Ability-Related Emotional Intelligence: Knowns, Unknowns, and Future Directions

A special issue of Journal of Intelligence (ISSN 2079-3200).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (2 September 2023) | Viewed by 25231

Special Issue Editor


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Guest Editor
Department of Psychology, Dept. 2765, North Dakota State University, P.O. Box 6050, Fargo, ND 58108-6050, USA
Interests: personality; cognition; emotion; individual differences; emotional intelligence; social competence; health; self-regulation

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Emotionally intelligent people are thought to be more skilled in recognizing, thinking about, using, and regulating emotions, both with respect to the self and others. Something akin to emotional intelligence had been proposed by intelligence theorists such as Thorndike (1920) and Gardner (1983), but its systematic study is more recent. Salovey and Mayer (1990) provided initial guidance in the field, and Goleman (1995) popularized the construct. Critics soon emerged, and some suggested that emotional intelligence cannot be distinguished from other individual difference classes such as personality. There is now some consensus that ability-related measures of emotional intelligence cannot be equated with personality traits, but there are questions about whether measures of this type possess substantial value in predicting real-world outcomes. Though significant questions remain, this field has matured, and it makes sense to take stock of what we have learned so far as well as what we might learn in the future, as encapsulated by the Special Issue‘s working title of “Ability-Related Emotional Intelligence: Knowns, Unknowns, and Future Directions“. This Special Issue would focus on questions of assessment, mechanisms, and predictive potential in multiple domains of functioning (e.g., the work domain) and would seek to capitalize on recent developments in making a case in favor of the emotional intelligence construct. Contributions should focus on ability-related (rather than trait-related) conceptions, though intervention perspectives are also welcome.

Gardner, Howard. (1983). Frames of mind. New York: Basic Books.
Goleman, Daniel. (1995). Emotional intelligence. New York: Bantam.
Salovey, Peter, and Mayer, John, D. (1990). Emotional intelligence. Imagination, Cognition and Personality, 9: 185-211.
Thorndike, Edward L. (1920). Intelligence and its uses. Harper’s Magazine, 140: 227-235.

Please note that the “Planned Papers” Section on the webpage does not imply that these papers will eventually be accepted; all manuscripts will be subject to the journal’s normal and rigorous peer review process.

Prof. Dr. Michael D. Robinson
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

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Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a double-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Journal of Intelligence is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2600 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • emotional intelligence
  • individual differences
  • assessment
  • training
  • real-world outcomes

Published Papers (11 papers)

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Research

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18 pages, 366 KiB  
Article
Exploring Actual and Presumed Links between Accurately Inferring Contents of Other People’s Minds and Prosocial Outcomes
by Sara D. Hodges, Murat Kezer, Judith A. Hall and Jacquie D. Vorauer
J. Intell. 2024, 12(2), 13; https://doi.org/10.3390/jintelligence12020013 - 26 Jan 2024
Viewed by 1217
Abstract
The term “empathic accuracy” has been applied to people’s ability to infer the contents of other people’s minds—that is, other people’s varying feelings and/or thoughts over the course of a social interaction. However, despite the ease of intuitively linking this skill to competence [...] Read more.
The term “empathic accuracy” has been applied to people’s ability to infer the contents of other people’s minds—that is, other people’s varying feelings and/or thoughts over the course of a social interaction. However, despite the ease of intuitively linking this skill to competence in helping professions such as counseling, the “empathic” prefix in its name may have contributed to overestimating its association with prosocial traits and behaviors. Accuracy in reading others’ thoughts and feelings, like many other skills, can be used toward prosocial—but also malevolent or morally neutral—ends. Prosocial intentions can direct attention towards other people’s thoughts and feelings, which may, in turn, increase accuracy in inferring those thoughts and feelings, but attention to others’ thoughts and feelings does not necessarily heighten prosocial intentions, let alone outcomes. Full article
38 pages, 661 KiB  
Article
Development and Validation of an Ability Measure of Emotion Understanding: The Core Relational Themes of Emotion (CORE) Test
by James L. Floman, Marc A. Brackett, Matthew L. LaPalme, Annette R. Ponnock, Sigal G. Barsade and Aidan Doyle
J. Intell. 2023, 11(10), 195; https://doi.org/10.3390/jintelligence11100195 - 09 Oct 2023
Viewed by 2204
Abstract
Emotion understanding (EU) ability is associated with healthy social functioning and psychological well-being. Across three studies, we develop and present validity evidence for the Core Relational Themes of Emotions (CORE) Test. The test measures people’s ability to identify relational themes underlying 19 positive [...] Read more.
Emotion understanding (EU) ability is associated with healthy social functioning and psychological well-being. Across three studies, we develop and present validity evidence for the Core Relational Themes of Emotions (CORE) Test. The test measures people’s ability to identify relational themes underlying 19 positive and negative emotions. Relational themes are consistencies in the meaning people assign to emotional experiences. In Study 1, we developed and refined the test items employing a literature review, expert panel, and confusion matrix with a demographically diverse sample. Correctness criteria were determined using theory and prior research, and a progressive (degrees of correctness) paradigm was utilized to score the test. In Study 2, the CORE demonstrated high internal consistency and a confirmatory factor analysis supported the unidimensional factor structure. The CORE showed evidence of convergence with established EU ability measures and divergent relationships with verbal intelligence and demographic characteristics, supporting its construct validity. Also, the CORE was associated with less relational conflict. In Study 3, the CORE was associated with more adaptive and less maladaptive coping and higher well-being on multiple indicators. A set of effects remained, accounting for variance from a widely used EU test, supporting the CORE’s incremental validity. Theoretical and methodological contributions are discussed. Full article
16 pages, 1075 KiB  
Article
Ability Emotional Intelligence and Subjective Happiness in Adolescents: The Role of Positive and Negative Affect
by Desirée Llamas-Díaz, Rosario Cabello, Raquel Gómez-Leal, María José Gutiérrez-Cobo, Alberto Megías-Robles and Pablo Fernández-Berrocal
J. Intell. 2023, 11(8), 166; https://doi.org/10.3390/jintelligence11080166 - 16 Aug 2023
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1775
Abstract
Adolescence is an increasingly vulnerable period for the onset of affective disorders and other mental health issues that can significantly impact an individual’s subjective well-being. This study aims to examine the relationship between emotional intelligence (ability EI), measured with a performance-based instrument, and [...] Read more.
Adolescence is an increasingly vulnerable period for the onset of affective disorders and other mental health issues that can significantly impact an individual’s subjective well-being. This study aims to examine the relationship between emotional intelligence (ability EI), measured with a performance-based instrument, and Subjective Happiness in adolescents. It also explores the mediating role of positive (PA) and negative affect (NA) in this association and the moderating role of gender. The sample consisted of 333 first-year secondary school students from five centers in Spain, with an average age of 12.11 years (SD = 0.64), ranging from 11–14 years. Path analysis revealed an indirect effect (through NA and PA jointly) of Total Ability EI on Subjective Happiness and a positive direct effect that was observed only in females. Furthermore, this association was explored through various branches of ability EI. The results of this study suggest that interventions aimed at improving emotional abilities in adolescents while modulating the intensity of their emotions could significantly impact their overall well-being. Full article
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33 pages, 872 KiB  
Article
The Meso-Expression Test (MET): A Novel Assessment of Emotion Perception
by Matthew L. LaPalme, Sigal G. Barsade, Marc A. Brackett and James L. Floman
J. Intell. 2023, 11(7), 145; https://doi.org/10.3390/jintelligence11070145 - 19 Jul 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 2980
Abstract
Emotion perception is a primary facet of Emotional Intelligence (EI) and the underpinning of interpersonal communication. In this study, we examined meso-expressions—the everyday, moderate-intensity emotions communicated through the face, voice, and body. We theoretically distinguished meso-expressions from other well-known emotion research paradigms (i.e., [...] Read more.
Emotion perception is a primary facet of Emotional Intelligence (EI) and the underpinning of interpersonal communication. In this study, we examined meso-expressions—the everyday, moderate-intensity emotions communicated through the face, voice, and body. We theoretically distinguished meso-expressions from other well-known emotion research paradigms (i.e., macro-expression and micro-expressions). In Study 1, we demonstrated that people can reliably discriminate between meso-expressions, and we created a corpus of 914 unique video displays of meso-expressions across a race- and gender-diverse set of expressors. In Study 2, we developed a novel video-based assessment of emotion perception ability: The Meso-Expression Test (MET). In this study, we found that the MET is psychometrically valid and demonstrated measurement equivalence across Asian, Black, Hispanic, and White perceiver groups and across men and women. In Study 3, we examined the construct validity of the MET and showed that it converged with other well-known measures of emotion perception and diverged from cognitive ability. Finally, in Study 4, we showed that the MET is positively related to important psychosocial outcomes, including social well-being, social connectedness, and empathic concern and is negatively related to alexithymia, stress, depression, anxiety, and adverse social interactions. We conclude with a discussion focused on the implications of our findings for EI ability research and the practical applications of the MET. Full article
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21 pages, 944 KiB  
Article
Training Emotional Intelligence Online: An Evaluation of WEIT 2.0
by Marco Jürgen Held, Theresa Fehn, Iris Katharina Gauglitz and Astrid Schütz
J. Intell. 2023, 11(6), 122; https://doi.org/10.3390/jintelligence11060122 - 15 Jun 2023
Viewed by 2020
Abstract
With the growing popularity of online courses, there is an increasing need for scientifically validated online interventions that can improve emotional competencies. We addressed this demand by evaluating an extended version of the Web-Based Emotional Intelligence Training (WEIT 2.0) program. Based on the [...] Read more.
With the growing popularity of online courses, there is an increasing need for scientifically validated online interventions that can improve emotional competencies. We addressed this demand by evaluating an extended version of the Web-Based Emotional Intelligence Training (WEIT 2.0) program. Based on the four-branch model of emotional intelligence, WEIT 2.0 focuses on improving participants’ emotion perception and emotion regulation skills. A total of 214 participants were randomly assigned to the training group (n = 91) or a waiting list control group (n = 123) to evaluate short-term (directly after WEIT 2.0) and long-term intervention effects (8 weeks later). Two-way MANOVAs and mixed ANOVAs showed significant treatment effects for self-reported emotion perception of the self, as well as emotion regulation of the self and others, after 8 weeks. No significant treatment effects were found for self-reported emotion perception in others or for performance-based emotion perception or emotion regulation. Moderator analyses revealed no significant effects of digital affinity on training success from the pretest to the posttest. The findings suggest that components of self-reported emotional intelligence can be enhanced through WEIT 2.0, but performance-based emotional intelligence cannot. Further research is needed on the online training of emotional intelligence and the mechanisms that underlie training success. Full article
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Review

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22 pages, 451 KiB  
Review
Embracing the Emotion in Emotional Intelligence Measurement: Insights from Emotion Theory and Research
by Marcello Mortillaro and Katja Schlegel
J. Intell. 2023, 11(11), 210; https://doi.org/10.3390/jintelligence11110210 - 01 Nov 2023
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 2836
Abstract
Emotional intelligence (EI) has gained significant popularity as a scientific construct over the past three decades, yet its conceptualization and measurement still face limitations. Applied EI research often overlooks its components, treating it as a global characteristic, and there are few widely used [...] Read more.
Emotional intelligence (EI) has gained significant popularity as a scientific construct over the past three decades, yet its conceptualization and measurement still face limitations. Applied EI research often overlooks its components, treating it as a global characteristic, and there are few widely used performance-based tests for assessing ability EI. The present paper proposes avenues for advancing ability EI measurement by connecting the main EI components to models and theories from the emotion science literature and related fields. For emotion understanding and emotion recognition, we discuss the implications of basic emotion theory, dimensional models, and appraisal models of emotion for creating stimuli, scenarios, and response options. For the regulation and management of one’s own and others’ emotions, we discuss how the process model of emotion regulation and its extensions to interpersonal processes can inform the creation of situational judgment items. In addition, we emphasize the importance of incorporating context, cross-cultural variability, and attentional and motivational factors into future models and measures of ability EI. We hope this article will foster exchange among scholars in the fields of ability EI, basic emotion science, social cognition, and emotion regulation, leading to an enhanced understanding of the individual differences in successful emotional functioning and communication. Full article
18 pages, 1601 KiB  
Review
State Emotional Clarity Is an Indicator of Fluid Emotional Intelligence Ability
by Nathaniel S. Eckland and Renee J. Thompson
J. Intell. 2023, 11(10), 196; https://doi.org/10.3390/jintelligence11100196 - 10 Oct 2023
Viewed by 1565
Abstract
Emotional clarity is one facet of emotional intelligence that refers to one’s meta-understanding of and ability to identify and describe feelings. The existing research has largely focused on trait emotional clarity and its benefits for greater psychological well-being, more successful emotion regulation/coping, and [...] Read more.
Emotional clarity is one facet of emotional intelligence that refers to one’s meta-understanding of and ability to identify and describe feelings. The existing research has largely focused on trait emotional clarity and its benefits for greater psychological well-being, more successful emotion regulation/coping, and diminished psychopathology. Researchers have begun to examine state or momentary emotional clarity in daily life. In this paper, we situate emotional clarity within the larger literature on emotional intelligence abilities. Then, we argue that state clarity relies on the ability to incorporate information from the dynamic contexts that emotions unfold in and should more closely reflect one’s emotional intelligence ability relative to traditional trait measures. In addition, we review and make recommendations for measuring state emotional clarity in daily life and propose future research directions, focusing on how state emotional clarity could inform the study of emotion regulation, decision making, and goal pursuit in daily life. Full article
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17 pages, 927 KiB  
Review
Resilience as the Ability to Maintain Well-Being: An Allostatic Active Inference Model
by Christian E. Waugh and Anthony W. Sali
J. Intell. 2023, 11(8), 158; https://doi.org/10.3390/jintelligence11080158 - 07 Aug 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1262
Abstract
Resilience is often characterized as the outcome of well-being maintenance despite threats to that well-being. We suggest that resilience can also be characterized as an emotional-intelligence-related ability to obtain this outcome. We formulate an allostatic active inference model that outlines the primary tools [...] Read more.
Resilience is often characterized as the outcome of well-being maintenance despite threats to that well-being. We suggest that resilience can also be characterized as an emotional-intelligence-related ability to obtain this outcome. We formulate an allostatic active inference model that outlines the primary tools of this resilience ability as monitoring well-being, maintaining stable well-being beliefs while updating situational beliefs and flexibly prioritizing actions that are expected to lead to well-being maintenance or gathering the information needed to discern what those actions could be. This model helps to explain the role of positive emotions in resilience as well as how people high in resilience ability use regulatory flexibility in the service of maintaining well-being and provides a starting point for assessing resilience as an ability. Full article
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17 pages, 1123 KiB  
Review
Emotional Intelligence as Evaluative Activity: Theory, Findings, and Future Directions
by Michael D. Robinson, Muhammad R. Asad and Roberta L. Irvin
J. Intell. 2023, 11(6), 125; https://doi.org/10.3390/jintelligence11060125 - 20 Jun 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 3345
Abstract
The question of whether ability-related emotional intelligence (ability EI) predicts important life outcomes has attracted considerably more attention than the question of what ability EI consists of. In the present paper, the authors draw from the attitude and emotion literatures to suggest that [...] Read more.
The question of whether ability-related emotional intelligence (ability EI) predicts important life outcomes has attracted considerably more attention than the question of what ability EI consists of. In the present paper, the authors draw from the attitude and emotion literatures to suggest that the evaluation dimension of meaning is likely key in understanding how ability EI operates. Measures of ability EI predict the extent to which individuals can accurately evaluate words and measures of the latter type act as emotional intelligence measures. Extending this analysis, the paper reviews recent sources of data linking ability EI to attitudinal processes, such as those involved in attitude–behavior relationships and affective bipolarity. Individuals with high EI appear to experience their affect in more bipolar terms and they display evidence of greater decisiveness in their evaluations. Pursuing links of the present type will allow researchers to generate new predictions concerning the ability EI construct. Full article
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Other

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16 pages, 626 KiB  
Concept Paper
With Great Sensitivity Comes Great Management: How Emotional Hypersensitivity Can Be the Superpower of Emotional Intelligence
by Marina Fiori, Ashley K. Vesely-Maillefer, Maroussia Nicolet-Dit-Félix and Christelle Gillioz
J. Intell. 2023, 11(10), 198; https://doi.org/10.3390/jintelligence11100198 - 11 Oct 2023
Viewed by 2808
Abstract
With the goal of furthering the understanding and investigation of emotional intelligence (EI), the present paper aims to address some of the characteristics that make EI a useful skill and, ultimately, a predictor of important life outcomes. Recently, the construct of hypersensitivity has [...] Read more.
With the goal of furthering the understanding and investigation of emotional intelligence (EI), the present paper aims to address some of the characteristics that make EI a useful skill and, ultimately, a predictor of important life outcomes. Recently, the construct of hypersensitivity has been presented as one such necessary function, suggesting that high-EI individuals are more sensitive to emotions and emotional information than low-EI individuals. In this contribution, we aim to shift the perception of hypersensitivity, which is mostly seen with a negative connotation in the literature, to the perspective that hypersensitivity has the capacity to result in both negative and positive outcomes. We advance this possibility by discussing the characteristics that distinguish hypersensitive individuals who are also emotionally intelligent from those who are not. Based on an emotion information processing approach, we posit that emotional intelligence stems from the ability to manage one’s level of hypersensitivity: high-EI individuals are those who are better able to use hypersensitivity as an adaptive rather than a disabling feature. Ultimately, we propose that hypersensitivity can represent a sort of “superpower” that, when paired with regulatory processes that balance this hypersensitivity, characterizes the functioning of high-EI individuals and accounts for the positive outcomes reported in the literature. Full article
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14 pages, 1051 KiB  
Essay
Reconceptualizing Emotion Recognition Ability
by Konstantinos Kafetsios and Ursula Hess
J. Intell. 2023, 11(6), 123; https://doi.org/10.3390/jintelligence11060123 - 19 Jun 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1333
Abstract
Emotion decoding accuracy (EDA) plays a central role within the emotional intelligence (EI) ability model. The EI-ability perspective typically assumes personality antecedents and social outcomes of EI abilities, yet, traditionally, there has been very limited research to support this contention. The present paper [...] Read more.
Emotion decoding accuracy (EDA) plays a central role within the emotional intelligence (EI) ability model. The EI-ability perspective typically assumes personality antecedents and social outcomes of EI abilities, yet, traditionally, there has been very limited research to support this contention. The present paper argues that the way in which EDA has been conceptualized and operationalized in EI research has ignored developments in social perception theory and research. These developments point, on one hand, to the importance of embedding emotion expressions in a social context and, on the other, to reformulating the definitions of emotion decoding accuracy. The present paper outlines the importance of context in the framework of a truth and bias model of the social perception of emotions (Assessment of Contextualized Emotions, ACE) for EI abilities. Full article
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