How Can We Measure EI?
There are several tests for what is broadly called emotional intelligence. The three well-known scales are the Bar-On Emotional Quotient Inventory, the Emotional Intelligence Scale, and the MSCEIT (Salovey et. al., 2004). The MSCEIT, compared to the other tests, is the one that has the least amount of overlap with other psychological constructs and analytic intelligence, showing it to be a significantly separable and unique construct according to current psychology. (FYI, psychological constructs can include personality, such as the Big Five of openness, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness, neuroticism). The MSCEIT is made up of eight task groups, two for each branch of emotional intelligence as defined by Salovey and Mayer (1990). The four branches of EI represent a hierarchy of abilities:
- Perceiving emotion
- Using emotions to facilitate thought
- Understanding emotions
- Managing emotions
The MSCEIT is not a self-report measure; it puts you through a set of tasks that demonstrates your skill. Examples of tasks are:
- Identifying emotions in faces,
- Identifying which emotions would best facilitate a type of thinking, and
- Identifying which emotion would be created by blending two distinct emotions.
How Do Positive Psychology and EI Differ, and How Are They the Same?
Positive psychology is a sub-field of psychology that, as Chris Peterson puts it, “seriously examines that which makes life worth living.” In general terms, it is the study of successful and happy individuals and organizations. Such topics of study include strengths of character and virtue, personal meaning in the workplace, and how to build these things into our lives and organizations. These topics surely impact our emotions, even when the topic is not our positive mood or emotion itself. Success elicits particular emotions, usually positive, and particular emotions (usually positive) can elicit higher performance. Character and virtues are not about emotions necessarily. They are about pragmatic and moral attitudes and behaviors that can help facilitate success. And thriving organizations typically are built through action and group processes that are attached to group performance, not group ethos.
Emotional intelligence on the other hand is all about the internal emotional awareness of the individual. As studied and defined by Salovey, Mayer, and Caruso (2004), emotional intelligence includes four branches of “abilities.” Can people perceive their emotions? Can they facilitate specific thoughts through the use of their emotions? Do they understand their emotions and relationships among them? Can they manage their emotions, and emotions within relationships with others?
What these two fields have in common is the broad study of emotions. At the same time, positive psychology isn’t limited to emotions, and within emotions, positive psychology mostly limits itself to the study of positive emotions. (Positive psychology does not study jealousy and depression, for example). So there is overlap.
In my next article, I ask where do Positive Psychology and EI overlap?
Mayer, J. D. (2004). Emotional Intelligence: Key Readings on the Mayer and Salovey Model. Dude Publishing.
Salovey, P., Caruso, D., & Mayer, J. D. (2004) Emotional intelligence in practice. In P. A. Linley & S. Joseph (Eds.) In P. A. Linley & S. Joseph (Eds.). Positive Psychology in Practice. (pp. 447-463). Hoboken, NJ: J. Wiley & Sons.
Salovey, P., Mayer, J. D. (1990). Emotional intelligence. Imagination, Cognition and Personality, 9, 185-211.