Emotional Intelligence has of course existed long before this label appeared however it
does give us some useful models to explore this important topic. Mayer,Salovey and Caruso’s model provides a useful basis for discussion. They refer to the four branches of Emotional Intelligence:
- Perceiving Emotions – the ability to accurately identify facial expression, non-verbal signals and minimal cues in others regarding emotion. This is also extended to the ability to recognise emotion in art.
- Using Emotions to Facilitate Thinking – by knowing how emotions affect our thinking and how to utilise our emotions we can become more effective at problem solving, reasoning, decision making and creativity.
- Understanding Emotions – The ability to accurately label emotions and understand how one emotion can lead to another. For example understanding how irritation can escalate to anger.
- Managing Emotions – The ability to manage emotions in both yourself and others without resorting to unhealthy suppression of feelings.
The MSCEIT (Mayer, Salovey & Caruso Emotional Intelligence Test) measures all four branches independently. As with the more familiar IQ test there are right and wrong
answers. People taking the test can also score high on one branch and low on another.
The MSCEIT is a robust psychometric in that it has, and continues to have, academic checks. In the earliest days the answers were based on three approaches; consensus, expert and target scoring.
Consensus scoring is based on what the majority judge to be the right answer, in this case a growing population of 5000 in the early days. The expert scoring was based on the
feedback of a number of leading experts in the field other than the designers. Target
scoring is assessing that “it does what it says on the tin”.
There are criticisms of all three of these types of scoring however this still provides a good
academic measure. (for more information about the criticisms contact me for a copy of my paper).
There is some debate about whether Emotional Intelligence can be learned or is it innate, even among the academics. In my opinion it can be improved and I will share with you in later blogs how to do this.
Next week I will focus on the first branch of this model, providing a bit more background and some ideas about how to improve this part of emotional intelligence.