Emotional Intelligence Assessments

Emotional intelligence (EI), also known as Emotional quotient (EQ) and Emotional Intelligence Quotient (EIQ), is the capability of individuals to recognize their own emotions and those of others, discern between different feelings and label them appropriately, use emotional information to guide thinking and behavior, and manage and/or adjust emotions to adapt to environments or achieve one's goals.

Although the term first appeared in a 1964 paper by Michael Beldoch, it gained popularity in the 1995 book by that title, written by author and science journalist Daniel Goleman. Since this time, Goleman's 1995 analysis of EI has been criticized within the scientific community, despite prolific reports of its usefulness in the popular press.

Empathy is typically associated with EI, because it relates to an individual connecting their personal experiences with those of others. However, a number of models exist that aim to measure levels of (empathy) EI. There are currently several models of EI. Goleman's original model may now be considered a mixed model that combines what has since been modeled separately as ability EI and trait EI. Goleman defined EI as the array of skills and characteristics that drive leadership performance.The trait model was developed by Konstantin VasilyPetrides in 2001. It "encompasses behavioral dispositions and self-perceived abilities and is measured through self-report". The ability model, developed by Peter Salovey and John Mayer in 2004, focuses on the individual's ability to process emotional information and use it to navigate the social environment.

Studies have shown that people with high EI have greater mental health, job performance, and leadership skills although no causal relationships have been shown and such findings are likely to be attributable to general intelligence and specific personality traits rather than emotional intelligence as a construct. For example, Goleman indicated that EI accounted for 67% of the abilities deemed necessary for superior performance in leaders and mattered twice as much as technical expertise or IQ. Other research finds that the effect of EI on leadership and managerial performance is non-significant when ability and personality are controlled for and that general intelligence correlates very closely with leadership. Markers of EI and methods of developing it have become more widely coveted in the past decade. In addition, studies have begun to provide evidence to help characterize the neural mechanisms of emotional intelligence.

Criticisms have centered on whether EI is a real intelligence and whether it has incremental validity over IQ and the Big Five personality traits.


The current measure of Mayer and Salovey's model of EI, the Mayer-Salovey-Caruso Emotional Intelligence Test (MSCEIT) is based on a series of emotion-based problem-solving items. Consistent with the model's claim of EI as a type of intelligence, the test is modeled on ability-based IQ tests. By testing a person's abilities on each of the four branches of emotional intelligence, it generates scores for each of the branches as well as a total score.

Central to the four-branch model is the idea that EI requires attunement to social norms. Therefore, the MSCEIT is scored in a consensus fashion, with higher scores indicating higher overlap between an individual's answers and those provided by a worldwide sample of respondents. The MSCEIT can also be expert-scored, so that the amount of overlap is calculated between an individual's answers and those provided by a group of 21 emotion researchers.

Although promoted as an ability test, the MSCEIT is unlike standard IQ tests in that its items do not have objectively correct responses. Among other challenges, the consensus scoring criterion means that it is impossible to create items (questions) that only a minority of respondents can solve, because, by definition, responses are deemed emotionally "intelligent" only if the majority of the sample has endorsed them. This and other similar problems have led some cognitive ability experts to question the definition of EI as a genuine intelligence.

In a study by Follesdal, the MSCEIT test results of 111 business leaders were compared with how their employees described their leader. It was found that there were no correlations between a leader's test results and how he or she was rated by the employees, with regard to empathy, ability to motivate, and leader effectiveness. Follesdal also criticized the Canadian company Multi-Health Systems, which administers the MSCEITtest. The test contains 141 questions but it was found after publishing the test that 19 of these did not give the expected answers. This has led Multi-Health Systems to remove answers to these 19 questions before scoring but without stating this officially.

Other Measurements

Various other specific measures have also been used to assess ability in emotional intelligence. These measures include:

1.Diagnostic Analysis of Non-verbal Accuracy- The Adult Facial version includes 24 photographs of equal amount of happy, sad, angry, and fearful facial expressions of both high and low intensities which are balanced by gender. The tasks of the participants is to answer which of the four emotions is present in the given stimuli.

2.Japanese and Caucasian Brief Affect Recognition test – Participants try to identify 56 faces of Caucasian and Japanese individuals expressing seven emotions such happiness, contempt, disgust, sadness, anger, surprise, and fear, which may also trail off for 0.2 seconds to a different emotion.

3. Levels of Emotional Awareness Scale – Participants reads 26 social scenes and answers their anticipated feelings and continuum of low to high emotional awareness.

Mixed Model

The model introduced by Daniel Golemanfocuses on EI as a wide array of competencies and skills that drive leadership performance. Goleman's model outlines five main EI constructs (for more details see "What Makes A Leader" by Daniel Goleman, best of Harvard Business Review 1998):

1.Self-awareness – the ability to know one's emotions, strengths, weaknesses, drives, values and goals and recognize their impact on others while using gut feelings to guide decisions.

2. Self-regulation – involves controlling or redirecting one's disruptive emotions and impulses and adapting to changing circumstances.

3. Social skill – managing relationships to move people in the desired direction

4. Empathy – considering other people's feelings especially when making decisions

5. Motivation – being driven to achieve for the sake of achievement

Goleman includes a set of emotional competencies within each construct of EI. Emotional competencies are not innate talents, but rather learned capabilities that must be worked on and can be developed to achieve outstanding performance. Goleman posits that individuals are born with a general emotional intelligence that determines their potential for learning emotional competencies.Goleman's model of EI has been criticized in the research literature as mere "pop psychology" (Mayer, Roberts, &Barsade, 2008).


Two measurement tools are based on the Goleman model:

1. The Emotional Competency Inventory (ECI), which was created in 1999, and the Emotional and Social Competency Inventory (ESCI), a newer edition of the ECI was developed in 2007. The Emotional and Social Competency – University Edition (ESCI-U) is also available. These tools developed by Goleman and Boyatzis provide a behavioral measure of the Emotional and Social competencies.

2. The Emotional Intelligence Appraisal, which was created in 2001 and which can be taken as a self-report or 360-degree assessment.

Request a Demo