Emotional Intelligence

Petrides and Furnham's "Trait EI" Model

Trait EI theory is unrelated to what lay people understand by "emotional intelligence" or "EQ" and incompatible with other models of the construct. - Source


The following excerpt was taken off of the Wikipedia page on December 7, 2007.

The Trait EI model

Petrides and Furnham (2000a) proposed a conceptual distinction between the ability based model and a trait based model of EI[18]. Trait EI (or ‘trait emotional self-efficacy’) refers to "a constellation of behavioral dispositions and self-perceptions concerning one’s ability to recognize, process, and utilize emotion-laden information". This definition of EI encompasses behavioral dispositions and self perceived abilities and is measured by self report, as opposed to the ability based model which refers to actual abilities as they express themselves in performance based measures. Trait EI should be investigated within a personality framework. [19]

The trait EI model is general and subsumes the Goleman and Bar-On models discussed above. Petrides et al. are major critics of the ability-based model and the MSCEIT arguing that they are based on "psychometrically meaningless" scoring procedures (e.g., Petrides, Furnham, & Mavroveli, 2007).

The conceptualization of EI as a personality trait leads to a construct that lies outside the taxonomy of human cognitive ability. This is an important distinction in as much as it bears directly on the operationalization of the construct and the theories and hypotheses that are formulated about it [18]. The trait EI model is among the most salient in the scientific literature.

Measurement of the Trait EI model

There are many self-report measures of EI, including the EQi, the Swinburne University Emotional Intelligence Test (SUEIT), the Six Seconds Emotional Intelligence Assessment (SEI), the Schutte Self-Report Emotional Intelligence Test (SSEIT), a test by Tett, Fox, and Wang (2005). From the perspective of the trait EI model, none of these assess intelligence, abilities, or skills (as their authors often claim), but rather, they are limited measures of trait emotional self-efficacy (Petrides, Furnham, & Mavroveli, 2007). The Trait Emotional Intelligence Questionnaire (TEIQue) is an open-access measure that was specifically designed to measure the construct comprehensively and is currently available in 15 languages.

The TEIQue provides an operationalization for Petrides and colleagues' model that conceptualizes EI in terms of personality [19]. The test encompasses 15 subscales organized under four factors: Well-Being, Self-Control, Emotionality, and Sociability. The psychometric properties of the TEIQue were investigated in a recent study on a French-Speaking Population, where it was reported that TEIQue scores were globally normally distributed and reliable[20].

The researchers also found TEIQue scores were unrelated to nonverbal reasoning (Raven’s matrices), which they interpreted as support for the personality trait view of EI (as opposed to a form of intelligence). As expected, TEIQue scores were positively related to some personality dimensions (optimism, agreeableness, openness, conscientiousness) as well as inversely related to others(alexithymia, neuroticism).


"Trait EI" seems to be a new term created by Konstantine Petrides (K.V. Petrides) from the University of London and Adrian Furnham from University College London. The following was taken from the Petrides website.

The TEIQue is a scientific measurement instrument based exclusively on trait EI theory.  Trait EI theory is unrelated to what lay people understand by "emotional intelligence" or "EQ" and incompatible with other models of the construct.  The TEIQue is specifically developed and updated to provide a gateway to trait EI theory and it should not be seen as an alternative to the proliferating, and generally invalid, "EQ tests".

Here is the Wikipedia page on Adrian Furnham. As of Dec 7, 2007, the page has these quotes

In 1985, Furnham founded a management consultancy called Applied Behavioural Research Associates, and became its first director. This specialised in research on corporate evaluation and design, performance appraisal, personnel and corporate assessment and selection, and literature reviews. Clients have included the Foreign Office, BT, TWA, Lloyds Bank, Cathay Pacific Airways, Channel Four, Abbey Life, Boots, Hambros Bank, Ritz Hotel, British Rail, Air New Zealand, Hong Kong Jockey Club, Marks and Spencer, Careers Research Forum and Barclays Bank.

He is also one of only 75 psychologists to belong to the well-known American Psychological Association.

First, there are actually thousands of members of the American Psychological Association (APA). Second, the content of this article might lead one to wonder who actually wrote it.

In any case, here is an item in the external links from today's Wikipedia page which takes you to Konstantine Petrides' website.

Trait emotional intelligence University of London, large-scale scientific research program.

That page contains a link which takes you to the more commercial site for the Petrides and Furnham products and services. On this page we see the following message, which suggests that only research-related material is featured.

Welcome to the website for the consulting arm of the trait emotional intelligence (trait EI) research program.

The website and on-line sofware {sic} are part of the research program and are not affiliated with any external commercial organization.

But when one looks more into the website, they will find that they offer lectures and consultancy which you have to book. Also, the following statement, which criticizes other tests which claim to measure emotional intelligence, appears to mostly an advertisement.

Why the TEIQue?

The TEIQue has clear conceptual and psychometric advantages over the glut of"EQ" and personality "tests" widely available in the market. While these are easy to explain to psychometricians, it is not always straightforward to describe to practitioners.

Commercial test publishers simply cannot afford to provide sustained research funding for the measures they market. Consequently, instruments “developed” in commercial settings or owned by commercial companies cannot compete on research quality with instruments developed in universities or hospitals and owned by their authors.

The TEIQue is underpinned by a leading international research program currently based at the Institute of Education, University of London. Our consultancy arm is an offshoot of this program, which remains our fundamental priority.

To date, thousands of individuals have been profiled on the various forms and translations of the TEIQue. If you are interested in assessing the emotion-related aspects of personality, the TEIQue instruments provide a scientific alternative.

In summary, these points lead to the conclusion that the Wikipedia page on emotional intelligence continues to be used by consultants to promote their products and services. For this reason, it cannot be completely relied upon to offer objective information about EI.

S. Hein
Dec 7, 2007

November 26, 2008

Here are a few more notes related to the Trait EI and the Wikipedia page

Item 1

With respect to the content on "Trait EI" on the Wikipedia page, here were a few things worthy of note.

Here is a comment that was added with regard to the test being promoted by Reuven BarOn and Multihealth Systems:

... in scientific settings (see, e.g., Kluemper, 2008) it is being replaced by the trait emotional intelligence (trait EI) model discussed below.

There is, however, no support for this claim.

Item 2

Someone has been putting the link to the Petrides website second on the list of the external links. Recently, someone has added a link to another website which promotes Petrides' model. It says the page provides a "concise summary," supposedly of EI models. In that link, it says "at present, there are 3 main accepted models of emotional intelligence" and they put Trait EI second on the list. One might wonder if it is a coincidence that this site comes from the UK ( http://www.aboutintelligence.co.uk ). The readers' comments are also worth having a look at from this site, as they seem a bit suspiciously simplistic and positive. One more noteworthy aspect of this site is the three locations for Google Ads on one page.


Item 3

IP address recently took out the link to John Mayer's website and replaced it with a link to this website


This quote was taken from the KV Petrides website at the Institute of Education (connected with the University of London).


Here is a back up of the page as of 2/2009.

Since the page says it will be taken down in due course, here is a link to the archive.org page: