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Measures of emotional intelligence

Author: Dr Simon Moss


Emotional intelligence has become a very popular concept in professional settings and is even analyzed in the academic domain. The concept of emotional intelligence emanated from the notion of social intelligence, promulgated by Thorndike (1920), which referred to the capacity to understand other individuals and act appropriately during social interactions. Gardner (1993) extended the concept of social intelligence to include both intrapersonal facets--the capacity of individuals to regulate themselves suitably and differentiate their feelings--and interpersonal facets--the capacity to interact with other individuals optimally, accommodating subtle differences in the mood, intentions, and motivations of another person.

Salovey and Mayer (1990) popularized the term emotional intelligence, which represents the capacity of individuals to appraise, monitor, discriminate, identity, utilize, and regulate emotions--regarded as a subset of social intelligence. Many facets of emotional intelligence have been distinguished. Goleman (1995), for example, distinguished between awareness of the self, motivating the self, management of emotions, empathy, and handling relationships. Salovey and Mayer (1990), in contrast, distinguished four facets: accurate perception, appraisal, and expression of emotions& capacity to generate suitable feelings to facilitate& an understanding of emotions& and the capacity to regulate emotions to promote growth.

A variety of measures have been developed to assess emotional intelligence (for reviews, see Brackett & Mayer, 2003). Some of these measures assess abilities--in which a correct or optimal answer has been developed. Other measures, in contrast, involve self report of emotional experiences. Self report measures might not correspond to traditional concepts of intelligence but are, usually, easier to administer.

Nelis, Quoidbach, Mikolajczak, and Hansenne (2009) distinguished three facets of emotional intelligence: knowledge, abilities, and traits. Knowledge refers to insights about emotional contexts. Abilities represent the capacity this knowledge in a particular setting--how they can behave. Traits the propensity of individuals in specific emotional contexts--how they do rather than can behave.

Hallmarks of optimal tests

According to MacCann and Roberts (2008), an optimal test of emotional intelligence should fulfil a few key principles. First, performance should relate positively to other forms of intelligence& usually, tests of intelligence are correlated with each other. Second, emotional intelligence tests should be more related to one another than to other forms intelligence. Third, performance should predict behavior in domains that are related to emotions, such as resilience or coping. Finally, performance should only be moderately related to personality.

Heritability of emotional intelligence

Vernon, Bratko, and Schermer (2008) showed that about 40% of the variance in emotional intelligence can be ascribed to genes. In this study, 213 pairs of identical twins and 103 pairs of same sex but fraternal twins completed an emotional intelligence measure that gauges emotion expression, management, perception, regulation, and other interpersonal characteristics. In general, about 40% of the variance of each facet of emotional intelligence, and overall emotional intelligence, could be explained by genes--an estimate that can be derived from the degree to which the correlation between identical twins is higher than is the correlation between fraternal twins.

This result is consistent with the argument that emotional intelligence is a personality trait. That is, genes explain about 40% of the variance in personality, but appreciably less variance in attitudes, such as job satisfaction, and appreciably more variance in cognitive ability.

Ability tests of emotional intelligence

Situational test of emotional understanding (STEU)

MacCann and Roberts (2008) developed the situational test of emotional understanding. This test is designed to ascertain the capacity of individuals to understand emotions--that is, to predict the likely changes in emotions they will experience in response to specific events.

Individuals receive a set of 42 questions. For each question, a short scenario is described, such as Clara receives a gift. Clara is most likely to feel.... Next, four alternatives are presented, such as happy, angry, frightened, bored, or hungry. The correct answer is derived from appraisal theory, developed by Roseman (2001). Example items include:

MacCann and Roberts (2008) showed the situational test of emotional understanding is indeed a valid test of emotional intelligence. First, this test was correlated with vocabulary, university grades, and age, but was relatively independent of personality--and thus assessed a form of intelligence.

Second, the situational test of emotional understanding is correlated with other measures of emotional intelligence: namely the stories test derived from the multifactor emotional intelligence scale (Mayer, Caruso, & Salovey, 2000) as well as the situational test of emotion management, which was also developed by MacCann and Roberts (2008). More importantly, these associations persisted even after verbal ability was controlled. This finding implies these tests do not merely gauge intelligence. Nevertheless, the situational test of emotional understanding is more strongly related to verbal ability than to the stories test and, hence, might include a strong element of cognitive intelligence.

Similarly, the situational test of emotional understanding was inversely correlated with facets of alexithymia--the inability to label emotional experiences. Specifically, a thinking style that is focused on external objects, not social or emotional experiences, was inversely related to performance on this test (MacCann & Roberts, 2008). This finding concords with the proposition that awareness or detection of emotional phenomena is necessary before an understanding of emotions is developed.

Third, performance on the situational test of emotional understanding was associated with measures of wellbeing. That is, performance on this test was inversely related to distress but positively related to life satisfaction as well as academic achievement, even after controlling verbal ability.

This test offers several benefits over some other assessment procedures. First, the correct answer is derived from a validated framework. In particular, according to Roseman, the emotional response to some event depends on seven dimensions: whether the event is desired or not& whether the motivation is to minimize punishment or maximize rewards& whether the event was caused by the self, by another person, or by circumstance& whether the event was expected or not& whether the event has already eventuated or might eventuate& whether the event can be controlled or not& and whether the issue relates to instrumental or intrinsic value. For example, relief follows events in which the event was desirable, the motivation was to minimize punishments, the event was not unexpected, and the event has already transpired. Joy is the same except the motivation was to maximize rewards not minimize punishment.

Hence, in this test, the answers are derived from a comprehensive theory of emotions. In other tests, such as the Understanding emotions of the MSCEIT, upon which the STEM is based, the answers represent conformity to a general population or to expert judges.

Situational test of emotion management (STEM)

In addition to constructing and validating the situational test of emotional understanding, MacCann and Roberts (2008) also developed the situational test of emotion management. This test is intended to assess emotion management--the capacity of individuals to regulate their emotions optimally, curbing negative feelings and fostering positive feelings.

This test comprises 44 items. For each item, a scenario is presented such as Lee's workmate fails to deliver an important piece of information on time, causing Lee to fall behind schedule also. Participants are then asked to select which of four strategies they feel the person should apply in this instance to improve emotions and manage the problem. Possible strategies might include: work harder to compensate, get angry with the workmate, explain the urgency of the situation to the workmate, or never rely on that workmate again. The items related to both work and personal life and depicted sadness, anger, fear, or disgust. Other examples of items include:

For each item, participants received a score that reflected the percentage of experts who choose each alternative. That is, experts on emotion management were sought to evaluate the efficacy of each option. These experts included relevant academics, professionals who facilitate emotional healing, and professionals involved in managing and helping individuals, such as life coaches.

Like the situational test of emotional understanding, MacCann and Roberts (2008) showed the situational test of emotion management is also a valid test of emotional intelligence. That is, this test was correlated with vocabulary, university grades, and age, but was relatively independent of personality--and thus assessed a form of intelligence.

Second, the situational test of emotion management correlated with other measures of emotional intelligence, such as the stories test derived from the multifactor emotional intelligence scale. This association persisted even after verbal ability was controlled--and hence this test does not merely gauge intelligence.

Likewise, the situational test of emotion management was inversely correlated with facets of alexithymia--the inability to label emotional experiences. That is, a thinking style that is focussed on external objects, not social or emotional experiences, was inversely related to performance on this test (MacCann & Roberts, 2008). This finding concords with the proposition that awareness or detection of emotional phenomena is necessary before emotional regulation can be developed.

Third, performance on the situational test of emotion management was associated with measures of wellbeing. That is, performance on this test was inversely related to distress but positively related to life satisfaction as well as academic achievement, even after controlling verbal ability.

Furthermore, emotional intelligence, as measured by the Situational Test of Emotional Management, has been shown to facilitate both malevolent and benevolent goals. To illustrate, in one study, conducted by Cote, DeCelles, McCarthy, Van Kleef, and Hideg (2011), university students completed the Situational Test of Emotional Management and a test of cognitive ability, the Wonderlic Personnel Test. They also completed a test of Machiavellianism, reflecting the degree to people strive to manipulate, exploit, denigrate, and influence other people, epitomized by items such as "Anyone who completely trusts anyone else is asking for trouble". In addition, a week later, participants completed a scale that assessed the degree to which they engage in unsuitable interpersonal behaviors at work, such as publicly embarrass colleagues.

Unsurprisingly, if participants reported elevated levels of Machiavellianism, they were more likely to engage in unsuitable interpersonal behaviors at work. Interestingly, however, this association was especially pronounced in people who reported elevated levels of emotional management. These results persisted even after controlling cognitive ability, age, and sex.

As these results imply, emotional recognition could facilitate malevolent goals. Fortunately, emotional recognition can facilitate benevolent goals as well. Cote, DeCelles, McCarthy, Van Kleef, and Hideg (2011) undertook another study in which participants completed the Situational Test of Emotional Management. A month later, they completed a measure that assesses the degree to which morality is central to their identity or perception of themselves. For example, participants indicated the extent to which they desire to be caring and compassionate. Finally, they completed an exercise that assesses whether they would prefer to conserve scarce resources rather than maximize their own profit. As hypothesized, the association between moral identity and conservation of resources was especially pronounced when emotional management was elevated, even after controlling age and sex.

In short, emotional management may enable individuals to uncover the strategies as well as elicit the emotions that facilitate their progress on salient goals. These results imply that emotional management can also enable people to achieve nefarious or undesirable goals. Nevertheless, in general, emotional management was positively associated with moral identity and negatively associated with Machiavellianism (Cote, DeCelles, McCarthy, Van Kleef, & Hideg, 2011). Therefore, when emotional management is elevated, people are more inclined to pursue benevolent goals.

Malovey-Salovey-Caruso-Emotional Intelligence test (MSCEIT)

The MSCEIT, which is not available in the public domain, was developed by Mayer, Salovey, Caruso, and Sitarenios (2003). This test is designed to assess: (a) the capacity of individuals to recognize, perceive and express emotions as well as (b) integrate emotions into thoughts--collectively called experiential emotional intelligence. In addition, this test can assess (c) the capacity to understand how circumstances affect emotional experiences and (d) the ability to manage or to regulate emotions--collectively called strategic emotional intelligence. These four facets, called braches, are perceived to develop in order (see Salovey & Mayer, 1990) .

The MSCEIT represents a revised version of the multifactor emotional intelligence scale (Mayer, Salovey, & Caruso, 1997& Mayer, Caruso, & Salovey, 2000). The multifactor emotional intelligence scale comprises several subtests. One of the subtests, for example, is called the Stories test. Participants receive six stories, each comprising two or three sentences, depicting a person. Participants rate the extent to which they felt various emotions when they thought about the protagonist.

This multifactor emotional intelligence scale comprises 400 items, requiring up to two hours to complete. In contrast, the MSCEIT comprises 141 items and requires up to 45 minutes to complete. The MSCEIT comprises eight subtests. Some examples of these subtests include questions, such as:

For each subtest, both general populations and panels of experts have also completed all the items. Participants received elevated levels of performance if they choose options that align to the majority of the general population or expert panel. Typically, the psychometric properties of these instruments, as argued by Mayer, Salovey, and Caruso (1997), are more effective when norms from the population of interest rather than expert panels are used to evaluate performance.

The psychometric properties of the test is generally acceptable. Split-half reliability, for example, is .93 when the general population is used to gauge the bests answers and .91 when expert samples are used instead. For the four main braches, the reliability when the general population is used is: .91 for perceiving, .79 for facilitating, .80 for understanding, and .83 for managing emotions respectively.

Performance on the MSCEIT tends to correlate modestly with other measures of emotional intelligence. Correlations are .29 with the trait meta mood scale (see Gohm & Clore, 2000) and .21 with the Bar-On emotional intelligence inventory (see Brackett & Mayer, 2003), for example. Furthermore, performance on the MSCEIT is associated with various measures of social and psychological functioning (e.g., Tsaousis & Nikolaou, 2005), but only modestly associated with personality (e.g., Day & Carroll, 2004).

Self report tests

Wong and Law measure of emotional intelligence

Wong and Law (2002) developed a measure of emotional intelligence the items of which appear in their article in Leadership Quarterly. Participants specify the extent to which they agree or disagree with four sets of items. The four subscales, each of which include four items, include: self emotion appraisal, such as I really understand what I feel& others emotion appraisal, such as I am a good observer of others' emotions& use of emotions, such as I am a self motivated person & regulation of emotion, such as I have good control of my emotions.

To develop the questionnaire, several phases were undertaken. In particular:

These studies revealed that all of the subscales, except regulation of emotion, was positively associated with life satisfaction. Second, responses on these subscales also correlated with other longer measures of emotional intelligence, such as the Trait meta mood scale and the Baron EQ-i. Third, confirmatory factor analysis supported the underlying factor structure. The comparative fit index (Bentler, 1990) was .95, and the Tucker-Lewis Index (Tucker & Lewis, 1973) was .93

In addition, emotional intelligence, as gauged by this scale, correlated with job satisfaction. This scale of emotional intelligence was also correlated with organizational commitment and intention to leave--but only in roles that demand elevated levels of emotional labor. Note that Wong and Law (2002) also developed their own measures of emotional labor.

The Swinburne University Emotional Intelligence Test (SUIET)

The SUEIT, developed by Palmer and Stough (2002), comprises 64 items and is not available in the public domain. The SUEIT was derived from a factor analysis that was applied to responses towards six other emotional intelligence scales such as the MSCEIT (Mayer, Salovey, & Caruso, 1999) and the Bar-On EQi (Bar-On, 1997). Five factors emerged& these factors included emotional recognition and expression (e.g., At work, I can detect my emotions as I experience them), emotions direct cognition (e.g., My moods and emotions help me generate new ideas), understanding emotions external (e.g., I can tell how colleagues are feeling at work), emotional management (e.g., I find it hard to reduce anxiety in colleagues) and emotional control (e.g., I can be upset at work and still think clearly). These five subscales resemble the hierarchical branch model of emotional intelligence (e.g., Mayer, Caruso, & Salovey, 2000& Salovey & Mayer, 1990& for support, see Ashkanasy, 2002& Wong & Law, 2002). Nevertheless, emotion management seems to comprise two distinct, but overlapping, dimensions. As reported by Palmer and Stough (2002) alpha reliabilities for the subscales ranged from.70 to .89, as gauged in a population of executives.

Seven factor model

Gignac (2010) differentiated seven factors of emotional intelligence. In particular, participants completed a specific measure of emotional intelligence, called the Genos Emotional Intelligent scale, derived from reviews and analyses of previous instruments. Confirmatory factor analysis uncovered 7 factors:

Trait meta mood scale

The trait meta mood scale is often used to assess attention to feelings, clarity of feelings, and mood repair--which corresponds to some of the key facets of emotional intelligence (see Salovey, Mayer, Goldman, Turvey, & Palfia, 1995). The original scale comprises 30 items, although shorter versions have been developed. An item that reflects attention to feelings includes I often think about my feelings. An item that relates to clarity of feelings includes I almost always know exactly how I am feeling. Although popular, this measure does not represent all the facets of emotional intelligence that are often differentiated, such as use of emotions or understanding emotions.

BarOn EQ-i

The BarOn EQ-i instrument, developed by Bar-On (1997), comprises 133 items. This measure of emotional intelligence is very broad, comprising facets that transcend classical definitions of emotional intelligence, such as problem solving and social responsibility.

Short measures

Several short measures of emotional intelligence have been developed. Goleman (1995) developed a measure of emotional intelligence that comprises 10 items. This scale, however, has not been validated empirically. Weisinger (1998) also developed a short measure that has not been validated.

Other measures

Many other measures, involving self report, have also been developed. The Trait Emotional Intelligence Questionnaire, for example, comprises 153 items, 15 subscales, and 4 primary factors: wellbeing, self control, emotionality, and sociability (Petrides, 2009).

The emotional regulation profile questionnaire, discussed by Mikolajczak, Nelis, Hansenne, and Quoidbach (2008), assesses whether or not individuals utilize effective strategies to regulate their emotions. In particular, 12 scenarios, relating to anger, sadness, anxiety, jealousy, shame, or job, are presented. After each scenario, six potential responses are specified. Unbeknownst to participants, three of these options are regarded as desirable and involved positive reframing, seeking social support, and acceptance. Three options are regarded as undesirable, involving avoidance, substance abuse, or rumination. Participants specify the two options they are most likely to utilize and two options they are least likely to utilize.

Preliminary studies have validated the utility of this instrument. Internal consistency is approximately .72 (Nelis, Quoidbach, Mikolajczak, & Hansenne, 2009). Furthermore, emotional regulation, as gauged by this instrument, improved after individuals participated in training, intended to enhance emotional intelligence (Nelis, Quoidbach, Mikolajczak, & Hansenne, 2009).

Tests of automatic or unconscious emotional intelligence

Fiori (2009) suggested that researchers and practitioners should develop tests that gauge some of the automatic, instead of the intentional, processes that underpin emotional intelligence. According to Fiori, automatic processes include operations that are unintentional, unconscious, efficient, or uncontrollable. Past assessments, especially self-report measures, are confined to deliberate and conscious processes. These assessments, therefore, overlook many of the capabilities that individuals may have acquired.

Automatic processes that underpin the perception of emotions

To classify these automatic processes, Fiori (2009) invoked the model, promulgated by Mayer and Salovey, that distinguished four hierarchical branches of emotional intelligence. The first branch represented the degree to which people can perceive and recognize emotions in both themselves and other individuals, usually by processing nonverbal cues and sensations. Several paradigms have been developed that, arguably, assess the capacity of individuals to perceive emotions automatically.

To illustrate, the extent to which people can detect brief and subliminal emotions can be assessed. In one study, conducted by Matsumoto et al. (2000), a series of facial expressions were presented subliminally--that is, too rapidly to be recognized consciously. Individuals were asked to guess the emotion that each photograph depicted. Participants who often guessed these expressions correctly were more likely to adjust successfully after shifting to another nation (Yoo, Matsumoto, & LeRoux, 2006). The capacity to perceive emotions unconsciously may, therefore, reflect one facet of emotional intelligence.

Automatic processes that underpin the use of emotions to facilitate thought

The second branch of this model represents the degree to which individuals utilize their emotions to facilitate and clarify their judgments, decisions, and thoughts. To illustrate, consistent with the mood as input hypothesis, the emotions and mood of individuals should sometimes inform their decisions. Anxiety might indicate the environment is threatening and that people should be cautious. Yet, the emotions and mood of individuals should not bias all decisions: Individuals who feel upset because of one incident should not project these emotions onto other matters.

Several automatic processes might underpin the capacity to utilize emotions correctly to guide decisions. To illustrate, consistent with the concept of somatic markers, some people experience physiological responses, such as increases in skin conductance, in response to adverse possibilities, even before they are consciously aware of this impending problem. More pronounced physiological responses enhance performance on the Iowa gambling task (Carter & Smith-Pasqualini, 2004). In short, sensitivity to physiological responses to events may reflect a form of emotional intelligence.

Automatic processes that underpin the understanding of emotions

The third branch of this model represents the extent to which individuals understand both the causes and consequences of emotion. That is, this branch corresponds to whether people understand which situations evoke particular emotions.

According to Fiori (2009), the tendency of individuals to mimic and empathize with the emotions of another person automatically might underpin this branch. For example, mimicry sometimes implies that individuals understand the emotions another person is likely to feel in this setting. In addition, empathy is correlated with more intentional measures of understanding emotions (Mayer, DiPaolo, & Salovey, 1990).

Automatic mimicry and empathy can be assessed. For example, in one study, conducted by Sonnby-Borgtrom, Jonsson, and Svensson (2003), participants were exposed to angry and happy faces, presented for 17, 56, or 2350 ms. As gauged by measures of EMGs, only a portion of participants mimicked the expression of faces presented for 56 ms, a speed too rapid to be recognized consciously. This capacity was correlated to measures of empathy and has been shown to be more pronounced when individuals are motivated to establish relationships. Therefore, the ability to mimic automatically seems to reflect a feature of emotional intelligence.

Automatic processes that underpin the management of emotions

The final branch is called the management of emotions. This branch primarily, but not exclusively, reflects the ability of individuals to diminish undesirable emotions, in both themselves and other people. Many studies indicate that individuals can override or suppress negative emotions automatically.

One important study was conducted by Moon and Lord (2006). In essence, on each trial, participants were exposed to two pictures, each depicting one emotion. The two emotions were opposite in valence, and participants were directed to disregard one of these pictures. Next, a string of letters appeared, and participants needed to decide whether the letters were a legitimate word. The key trials related to when the picture that needed to be disregarded was opposite in valence to the word, such as a sad face followed by the word happy. Some participants were especially proficient on these trials. These participants, presumably, could more readily suppress the distracting emotions, arguably a measure of automatic emotional management. Certainly, their performance on these trials correlated with performance overall on this task as well.

Tests of specific qualities that relate to emotional intelligence

Assessment of alexithymia

The Toronto Alexithymia Scale, reported by (Bagby, Parker, & Taylor, 1994), is a measure that is designed to assess alexithymia--a limited ability to identify or describe feelings. Presumably, according to the hierarchical branch model of emotional intelligence (e.g., Mayer, Caruso, & Salovey, 2000& Salovey & Mayer, 1990& for support, see Ashkanasy, 2002& Wong & Law, 2002), this incapacity should compromise the capacity to integrate emotions, understand emotions, and regulate emotions as well. This scale comprises 20 items that relate to three subscales: difficulty identifying feelings, such as "I have feelings that I cannot quite identify"& difficulty describing feelings, such as "People tell me to describe my feelings more", and externally orientated thinking, such as "I find examination of my feelings useful in solving personal problems".

Nelis, Quoidbach, Mikolajczak, and Hansenne (2009) showed that alexthymia, as gauged by the Toronto Alexthymia Scale, diminishes after individuals participate in a program that was designed to improve emotional intelligence. Specifically, participants attended four training sessions, each lasting 2.5 hours, over the course of four weeks.

During the first session, role plays were convened to highlight the importance of emotions and emotional intelligence. The concept of emotional intelligence was also defined, and homework was assigned. During the second session, individuals considered the physiological responses, cognitions, and behaviors that tend to coincide with each emotion. Furthermore, techniques to decipher the emotions of other individuals, such as empathic questioning, were discussed. During the third session, exercises to evoke positive feelings were presented. Practices to cultivate the ability to utilize emotions effectively were conveyed. During the final session, coping strategies--such as positive reframing, acceptance of negative emotions, and social support rather than avoidance, substance abuse, or rumination--were discussed.

Relative to individuals who did not participate in these sessions, participants subsequently reported a decline in alexthymia. That is, their capacity to identify and describe their feelings improved. In this study, internal consistency was .82 (Nelis, Quoidbach, Mikolajczak, & Hansenne, 2009).

Diagnostic analysis of nonverbal accuracy

Nowicki and Duke (2001) developed a measure that gauges emotional recognition, called the diagnostic analysis of nonverbal accuracy. Participants are exposed to 24 photographs of adults, with various facial expressions. These participants were instructed to rate whether or not these people seem happy, sad, angry, or fearful. Cronbach's alpha is .78 (Nowicki & Duke, 2001). This test has been shown to predict suitable leadership behavior, at least in extraverted participants (Rubin, Munz, and Bommer, 2005).

Emotional differentiation

Some individuals refer to discrete emotions, such as anxiety or sadness, to depict their emotional experience. Other individuals, in contrast, merely refer to the degree to which their emotions are positive or negative. Emotional differentiation refers to the extent to which individuals distinguish discrete emotions, like anxiety and dejection.

Kashdan, Ferssizidis, Collins, and Muraven (2010) developed a procedure to measure emotional differentiation. Specifically, several times every day, over the course of three weeks, participants were prompted to evaluate the extent to which they feel six negative emotions: sadness, anxiety anger, tiredness, distraction, and fatigue. For each participant, the intraclass correlation with absolute agreement across these emotions was computed. A low correlation indicates the person discriminates across emotions, reflecting emotional differentiation. A high correlation indicates the person does not discriminate across the emotions.

This measure has been shown to predict substance abuse. Specifically, in the study conducted by Kashdan, Ferssizidis, Collins, and Muraven (2010), participants were also asked to indicate the extent to which they consume alcohol across three weeks. In general, if individuals experienced intense negative emotions, they were more inclined to consume alcohol. However, if they were able to differentiate these negative emotions, this intensity was not as strongly associated with alcohol use.

Conceivably, if individuals can discriminate their emotions effectively, they can more readily identify suitable strategies to manage these states. If they cannot differentiate emotions, they might apply strategies that are not suitable to their immediate state. A strategy that curbs anger, for example, might be applied to regulate anxiety. Emotional regulation, therefore, dissipates.

Interventions to improve emotional intelligence


Nelis, Weytens, and Dupuis (2011) developed an intervention that is intended to foster emotional intelligence. The intervention spanned 18 hours, either 6 three-hour sessions or 3 six-hour sessions. Each session was designed to enhance one emotional competence. For example, these sessions enhanced the capacity of individuals to understand emotions, identify their own emotions, identify the emotions of other people, regulate their emotions, regulate the emotions of other people, and utilize positive emotions to foster wellbeing. The sessions comprised formal lectures coupled with role plays, group discussions, and working in dyads. In addition, every day, participants had to recount an emotional experience in their diary. They applied the material they learnt in the session to analyze these emotional experiences.

To illustrate some of the insights and activities, to enhance the capacity of individuals to identify their emotions, they learned how to orient their attention to their bodily reactions, cognitions, and actions. To enhance their capacity to identify the emotions of other people, they learnt how to orient their attention to micro-expressions. They also learned about active listening and empathic listening. To enhance the ability of individuals to express their emotions appropriately, they learned how to articulate the facts, their emotions, their needs, and some possible solutions. To improve the regulation of emotions, the individuals learned about positive reappraisal, relaxation exercises, savoring, and other practices.

Participants completed a series of measures before and after this intervention. The intervention enhanced understanding and regulation of emotions relative to a control group-and these changes tended to last at least 6 months. Furthermore, training diminished neuroticism and increased agreeableness.

Kotsou, Nelis, and Gre (2011) also developed an intervention that improved emotional intelligence, and these improvements lasted at least one year. During this intervention, participants learnt about the association between triggers in the environment, beliefs, thoughts, emotions, and behaviors as well as how to regulate, utilize, and express emotions effectively. The intervention comprised 15 hours and a follow up email 4 weeks later. Relative to a control group, participants who completed this intervention were more likely to report greater emotional intelligence, as gauged by self and peer ratings on the Trait Emotional Intelligence Questionnaire. They also reported greater wellbeing as well as better social and marital relationships. Finally, cortisol secretion was lower as well. Many of these benefits were even observed one year later.

Related tests

Cultural intelligence

Ang, Van Dyne, Koh, Ng, Templer, Tay et al. (2007) developed a measure of cultural intelligence, comprising four subscales. The first subscale is called meta-cognitive cultural intelligence, epitomized by items like "I check the accuracy of my cultural knowledge as I interact with people from different cultures". This subscale reflects executive functions, like plans to facilitate the acquisition of knowledge about other cultures. The second subscale is called cognitive cultural intelligence. A typical item is "I know the rules for expressing non-verbal behaviors in other cultures", whereas the other items concern knowledge of religious beliefs, marriage practices, arts, legal systems, and language. The third subscale is called motivational cultural intelligence, with items like "I enjoy living in cultures that are unfamiliar to me". This subscale reflects the intrinsic motivation of individuals to interact with other cultures. The final subscale is behavioral. A sample item is "I change my non-verbal behavior when a cross-cultural situation requires it".

Imai and Gelfand (2010) also confirmed the psychometric properties of this scale. For each subscale, Cronbach's alpha approached or exceeded .90. Confirmatory factor analysis, in which the subscales were represented as separate factors, generated adequate fit: CFI = .91& RMSEA = .08.

Earley and Ang (2003) argue that cognitive ability or emotional intelligence does not necessarily predict the capacity of individuals to flourish in intercultural settings. Individuals might be able to decipher the emotions of someone in their own culture, but might not be able to extend this capacity to other cultures, for example. Consistent with this premise, cultural intelligence predicts wellbeing and adjustment in intercultural contexts, even after controlling cognitive ability and emotional intelligence (Ang et al., 2007).

Situational judgment tests

Situational judgment tests assess the capacity of individual to form suitable judgments in a variety of situations, somewhat analogous to practical intelligence. Typically, participants complete a questionnaire in which a hypothetical scenario, about a workplace matter or problem, is described--or watch a video that depicts this situation. Participants need to decide which of several actions is most suitable in response to each scenario (Chan, 2006& Chan & Schmitt, 1997, 2002).

To illustrate a typical question, participants might be informed that a customer is furious because a tradesperson from their organization has not arrived. They could then be asked whether they would firstly:

Several approaches can be utilized to uncover the best answers. For example, the most common response of experts or people in general can be designated as the best response. Alternatively, the best response can be extrapolated from a theory or study.

Many studies have established the benefits of situational judgment tests. For instance, if participants score highly on these tests, they tend to perform more effectively in their roles, especially if they are proactive and show initiative (Chan, 2006). Interestingly, if participants do not score highly on these tests, proactive personality is negatively related to job performance. Presumably, proactice individuals with limited judgment seem forceful but misguided.

Wise reasoning

Grossmann, Na, Varnum, Kitayama, and Nisbett (2013) developed a measure of wisdom in response to interpersonal or intergroup conflicts. This measure has shown to be strongly associated with many facets of wellbeing.

Specifically, the task of participants is to read newspapers articles about three intergroup tensions over ethnic differences, political matters, and natural resources respectively. After reading these articles, participants are instructed to answer a series of questions about how the conflict is likely to proceed, such as "What do you think will happen after that and why?" During the next session, participants completed a similar task again repeated the task, except the conflicts revolved around interpersonal tensions. To assess wise reasoning, independent judges rated the answers along various attributes, such as the degree to which the perspective of both parties was considered, the extent to which the person recognized many possibilities could unfold, and the degree to which the participant sought compromise.

These features of wisdom were associated with many facets of wellbeing. People who exhibited wisdom experienced greater relationship quality, less depression, and alluded to more positive words during a speech--even after controlling verbal ability, personality, and socioeconomic status. Furthermore, wisdom was positively associated with age.


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