels and whether he would feel better in another line of work, maybe doing something that offers more of a contribution to humanity, for example.

Note: After writing this I received an email from John Mayer in which he clarified that he considers intelligence an aspect of overall personality, but he would call it an ability trait as opposed to either a learned trait or a person's disposition or temperament. Dr. Mayer also forwarded this framework of personality which reflects his current thinking.

These distinctions are tricky and I will keep working on making them more clear.


My notes from:

Selecting a Measure of Emotional Intelligence: The Case for Ability Scales, by J.D. Mayer, D. Caruso, P. Salovey. "Second Submission" Version: January 11, 2000 Chapter in: R. Bar-On, & J. D. A. Parker (Eds.). The Handbook of Emotional Intelligence.

Note from the authors: Pending Publication, Please Do Not Quote or Cite Without Permission.

Here are some quick notes on this paper. (Last update 11/22/08)

In this paper the authors compare their tests to others which also claim to be emotional intelligence tests and then they give a considerable amount of information about their test design. They also give new information on the correlates to emotional intelligence as it is measured by their tests, the MEIS, and the new version, the MSCEIT.

Beginning with the comparison between their test and the BarOn EQi test, EQ Map and the ECI (Emotional Competence Test), one of the conclusions is that the other tests are measuring things which have already been measured with personality tests. The authors briefly discuss the issues of content validity and incremental validity, and they address concerns about the validity and reliability of their earlier tests which were raised by Davies, Stankov and Roberts in 1998. With respect to this issue, the authors say

...the degree of overlap between self-report scales of emotional intelligence and already-existing personality scales is a matter of legitimate concern, because, given the investment many people are placing in emotional intelligence, one would not want to reinvent the wheel....

The authors next describe some of the problems with self-report tests, and "informant" tests and offer research to support their position that their ability test is preferable to the three other tests which are a mixture of self-report and informant.

Next the problems inherent in designing a good ability test are discussed in an effort to demonstrate that they have given thoughtful consideration to these problems. In particular they address how they came up with the "right answers" for their test questions, this way being a combination of target criteria, expert criteria and consensus criteria, and they discuss correlations between these three methods.

Next they answer the question of how they could measure whether someone can identify their own feelings. They answer this by saying that other studies showed that if people could recognize other people's feelings, then they could generally recognize their own as well. The authors concluded that if they could test people's ability to identify emotion in others, then this would imply that a person could identify his own feelings, so this is how their test was set up.

The four branches

Then they go into considerable detail about how each of the four branches of their test works. (Each branch gives it's own score in their tests and then there is a composite score.) The four branches are: Perception of Emotion; Emotional Facilitation; Understanding Emotion; Managing Emotion. These are described in more detail by the authors as follows:

The first, Emotional Perception, involves such abilities as identifying emotions in faces, music, and stories.

The second, Emotional Facilitation of Thought, involves such abilities as relating emotions to other mental sensations such as taste and color (relations that might be employed in artwork), and using emotion in reasoning and problem solving.

The third area, Emotional Understanding involves solving emotional problems such as knowing which emotions are similar, or opposites, and what relations they convey.

The fourth area, Emotional Management involves understanding the implications of social acts on emotions and the regulation of emotion in self and others.

They move on to a quick review of what it takes for something to be considered an intelligence, saying:

For an intelligence to be considered a standard intelligence, it must meet certain criteria. It must be reliable, of course. Beyond that, tasks that are believed to measure the intelligence must be correlated with one another. In addition, the candidate for an intelligence must be related to, but also independent of, other existing intelligences. Finally, the intelligence must develop with age.

On the topic of reliability, they state:

The four MEIS "branch scores" (i.e., Perception, Facilitation, Understanding, and Management) had coefficient alphas ranging from .81 to .96, with a full scale internal consistency of .96. The initial, research version of the MSCEIT had branch score alphas from a = .59 to .87 (based on 277 participants).

Next, the authors state that "Factor analyses indicate that emotional intelligence can be represented as a two-level hierarchy. At the top of the hierarchy is an overall emotional intelligence factor that represents a fairly cohesive group of skills." (It is not clear to me what the bottom level of this hierarchy is.)

On the correlation to traditional forms of intelligence, the authors state that "The MEIS is somewhat related to -- but still reasonably independent of -- verbal intelligence." For example in one study the correlation between the MEIS, and a vocabulary measure was r = .36, p < .01. In another it was r = .45, p <.01.

They add that in another study the MEIS score and scores on the Raven Progressive Matrices were found to be unrelated (r = .05, n.s.). The Raven test they say is "generally considered to be a measure of performance or spatial intelligence." They continue by concluding that: "Such findings indicate that emotional intelligence may be related to other specific intelligences to varying degrees. These correlations indicate that the MEIS measures different things than do these other intelligence tests, although there is some relationship between them."

As far as development with age, the authors tell us that adults do indeed score higher than adolescents.

Next the paper moves to the question of what emotional intelligence predicts, or what it is correlated to.

First they review the relationship between "Ability and Self-Report Emotional Intelligence."

They say:

In work comparing the MSCEIT scores with those of the BarOn EQ-i, a self-report measure of emotional intelligence (Bar-On, 1997), the overall test-to-test correlation in a subsample of 137 was r = .36, which indicates the two tests share about 10% of their variance in common.

Next they review correlations for empathy, parental warmth and life satisfaction measures.


Emotional intelligence (measured by the MEIS) correlates with self-reported empathy (r = .33, p < .01; Mayer, Caruso, & Salovey, in press; r = .43, p < .01; Ciarrochi, et al., in press). Sullivan (1999) found that the EISC ability measure correlated about r = .35 with children's self-reported empathy. Rubin (1999) administered an adolescent version of the MEIS (the AMEIS) to 52 seventh and eighth grade students in an urban school district. She found a significant association between emotional intelligence and empathy (r= .28, p < .05).

Parental Warmth.

Studies with the MEIS indicate that emotional intelligence is significantly related to self-reported parental warmth (r = .23, p < .01, Mayer, Caruso, & Salovey, in press; r = .18, p < .05; Ciarrochi et al., in press). These findings are important because of the large emphasis we and others have placed on developmental antecedents of emotional intelligence (e.g., Mayer & Salovey, 1995; Salovey & Sluyter, 1997).

Life Satisfaction Measures.

Ciarrochi et al. (in press) found that people scoring higher on the MEIS had higher levels of life satisfaction (r = .28, p < .05), and of self-reported relationship quality (r = .19, p < .05).

The next section is titled:

Broader Aspects of Personality.

They say one study found the MEIS score to correlate with other measures as follows:

The MEIS correlated "at low to moderate levels with tests of a) extroversion, b) openess to feelings, and c) self-esteem as show below:

a. r = .26, p < .05

b. r = .24, p < .05

c. r = .31, p < .05

They then say that their own studies show that the MEIS is relatively independent of many of the self-report trait scales of personality as measured by the omnibus personality measure, the 16 PF (Mayer, Caruso, Salovey, Formica, & Woolery, 1999).

"In 186 college students, we found that the MEIS full-scale score correlated as follows with each of the 16 PF scales:

More specifically they report these findings: [ I have arranged these in order from highest positive correlation to highest negative correlation]

r = .22, p < .01 with Sensitivity

r = .19, p < .05 with Reasoning

r = .14, p = .05 with Openness to Change

r = .13, n.s.with Warmth

r = .12, n.s., with Liveliness

r = .09, n.s. with Emotional Stability

r = .09, n.s., with Apprehension

r = .05, n.s. with Dominance

r = .02, n.s., with Rule-Consciousness

r = .01 with Tension

r = -.01, n.s., with Abstractedness

r = -.02, n.s., with Social Boldness

r = -.10, n.s., with Privateness

r = -11 with Perfectionism

r = -.17, p < .05 with Vigilance

r = -.21, p < .01 with Self-Reliance

They add: "Importantly, the MEIS correlated r = .01 with the Impression Management scale of the 16 PF. Likewise, the scales of the MSCEIT are, encouragingly, almost entirely unrelated to the Positive Impression scale of the EQ-i (r = .16, n.s.)."

Next they give us these correlations:

"The individuals in our recent study also completed the FIRO-B, a self-report measure of social skills and needs. The full-scale MEIS correlated r = .14, n.s., with expressed Inclusion (which measures how much the subject expresses interest in people in general), r = .22, p < .01 with wanted Inclusion (how much a subject desires to be with people), r = .05, n.s. with expressed Affection ( a measure of how warm a person is toward others), r = .19, p < .01 with wanted Affection (how much closeness a person desires with others), r = -.09, n.s. with expressed Control (the amount of responsibility and decision making in which the person engages), and r = -.05, n.s. with wanted Control (how much structure or direction the person desires). A brief mood scale administered to these respondents correlated -.09, n.s. with total MEIS scores.

This chapter also reports the results of a business study using the MEIS (by C. I. Rice at Pepperdine University) . In that study it was found there was some support to the claim that EI is related to leadership effectiveness, particularly in the area of customer service. In other areas though a higher EI score was actually negatively correlated with productivity and accuracy in handling customer complaints. But what we don't know is whether the customers felt more satisfied when served by those higher in EI. If this is the case it could offset or outweigh the lower productivity and accuracy.

Another possibly important finding was reported in this chapter. From the results of two studies it seems that higher EI scores tend to predict lower levels of violence and aggression in children.

My notes from

Emotional Intelligence as Zeitgeist, as Personality, and as a Mental Ability, by Mayer, Salovey and Caruso, in press, Chapter to appear in: R. Bar-On, & J. D. A. Parker (Eds.). The Handbook of Emotional Intelligence.

This is the first draft of these notes. Since the article has not been published and may go through additional revisions, please be conservative with how you use these notes. Also, please let me know if you see any typos I would appreciate it.

In this article the authors begin by commenting on the broad appeal the term emotional intelligence has had to the world and on the various meanings of the term which have proliferated. They examine three meanings of the term. First, as Zeitgeist, which they define as an intellectual or passionate trend that characterizes the moment. Second, as a set of personality traits, which it seems fair to say most common meaning of the term. Third, as "a set of abilities having to do with processing emotional information." This last meaning is the one the authors are striving to bring to the public awareness.

As anyone who reads their articles or this site knows by now, Goleman popularized the second meaning of the term and Mayer et al are fighting an uphill battle.

At anyrate, (1) in the article, the authors review both the popular and the scientific literature with the goal of bringing "some semblance of order to the various usages of emotional intelligence and some consideration of how those different meanings might be confusing if ignored, but contribute to constructive cultural and scientific discussion if attended to." (This is one of the most thoughtful and well written comments I have seen in a while!)

In the discussion of EI as Zeitgeist the authors trace the history of the public's interest in the term. They begin with the 1995 cover story articles in two popular American magazines which they describe as a mixture of "sensationalism and science." To summarize and combine the authors' comments a bit, the articles which were based on Goleman's best-selling book of that year, gave people back the hope that was taken away from them by the book "The Bell Curve" a year earlier. I found this entire section of the article to be extremely insightful, especially when they then added in a discussion of stoicism, romanticism, religious influences on the suppression of emotion and even the rebellious youth movement of the nineteen sixties. They also touch on the humanistic psychology movement which elevated the importance of emotions and the honest experience and expression thereof.

They quote Maslow who asked the question "What shall we think of a well-adjusted slave?" (This is from Maslow's book "Toward a Psychology of Being, page 8)

To expand a bit on the authors here, they say this was obviously understood to mean that sometimes feelings of rebellion, aggression, assertiveness, disobedience, non-conformity and non-compliance and are necessary and healthy. (The authors actual comment was that "sometimes angry emotions were a necessary signal to injustice.)

Then the authors briefly mention the "unmet emotional needs" of the American society during that decade, which put a smile on my face since I have repeatedly emphasized this and have even shortened it to UEN's in my writing since I refer to the idea so frequently! I don't believe the UEN's of America are limited to the sixties, however.

The authors also touch on the women's movement and they cite a quote which stressed the importance of staying connected with feelings rather than judging them.

We also are treated with some history of the term emotional intelligence. We find out that in 1966 a German article used the term, as well as some other interesting facts about the article itself, such as the author at that time suggested that women who did not compliantly accept their social roles should be treated with LSD-25!

We also learn more about the dissertation by W. L. Payne in 1983 which was titled, "A study of emotion: Developing emotional intelligence; Self-integration; relating to fear, pain and desire." I recall this paper was briefly mentioned by the authors in one of their previous writings, but in this article there are several quotes from the dissertation itself, and it seems fair to say the Mayer et al think highly of the work. I have not read it yet myself, but feel more curious about it. The reference is Dissertations Abstracts International, 47, (01), p 203A. (University Microfilms # AAC 8605928) It is at least 400 pages in length, by the way, according to one of the citations used in the present article.

The authors conclude this section of the paper by commenting on the various possible senses of an "emotionally intelligent society." They say it could be thought of as one which understand how to integrate reason and emotion or as a "kinder, gentler intelligence, one which anyone can have." In this sense, emotional intelligence might help us "live together in peace." But the authors are not making any exaggerated claims that their scientific research work on EI will lead to world peace, success, prosperity, equality and happiness for every one. Instead they say cautiously, and wisely I believe, that the "scientific understanding of emotional intelligence may or may not support" what I will call any particular utopian scenarios or concepts of what is politically correct at the present moment in history.

The next section covers the ways EI has been promoted as a set of personality traits. The authors start out by saying "When we enter the scientific realm from the popular, we are obliged to adjust our standards of terminology and understand the context of our various constructs." As the use of the word "constructs" warns us, this is going to be a technical discussion, much as the authors try to keep it simple. In fact, it is so technical that I got a bit lost in it so I will simply say the next few pages of the article are about personality psychology and models, frameworks and definitions.

Then they address how Goleman in his 95 book "redefined and re-described" emotional intelligence, "each time including a somewhat different set of personality attributes." They also cite this sentence by Goleman which I remember troubled me also at the time I first read it,

"There is an old-fashioned word for the body of skills that emotional intelligence represents: character." (p. 285)

(I have more to say about this but I will save it for my forthcoming general criticisms of Goleman.)

The authors then say that "It might seem improper to hold up Goleman's (1995) theory as a scientific one. At first, it was presented as a journalistic account of our own theory. Nonetheless many scientists have treated Goleman's work seriously and Goleman has accepted this blended role..." (To put it nicely!)

Then they talk about Reuvon Bar-On's version of EI a bit, though they are not quite as hard on him, perhaps because the article is going in his book! They have already written about his work so I won't elaborate here.

Next they address Goleman's 1998 book which he wrote for the business market, and they critique his use of the term EI and his laundry list of 25 "emotional competencies" as he calls them when he is not calling them emotional intelligence per se. They also briefly review Cooper's definition of EI and his "EQ Map" which has received some limited acceptance in the business world from what I can gather, most likely because it was the first book written specifically for the business market. When I read it, I didn't see that it had much to do with emotional intelligence at all, no matter whose definition you were using, but rather it was simply a quickly put together repackaging of some of Cooper and Sawaf's pre-Goleman consulting work.

The authors understandably have some negative feelings about how these other writers are marketing the term EI. Some of these are no doubt fairly personal, but they do have a legitimate concern, which I share. They put it thus: "If emotional intelligence doesn't refer exclusively to emotion or to intelligence, then it becomes quite unclear to what it does refer."

They also say that "labeling personality research as 'emotional intelligence'... directs people away from the relevant research about the claims being made. It allows a person to create a theory that is disconnected from other, similar theories, and so to be very imaginative-- but it can lead to disappointment once the connection between imagination and reality is re-established."

Mini editorial:


They continue, "Empirical studies of the discriminant and convergent validity of scales based on the above approaches have only begun; they will reveal whether these new measures have reinvented earlier tests, or are actually measuring something new."

to be continued....

some parts skipped then....


An Ability Theory of Emotional Intelligence

Partly as a consequence of various popularizations, and partly as a consequence of societal pressures to regulate emotions, many people primarily identify emotional intelligence with its fourth branch, emotional management. They hope emotional intelligence will be a way of getting rid of troublesome emotions or emotional leakages into human relations, and rather, hope to control emotions. Although this is one possible outcome of the fourth branch, optimal levels of emotional regulation maybe moderate ones; attempts to minimize or eliminate emotion may stifle emotional intelligence.

Emotional management might be thought of more profitably as beginning with a capacity for openness that allows emotions-- both pleasant and unpleasant--to enter (e.g to be perceived or identified) by the intelligence system. That is, management encourages emotions to be experienced (although not always expressed). p 22

"The first branch of emotional intelligence begins with the capacity to perceive (and to express) feelings." p 22

"Emotions are complex organizations of the physiological, emotional experiential, cognitive, and conscious"

Emotion is an organized response system that coordinates physiological, perceptual, experiential, cognitive, and other changes into coherent experiences of moods and feelings

(p 610, from Smith, C. A., & Lazarus, R. S. (1990). Emotion and adaptation. In L. A. Pervin, Handbook of personality (609-637). New York: The Guilford Press.

Branch 3 involves understanding and reasoning with emotion. p 23


Mini editorial


I would add that it is worse than disappointment, I would say it will be disillusionment, distrust, skepticism and a loss of credibility to the field of EI work and the important long-term contribution it can potentially make. Ironically, Goleman criticized the concept of self-esteem as fadish and lacking substance, but it seems he is in danger of doing irreparable damage to the term emotional intelligence in a similar way. In review of my notes from his 95 book I also found this line in reference to those authors who have capitalized on the (primarily American) public demand for emotional relief of all sorts:

Into this void has rushed a welter of self-help books, well-intentioned advice based at best on clinical opinion but lacking much, if any, scientific basis.

I wonder if Goleman could now be afraid of being charged with and found guilty of the same offense.

I also wonder what might have happened, had Goleman chosen a different course after 1995. What if he had quickly begun to withdraw his claims and narrow his definition of EI? Could this current situation have been avoided? Would others have followed his leadership? But instead of narrowing his claims for emotional intelligence, as Mayer and Salovey did, I would say he blatantly exploited the public's interest in the new term. It also seems that instead of feeling cooperative, as I gather Reuvon Bar-On did to some degree, Goleman apparently felt defensive and threatened by the later research and writing of Mayer and Salovey. He now seems to have withdrawn behind a protective wall of his business clients, since in all my web searches I am finding almost nothing recent by him. To my knowledge he not specifically answered the criticisms made by Mayer and Salovey other than some very brief personal correspondence which seemed to reflect a defensive stance, based on a brief reference to it in the "Models of Emotional Intelligence" article, if memory serves me correctly. I imagine that had Goleman used some of my what I call "EQ" from the beginning, for example, by asking Salovey and Mayer how they felt about him calling his book "Emotional Intelligence" instead of "Emotional Literacy", as he was planning to do, or by following my conflict resolution model when the conflict between he and Mayer et all became obvious, those of us who feel critical and resentful of him, might feel more compassionate and forgiving.



1. I know "anyrate" isn't a word, but I like it. Besides we have "anyone", and "anyhow" so why not "anyrate"??

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