Emotional Intelligence | Stevehein.com
This leads me to something else. I am very honestly worried by what
I saw on Jacks website. I worry about what would happen if a
suicidal teenager who reads what he has written, or who hears
someone say that if you use drugs or are depressed then you are
not emotionally intelligent. (Though Jack did not say this in so
many words, a teacher, psychologist, or parent could easily make
I am afraid a suicidal teenager, who is already confused about
their feelings and who is being told or led to believe there is
something wrong with them, will take this message very personally.
They will not only take it to heart but they will record it in
their already tragically low self-image. I am afraid it will be
another contributing factor to them feeling worthless, hopeless and
rejected. These are the kinds of feelings which lead to teen
suicide. So I am afraid that by Jack, David and Peters latest
writing, there will be more teen suicide, not less. This troubles
me deeply, so as their model of emotional intelligence suggests I
am going to give some priority to my feelings about it and do more
writing about it in the future.
I still agree with much of the four branch model of EI proposed by
Jack and Peter in their 1997 article. But what I am seeing more
clearly now is that I strongly disagree with their ideas about
emotional intelligence and emotional management.
I believe emotional management is much more a factor of ones
environment and upbringing than of their innate emotional
intelligence. This is basically the nature vs. nurture argument
which has caused so much controversy in the area of general
Jack, without realizing it I am afraid, has now opened the field of
EI up to this same kind of controversy. I feel sad about that.
There is already enough misunderstanding and controversy about what
EI is. This will only make things worse.
In Jack and Peters original work, they were much more careful in
avoiding making these kinds of statements. They were also more
careful in saying that they were only hypothesizing about what EI
might be. Now they seem to be feeling more self-assured or even
self-righteous about their work.
Jack is basing his statements on results from the MSCEIT test. But
do not agree that their MSCEIT test is good test of emotional
intelligence. The test might have certain statistical qualities
which make it a good test according definitions used by
psychologists, but to me this still does not make it a good test
of emotional intelligence.
To me, the MSCEIT has some of the same problems BarOns Eqi test
has. It might have all kinds of predictive abilities, but we still
dont know if it is actually testing emotional intelligence.
For example, either test might predict who will make a good soldier
or life insurance salesman, but does this make the tests good tests
of emotional intelligence?
In my opinion, calling a test a test of emotional intelligence, and
then proving that is statistically valid and makes real-life
predictions, still does not make it a test of emotional
I am absolutely positive that I could create a statistically valid
test which makes accurate and reliable real-life predictions about
who would be successful in certain things. And I could call it a
test of emotional intelligence. Or I could call it a test of
emotional health. Or I could call it a test of emotional
skills. Or I could call it a test of socially and emotionally
intelligent behavior. And I could surely get someone to sell the
test and write convincing marketing propaganda for it. And I could
set up certification programs and invite consultants to come to my
workshops and then give them certificates saying they are qualified
to administer my tests.
And I could create a website saying that I had this new test of
emotional whatever. And I could go on a speaking tour and get
reporters to write about me and my test. And soon other people
would be quoting things second- and third-hand about my test. And I
could be famous and I could be rich. And I could be successful.
But none of this would guarantee that my test was actually a test
of whatever I wanted to call it.
On his site Jack talks about how the MSCEIT test is measuring
something different than other tests measure. He says that the
MSCEIT test is not just another personality test and he gives us
evidence to show that.
To this I say fine. Thats great, as David Caruso says. But it
still does not mean you are testing emotional intelligence. You can
call it that, but that doesnt mean you are calling it the right
Just because Jack, David and Peter have called their test a test of
emotional intelligence does not mean that it would not be more
accurate to call it a test of emotional conformity.
How do we know that it is not a better test of emotional conformity
than emotional intelligence?
Lets go back to Evo and the other presidents.
Lets say we develop a test and call it a test of intelligent
dressing. Then we have questions on the test like If you are
going to an international meeting of presidents of countries, would
it be more effective to wear a tie or to not wear a tie?
Then we give the test to a lot of people and we let them select the
best answers. (This is exactly what Jack, David and Peter did, by
Then we decide, based on these other peoples answers, that the
best answer is it would be more effective to wear a tie.
Then we say that if you answer our questions correctly you are an
Then we looked at the pictures of presidents and we saw that most
of them are wearing ties.
So then we say that our test of intelligent dressing predicts who
will be presidents.
So then we say that if you dont score highly on our test, you are
not an intelligent dresser, you are not likely to be a president,
Is it really fair to say that our test is a test of intelligent
dressing? Or would it be more accurate to call it a test of
Now, I can predict the reaction of Jack, David and Peter. They will
probably say that the word intelligence is a special word. They
will say that in their discipline of psychology the word
intelligence has a special meaning. They will say it has to do
with cognitive skills, for example. So they might say that choosing
what you wear doesnt require any form of cognitive skills.
And I might not argue with them on that.
Or, then again, I might.
Since this article is getting a bit long I will let you choose to
keep reading about why I might argue with them. If you want there
is a link below to that. But the main thing I would like you to
think about is this:
How do we know that something is actually a test of emotional
Do we believe the test authors? Do we believe the business
consultants? Do we believe the marketing company who sells the
I want to add that I personally believe Jack Mayer, David Caruso
and Peter Salovey have relatively high levels of integrity. I am
not questioning their integrity as I have with Dan Goleman and
I am questioning one aspect of their work. I would like other
academic scientists to also question this and improve upon the work
in the area of EI tests.
I still firmly believe in the concept of emotional intelligence.
And I believe in the scientific process. I personally believe that
EI can be measured, but I dont believe the MSCEIT test is the one
we should be using and calling a test of emotional intelligence.
And I definitely dont believe the BarOn test is.
I would like to see new tests of EI developed. Until then I would
like MHS and everyone else to stop calling the MSCEIT and the EQi
tests of emotional intelligence.