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Notes from Handbook of Emotional Intelligence, Edited by R. Bar-On and J. Parker

I have been hearing about this book for a while, but last week I finally got my hands on one. (Today is May 13, 2001 )

The book starts out with a foreword by Dan Goleman. I found this very interesting since Goleman did not actually contribute any of his own writing to the contents of the book, other than having his name included in one article which was primarily written by Richard Boyatzis. Boyatzis, by the way, is believed by some to have supplied much of the material in Dan's 1998 book for the corporate world. This would explain why Boyatzis' name appeared so many times in that book. I had never heard of him before, but I saw his name so many times I actually went back and started counting! I suspected something was up but didn't know what. Since then I have also learned that the ECI 360 test Dan is promoting as a test of emotional intelligence is largely based on an old personality test designed by Boyatzis. In fact, Boyatzis himself admits that "about 40%" of the questions on the ECI 360 came directly from his old test! (p. 345 in the Bar-On Handbook)

I also find Dan's foreword particularly interesting in light of what appears to be a very sarcastic comment by Reuven Bar-On which was posted on EMONET recently. Dan wrote a friendly sounding message trying to get people to supply him with information for a new book he is working on. I immediately felt skeptical of this, knowing how he has proven his keen ability to take other people's work, profit from it, and then not give them due credit for their contribution. Then I read Reuven's stinging reply... Read the exchange for yourselves:

May 9, 2001

Hello Emoneters--

For a book on leadership, I'm trying to trace the linkages between
leaders, group emotions, and performance. So I'm looking for any data
that speaks to the following links:
1) Leader behavior and group mood or collective emotions. A special case
in emotional contagion, where a leader sets the emotional tone.
2) Emotions and performance--e.g., cognitive tasks, or, ideally,
business-related tasks or organizational setting (rather than a lab).
Please let me know of any work you may be doing--or know about--relevant
to this.
Thanks for any help--Daniel Goleman

Reuven was the first to reply:

He writes:

Daniel Goleman,

Regarding your first question, I would suggest reviewing some fascinating
material on the German leadership during the Third Reich (1933 to 1945 AC).
You might start with inspirational keynoters like Adolf Hitler and Joseph
Goebbels and the dynamic effect they had on their audience. This would
really give you a lot of material to work with about the linkage between
leaders, group emotions and performance. This is indeed a special case in
emotional contagion where a leader sets the emotional tone!

        Reuven Bar-On

Now, how was Reuven feeling when he wrote this? And how will Dan feel? And how will Dan respond? (my guess is he won't!) These guys might do well on their own tests, but, my oh my, where is their emotional literacy? Goleman seems to be one of the most emotionally supressed, emotionally manipulative and inauthentic people in the entire field of EI. I feel amused by Reuven's post, and admiration for him for his courage to say what he did and for his cleverness in the way he said it. Without using any feelings words, he expressed his feelings pretty well!

Okay, so now let's look at the Goleman foreword.

As usual, his writing is more lofty than need be. In just a page and a half, for example, he uses the word "seminal" not once, but twice!

I won't comment at length on the foreword, but I will say, though, that Goleman continues to mislead his readers. First, he implies that Reuven did work on EI before Salovey and Mayer. I can understand why he might say that -- to ensure his place in Reuven's book, but the fact is that Reuven was not studying emotional intelligence when he did his graduate work in South Africa in the 1980's. The term had not even entered the academic world until 1990. Reuven was studying well-being. Well-being and emotional intelligence are not the same thing. They may be related, but so far there have been no tests which prove there is a significant correlation between Reuven's well-being test and the MEIS or MSCEIT tests. I will say more about Reuven's test later.

The other way Dan misleads us in his foreword is when he says that a "handful" of "sound measures have emerged for assessing emotional intelligence." He is implying that the Bar-On test, and his ECI test, of course, are "sound measures" of EI. The truth, however, as far as I can tell from everything I know about this field, is that Reuven's test and Dan's test are simply not measures of emotional intelligence no matter what they, or their marketing people say.

Now here is how Dan wraps up the foreword:

The Handbook itself provides a rich feast of seminal findings and an even richer range of challenging questions that should stimulate important research. It will likely prove invaluable for those who seek to pursue the research that will carry this field to its next level of depth and clarity.

Now this sounded familiar, so I found another quote from Dan about a book he reviewed. There he said the book is a:

...groundbreaking overview of a significant emerging area of scholarly theory and research. As a connoisseur of the role of emotions in work, I found much to relish and learn from in this intellectual feast.

Judge for yourselves, but I think he sounds too much like a politician to be trusted.

Anyhow, so much for the foreword. The rest of the book is better.

Before I move on, though, I want to make a comment about the Acknowledgments. The editors say they want to thank the people at MHS for sharing their research data. Then they go on to say that "MHS is the world's leader in emotional intelligence assessment... " Well, first, this sounds like an advertisement. Second, MHS has only been selling Bar-On's personality/well-being test: the EQi. For them to call it a test of emotional intelligence is offensive to the field of psychological measurement. I am surprised that they have chosen to compromise their integrity just to profit from the interest in emotional intelligence. MHS, by the way, does have a contract to sell a legitimate test of EI, the MSCEIT, but they have been dragging their feet for over a year and a half and still have not released the test to anyone but researchers.

Anyhow, now on to the book. But first, if you are interested, here are my notes on the lead editor, Reuven Bar-On.

Ordering the book

If you decide you want to order the book, it would help me out if you ordered it here. The book costs $75 US on Amazon.com which means I will get about $7.50 if you order it from my site. So, let's see, if 133,000 people order the book from here, I will be a millionaire! Then I can keep on writing my witty reviews forever! Anyhow, here is the link to order the book.

And here is a copy of the Table of Contents:


Chapter 1 - Social intelligence; Chapter 2 - Social competence

The first chapter has nothing to do with emotional intelligence. I hesitate to call it a complete waste of time, but that is the expression which was running through my mind as I reviewed it. It may be a useful article if one is interested in social intelligence, but if one is interested in emotional intelligence, this is not a chapter to be read.

Why Reuven decided to include it in the book, let alone make it the first chapter is really beyond me. (I say Reuven because as the primary editor, and knowing a little about his personality, I assume he was calling the final shots.) I felt truly incredulous as I looked over the pages in this chapter. When I got to a section on minorities I wrote in the side margin: Why is this even here? I was referring specifically to that section, but the same question applies to the entire chapter. The best answer I could come up with for having this chapter in the book is that Bar-On or Parker have some hidden agenda for including it, such as perhaps having a personal relationship with the author or something. Anyhow, I won't waste any more words as I already feel wasteful for the time I spent trying to find some connection to emotional intelligence. I will just say that some are saying that EI falls under the larger category of social intelligence. If this is the author's point then she would have done better to state how she views the relationship between the two.

I jumped to the conclusion to see how she was going to link her article to EI and to my sheer amazement she never even mentions EI in her conclusion. Adding to my feelings of bewilderment when I checked her list of citations (over 6 pages long) she never once cites either Jack Mayer or Peter Salovey! The good news is the book gets better. The bad news is that we must wait till the third chapter because the second chapter has nothing to with emotional intelligence either, although the authors did at least throw in a couple references to the work of Mayer et al. Again, one wonders about the motives of the editors.

Chapter 3 - An overview of the alexithymia construct by Graeme Taylor and R. Micheal Bagby

This article is worth reading, although it is not specifically about EI. The authors start by saying that alexithymia (the inability to label feelings) is a personality construct conceptually similar to EI. I have trouble seeing this similarity, but at least I give the authors credit for making a serious effort to connect the two concepts. In fact, they do a respectable job of this as their article proceeds. One of their conclusions is that both low EI and alexithymia "originate, at least in part, from failures in early caregiver-child relationships that adversely affect the development of neural and cognitive systems involved in the processing of emotional intelligence." This supports my belief that a child's innate emotional intelligence can be damaged by abusive parenting and by other forms of emotional and psychological abuse. Jack Mayer told me recently in a personal conversation that he shares this belief.

On page 44 the authors begin their discussion of the relationship between alexithymia and EI with an interesting quote from Howard Gardner in 1983 on his idea of intrapersonal intelligence which sounds very similar to the Mayer Salovey Caruso definition of emotional intelligence. The authors sound a bit critical of Mayer et when they say on page 45 they point out that the Mayer Salovey Caruso model of EI makes no direct mention to interpersonal intelligence. From my recollection of their 1997 article in the book on education edited by Salovey and Sluyter, it seems that Gardner's work is at least acknowledged and discussed. One problem which I believe Mayer et al make with Gardner's work is that no tests have ever been designed to support his various intelligences. I believe I speak for the MSC team when I say that while Gardner's work has been popular with teachers, it has not been equally accepted by professionals in personality and intelligence research. Still I believe it is also fair to say that Mayer et al acknowledge and appreciate Gardner's theoretical precedent to their own work.

Also on p. 45, Taylor and Bagby mention the 1998 work of Schutte et al who designed a simplified test of emotional intelligence based on the early work of Salovey and Mayer. The Schutte et al test was only a self-report test and it did not attempt to measure actual ability. At anyrate(1) the test results showed there was a strong reverse correlation to their measure of EI and the Toronto Alexithymia Scale, which is what would be expected.

On page 48 of the article the authors make the same error as do many of the books contributors. This error is that they naively accept the Bar-On EQi test as measure of emotional intelligence. As I have explained elsewhere, I strongly believe that the Bar-On test can not fairly be called a measure of emotional intelligence, and further, that whoever mislabels it thus is damaging the credibility of the entire field of EI. Perhaps the authors of this chapter did so to increase their chances of being included in the book, but as we shall see, other writers had the courage and integrity to directly challenge the promotion of the EQi test as a valid measure of EI.

Chapter 4 - Emotional Competence: A Developmental Perspective by Carolyn Saarni

This article is worth reading if you are interested in Carolyn's views on what she calls emotional competence. I found it very thought provoking, but primarily because of my strong emotional reaction against much of what she has written. I will say that I was particularly disappointed because I have often seen Carolyn Saarni's name cited in other articles and I was looking forward to learning some useful things from her. When I saw that she attacked the concept of EI and the work of Jack Mayer and his colleagues I felt protective of Jack and of the field in general. I felt further disturbed by Carolyn's use of terms such as cultural morals, duty and obligation. I also felt frustrated by her complicated writing style. (And I feel empathy for those who are not native English speakers. I believe English-speaking professors often fail to consider the rest of the world when they write.) These feelings put me in a critical, judgmental mood so perhaps I will go back and try to read the article again another day and try to find more good in it. I also realize that I may be misinterpreting and prejudging Carolyn's work, values and beliefs. But for the time being, here are my initial comments on the article.


Like chapters 1 and 2, this chapter has very little relevance to emotional intelligence. Saarni does make a valiant effort at comparing her ideas to the EI model of Mayer and Salovey, but it is obvious that she feels critical of their model. She begins her criticism by citing the now well-known article by Davies et al which criticizes with a broad brush the entire field of EI and EI tests. Many others have used the Davies piece to criticize the Mayer et al model of EI even though Davies, a graduate student, did not actually include the MEIS ability test of EI in her research. Instead she used their older, self-report test of just one facet of EI, as well as some other self-report tests which no one has ever seriously considered tests of EI. (For example, the online quiz which Goleman wrote for the Utne Reader).

Perhaps Carolyn feels resentful that the field of EI is getting so much attention, which would be understandable, or perhaps she has other reasons for her feelings. Consider this sentence "As a developmental psychologist I find myself least comfortable with Mayer et al and other investigators who persist in wanting to call their assemblage of abilities intelligence." I am not sure why she prefaced her remark by saying she was a developmental psychologist. It is as if she were trying to give herself more credibility. (Later, she calls herself a "social constructivist.") Then she talks about "their" model disapprovingly, but she doesn't say if she disapproves more of the Mayer et al ability model or of the Goleman/Bar-On mixed models. (One problem with this field is that people are not distinguishing between the various definitions of EI. Many outside academia, in fact, probably do not even know that there are vastly different definitions.)

Next, she seems to criticize the whole idea of intelligence itself with this confusing statement: "Interestingly, our Western notion of intelligence is an entity that we locate inside the person or as being traitlike in terms of characterizing the person according to some consistent quality." I am not sure just what she is trying to say. It sounds almost like she would rather we think of intelligence as being something like a spirit outside the body. Neither do I understand why she said our "Western notion" -- do those in China, Japan and India think intelligence does not reside in our brains?

Carolyn sounds a little old-fashioned, self-righteous, and even religious when she uses terms like moral commitments (p. 68), moral disposition (p. 69), socially appropriate (p. 69), appropriate behavior (p. 71), a moral self, moral understanding, moral character, moral emotional competence, moral rules (p. 72). On page 73 she says, "Duty, obligation or conscience require more maturity, and this moral sense becomes evident in school-age children."

Duty? Obligation? School-age childen? Do we really want school-age children to feel dutiful and obligated? What ever happened to happiness, or even empathy and understanding? And where does a "moral sense" come from? Does it come from "above" or from within?

Carolyn does not seem to believe in moral autonomy, the highest stage of moral development according to the respected and well-known model of Lawrence Kohlberg. For example, she says "Mature emotional competence should reflect wisdom, and this wisdom carries with it significant ethical values of one's culture. (p. 69) She sounds as if she believes one's emotional competence depends largely on how one conforms to their unique culture. But I believe she misses the point of one of the most important implications of emotional intelligence research. That point is that if our emotions do indeed offer us a type of intelligence, then this intelligence is likely to be universal, just as the expression of it has been proven to be universal by Darwin and Ekman. More specifically, if my feelings tell me something is wrong, then I believe I have an allegiance to my feelings rather than to my culture, government or religious institution. Consider this statement by Henry David Thoreau's Civil Disobedience, the work which influenced Ghandi:

Can there not be a government in which the majorities do not virtually decide right and wrong, but conscience?--in which majorities decide only those questions to which the rule of expediency is applicable? Must the citizen ever for a moment, or in the least degree, resign his conscience to the legislator? Why has every man a conscience then? I think that we should be men first, and subjects afterward. It is not desirable to cultivate a respect for the law, so much as for the right. The only obligation which I have a right to assume is to do at any time what I think right.

I would suggest that when Thoreau speaks of a conscience, he is speaking primarily of our inner voice, and that it is our feelings which serve as the language of this inner voice. I also believe that when Thoreau says "what I think is right" it is his feelings which guide him to what is important to think about, exactly as Mayer et al have postulated.

On page 80 Saarni says "...I also contend that judgments of mature emotional competence will be made when we view individuals as applying their moral principals to the emotion-eliciting circumstances and responding in accord with their moral sense." First, by using the word "judgments" she sounds judgmental. (Of course, I could never be accused of that!) She sounds as if she believes she can be the judge of whether someone else is emotionally competent by observing their outward behavior. But as she points out later in her own article, even young children learn to fake their behavior and their emotional expressions in ways inconsistent with their true feelings. It almost sounds like Saarni thinks this is a good thing; that children should fake their emotional expressions so as to conform to cultural, or religious, expectations. For example, take the case of a child who is beaten when he protests at being forced to sit silently through a painful religious service in uncomfortable clothes. Such a child may learn to expertly disguise his true feelings of boredom, resentment, rebelliousness, defiance, cynisicm, skepticism, incredulity, etc.

I use the word beaten intentionally instead of punished or disciplined because children are still being beaten into submission every day, even in so-called developed countries. And if he is not beaten, he is psychologically and emotionally abused with guilt trips, disapproval, threats, etc. And I use the example of a religious service because religion is one of the strongest influences on the emotional development (or damage) of children. Saarni frightens me when she seems to suggest that we want to return to a belief system which is many thousands of years old -- one in which brutal punishment and death was the norm for violating the cultural and religious "morals." This is a belief system which I assert has led directly to the problems one sees in the United States, a country which is at once becoming more violent, more fundamentalist and more of a police state -- something which is easier for me to see now that I have moved out of the USA and only return for short visits while in transit. But now I am getting too far off the track, so I will stop my editorializing.

As another insight into how Carolyn thinks on this topic she calls emotional competence, consider this statement: "...children's management of their emotional-expressive behavior can be deemed emotionally competent after the fact. We can examine their behavior in situation X to see if it served them well under the circumstances. We may not be on such firm ground if we try to predict ahead of time whether a given child will behave in an emotionally competent way." (pp. 79-80)

As I understand it, however, a primary reason we give tests such as intelligence tests is to help us make predictions. I don't think a company would find Carolyn's view of emotional competence particularly helpful when it came to, say, hiring decisions. Her view seems to imply that the company should just hire someone, put them in a position and see how they do.

Throughout the article I had some difficulty figuring out what Saarni was trying to say. For example, at one point she says "As a social constructivist, my view of how developmental history affects emotional competence is one that emphasizes that we learn to give meaning to our context-dependent emotional experience via our social exposure to emotion discourse and narrative and our cognitive developmental capabilities." I am sure she has a good point in there somewhere, but I am also sure there is an easier way to make it. (p. 73)

Even her opening definition of emotional competency left me a little unsatisfied: "emotional competence is the demonstration of self-efficacy in emotion-eliciting social transactions."

Her list of emotional competency skills on page 77 was much more helpful. Interestingly, I found it very similar to the Mayer Salovey Caruso model of emotional intelligence, even though she minimizes the value of their work.

Perhaps the most puzzling thing of all in the article was why she referred to the Epstein book, Constructive Thinking -- The Key to Emotional Intelligence. She quotes Epstein and says, amazingly, that "his comments bear repeating" when he says "If you automatically think constructively, you will exhibit emotional intelligence, if you don't, you won't." First, the Epstein book has next to nothing to do with emotional intelligence. It is more a combination of The Power of Positive Thinking, (Norman Vincent Peale) and Feeling Good (David Burns), with different terminology and a higher level of language, than it is about EI. As Epstein acknowedges it is a re-write of an older book of his which was published before EI became popular. This is not to say it is not a helpful book, but it is not about EI.

Second, this simplistic statement by Epstein is far from true. For example, if I have a strong negative reaction to something, say I am feeling jealous, hurtful and vengeful, I can employ my emotional intelligence to help me think carefully and deliberately, not just automatically. While my first thoughts, my automatic thoughts as Epstein calls them, may be destructive ones, I do not need to let those thoughts rule me. I can chose to change my thoughts. I can think about the problem from many angles. I can think about my fears, my desires and my options. I can chose to make a conscious decision about how I act. I can consider the impact my decision will have on others. I can think about how I will feel and how they will feel. I can use all of this information to help me make a decision which will balance my needs and my feelings with their needs and their feelings.

The most interesting part of the article for me was when she talked about how children learn to manage, regulate and fake their emotional expression. She calls the latter "dissembled emotional behavior." Even though I was interested in this section, however, cannot say that I learned anything new, but perhaps I might on a closer second reading.

Carolyn does raise a good issue when she says few psychologists have addressed wisdom, much less how it develops or how we know it when we see it. I, too, have wondered about things like wisdom, integrity and honesty. We know those things exist, but how do we develop a test that measures them? How would we develop an ability test, for example? I am reminded that Mayer et al have said in some of their writings that there test measures aspects of emotional intelligence. They are implying, then, that perhaps there may be aspects of it which scientists will never be able to quantify. But this does not mean it does not exist, any more than wisdom, integrity or honesty do not exist. Nor of course, does it mean that any of these are not important to the survival of the human species.

Chapter 5 - Emotional Intelligence as Zeitgeist, as Personality, and as a Mental Ability by John D. Mayer, Peter Salovey, and David R. Caruso

I have already written a review of this article so I won't spend time on it now. I will just say that it is easily the best article in the book so far.

Chapter 6 - Psychological Mindedness and Emotional Intelligence by Mary McCallum and William E. Piper

At first I was inclined to say this article was another which had little relevance to emotional intelligence. The more I read, however, the more interested I became. This is the first time I have seen the term "psychological mindedness" (PM) and I had mixed feelings about it. It reminded me of the term "mindfulness" which is used in Eastern schools of thought such as Buddhism. For this reason I felt curious to learn more what the authors were going to say. Yet I also felt a bit skeptical since the term seems a bit fuzzy and contrived. When I read that the term is primarily used in reference to testing potential psychotherapy clients to see how well they might be suited for "insight-oriented" therapy, I wondered how the authors were going to relate their work to EI. But relate it they did, and they did it well.

As I read the article my respect for the authors continued to climb. They have done their research, they have considered alternative viewpoints, they have asked good questions and they have written an article which is actually comprehensible. In their conclusion they say this regarding the comparison to their term and the term EI:

Despite the differences, there are commonalities between them. Although neither construct is particularly new, both have suffered from conceptual ambiguity, research scarcity, and flawed attempts at operationalization. We are familiar with the issues that arise in conceptualizing and operationalizing psychological mindedness. Some of these issues include whether it is a good thing, whether it is a means or an end, whether it can be developed, and whether it focusses on the self or another. The ambiguities and difficulties that have affected the concept of psychological mindeness may also affect the concept of emotional intelligence. By understanding the various issues associated with conceptualizing psychological mindedness, we hope that the reader may productively use them in conceptualizing emotional intelligence.

The authors did more than hope though, they offered a clear explanation of the similarities and differences between the two concepts. Their writing kept my interest and offered me some new perspectives, as well as some new information. One of the most interesting things they cited was some research by Park and Park which showed that "children with high personal intelligence can be perceived as threatening by their parents, especially narcissistic mothers." McCallum and Piper add that the researchers believed that the combination of what they called a narcissistic mother (what I would call a mother with many unmet emotional needs), and a sensitive, aware, insightful child can be "fertile ground for parental abuse and the development of borderline personality disorder." First, I will say that I expect a child with high innate emotional intelligence in such a home will suffer exactly the same fate. Second, I would suggest, moreover, that such a combination can lead to many more problems than just the one particular diagnostic classification of BPD. I speak from personal experience because I believe my oldest brother, who has been labeled manic-depressive, was a casualty of exactly this kind of emotional abuse by my mother. And, perhaps because I was less sensitive, had other sources of emotional support, or because her needs were somewhat more met by the time she had me ten years later, I also have experienced the same kind of emotional damage to a lesser degree. Thus, you can see why this piece of data stands out for me.

Returning my discussion to the article, I felt a little skeptical when the authors began what seemed to be a mini-advertisement for their test of PM on page 121. Again, though, they kept my interest when they described the way they used a videotape to test for their construct. (Now I am even using terms like "construct" myself. That is a bit scary! Maybe I have been reading too many journal articles!)

At anyrate, (1) one ongoing problem I had with the article was that the authors failed to distinguish which definition of emotional intelligence they were using. Generally it seemed they were using the popular definition. In fact, at one point I was shocked to read them saying that Reuven's model was "perhaps the clearest." They added that it was also perhaps the "most comprehensive to date" as if this were a good thing! I wonder, mostly in jest, whether they would be more pleased with a scheme that includes a few more variables, such as height, weight and hair color?! I realize that they, like other authors, may have been pandering a bit to Reuven to get their article selected in the book.

In the article the authors raise several very interesting questions. They wonder whether PM and EI are thing which are inherently "good" and "adaptive." They say that EI has been touted as being exclusively a good thing, then they cite Goleman's 1995 book and an old article from Salovey and Mayer (1990). While I agree with their view on Goleman, I don't believe it is fair to say that Mayer are now claiming that EI is inherently, or absolutely, a good thing. My understanding of their position is that they believe it is a potential which can be used for the advancement of humanity or not, depending on who is using it. Later McCallum and Piper say that it would be "interesting to explore" whether a person could score "high on subtests of emotional intelligence" yet still be "unable to cope effectively in the world." I believe this is an important question and I expect the answer is absolutely yes. In fact, I would say that I believe one could score highly on the entire EI test (either MEIS or MSCEIT) and still have serious problems.

McCallum and Piper also say "it is possible the ability to read the emotions of oneself and another does not immediaately traslate into healther adjustment. There may be mediating variables that determine whether those intrapersonal and interpersonal abilties are used for health or pathology." (p. 129) This is one danger I see in over-reliance on an EI score. The scores may indeed measure aspects of one's emotional intelligence, but do they measure the most important aspects, and do the scores correlate with healthy behavior in real life? Consider the case of one high-profile person who would probably score highly on an ability EI test and who would surely be smart enough to manipulate any self-report personality test if he wanted to, yet who has serious "issues," let's say: former President Bill Clinton.

The fact that McCallum and Piper's article leads one to ponder such important questions and issues is certainly to their credit.

Later they point to one of the difficulties of the psychological mindedness model. They say that it has been broadened so much by some people that it "dilutes" the meaning of the term. This is one similarity which it seems the authors missed between EI and PM. Consider this passage on page 125, then replace the term "psychological mindedness" with "emotional intelligence:"

We believe that some dimensions included in a multidimensional conceptualization of psychological mindedness are actually independent constructs, for example, motivation. Furthermore, we believe that their inclusion in the definition dilutes and possibly confounds the psychological mindeness construct.

On a separate issue, on page 129 the authors give an example of what they refer to as high PM. They say that person with high PM is more likely to be aware of his feelings and to verbally express them rather than to act them out (they refer to negative feelings). This is right in line with what I call high EQ, which I define as the level of development of one's innate EI. (I do not use EQ and EI synonymously. Perhaps emotional enlightenment would be a better term for what I describe in my work, since my use of EQ might be adding to confusion. I am certainly open to changing my terms, but for now I, too, must admit to being a bit guilty of capitalizing on the name recognition.)

I not sure if Mayer et al would agree that the high EI person would be less likely to act out his negative feelings. I cannot recall them addressing that particular issue. I expect they would agree in theory, but say that "more research needs to be done." (I smile affectionately as I write this!) I welcome their comments.

What Mayer has said, if memory serves, is very similar to what McCallum and Piper say on page 129, that while PM (or EI) is not necessarily an indication of mental health, it can be expected to facilitate growth, healing and recovery. As McCallum and Piper put it, "Insight can lead to behavior change and therefore behavior that can be healthier." I would say this a bit differently. I would say that awareness of one's feelings can lead to questioning whether those feelings are healthy, and then to actually changing one's feelings as well as one's behavior. Further, I believe that between changing one's behavior and changing one's underlying feelings, the latter is by far the most important for lasting change and personal growth.

To conclude my comments, I believe this article is worth reading and worth reading closely.

Chapter 7 - Too Many Intelligences? Integrating Social, Emotional, and Practical Intelligence by Jennifer Hedlund and Robert J. Sternberg

This article starts out by questioning whether such things as social and emotional intelligence are actually intelligences. The authors wonder, for example, if calling emotional intelligence a noncognitive intelligence, as Bar-On sometimes does, is an oxymoron. They then suggest that to rightly be considered an intelligence the concept must meet these two criteria: 1) the factors which the terms cover must actually be cognitive abilities, 2) we must be able to the measure the concept with reliable and valid tests. (These are different, and I believe looser, standards than Mayer et al used when they addressed the question of whether their construct could fairly be called an intelligence.) I can not recall seeing where the authors ever told us if they believe the Mayer et al definition of EI meets these two standards. They discuss both sides of the issue and then conclude their section on EI by citing the Davies et al study which did not even address the MEIS test.

It appears plain to me that the authors prefer not to have another intelligence gain acceptance unless it is one of their creations. In fact, the chapter seems largely to be a promotion for their concept of practical intelligence and for something they call tacit knowledge, the latter of which they did not convincingly connect to EI. On page 157 they make this comment when they compare practical intelligence to emotional intelligence: "The empirical support for practical intelligence has been more promising..." I had a good chuckle over that. Now the authors wouldn't be a bit biased would they?!

Besides noticing the hard-to-miss self-promotion in the article, I found the authors' position a bit confusing if not hypocritical. On the one hand they warn against a "run away proliferation of 'intelligences'"`(p. 158), but on just one page, number 138, they cite two of their own intelligence creations when they say that their practical intelligence is a part of "successful intelligence." (The term successful intelligence, I believe, was also created by Sternberg.) I can understand why Sternberg is not happy with just IQ, but I am afraid he is not adding to his credibility when he publishes an article like this one.

I must say that by now I am getting quite impatient with all the articles and all the pages in this book which have next to nothing to do with emotional intelligence. As an example of this, I will go through this chapter page by page to see how many pages are really connected to EI. I will give them the first two pages. The next page only mentions the term in passing so I won't count it. The next 6.5 pages are about social intelligence, not emotional intelligence. Now the authors can rightly say that Salovey and Mayer said EI was a subset of social intelligence in their 1990 paper. But since that time they have developed the concept further and I have not seen them saying that is EI is a subset of social intelligence in any of their papers of at least the past five years. It seems clear to me that if they were to say it is part of social intelligence, then this would open up all kinds of opportunities for people to call their work and their tests "social and emotional intelligence." This in fact seems to be exactly what Reuven has done as we shall see when we get to his own chapter later in the book. And knowing that he is sometimes lumping social and emotional intelligence together, I can see now why he has added so many chapters in his book about social intelligence, social competence etc. I feel deceived and misled by this tactic though. If he wanted to write a book about social and emotional intelligence it would seem more integritous (my own word) to have called it "The handbook of social and emotional intelligence."

But back to the chapter at hand. The next four pages are actually about emotional intelligence. Then we have six pages on practical intelligence and tacit knowledge. Then we have the final two pages which are under the somewhat amusing heading "Integrating social, emotional and practical intelligence within a tacit-knowledge framework." I say amusing because it would seem this is a bit like letting the tail wag the dog. While there is some discussion of EI, the majority of these last two pages are about the authors own area of study, tacit knowledge, not about emotional intelligence.

I agree with the authors when they say that those promoting the popular version of EI (and they mention Goleman and Bar-On by name) have "included almost everything that is related to success that is not measured by IQ." (p. 146). On the same page they go on to attack Goleman in particular. They say with all the things he has lumped into his corporate definition (as I call it) of EI, he has stretched the definition of an intelligence "way beyond acceptable limits." (Way, way beyond it, I would say!) But the authors don't stop there, they add that Goleman has "yet to offer any hard validity evidence that what he has defined as emotional intelligence does indeed account for any of the variance in educational or job performance beyond IQ. Goleman bases his work primarily on anecdotal evidence and questionable extrapolations from past research." (p. 146-147)

Then the authors discuss Reuven's test, which they also have problems with, though they are not as caustic in their criticism. They suggest that Reuven needs to get his work published in a peer-reviewed scientific journal, for example. (p. 147) This seems to be a good point since all of the citations to Reuven's work are either to his dissertation, (or the alleged first draft of it), or to the technical manual which the marketers (MHS) have published under their name, but which one can assume was written primarily by Reuven with no outside reviewers. The authors also say that the Bar-On EQi test correlates with other personality measures so highly that it suggests some of the scales in the EQi "may be redundant with existing measures." They summarize their discussion of the Bar-On test by saying:

The high number of significant correlations with existing measures and the method of assessment (such as self-report) together may suggest that the EQi is best characterized as kind of personality measure, with the attendant difficulties of such inventories, such as social-desirability effects and susceptibility to faking. (p. 147)

The authors then discuss the Mayer et al model of EI, acknowledging with apparent approval that Mayer and his colleagues have "argued for a more restrictive view of emotional intelligence." This section of the chapter is quite short and quite matter-of-fact. It seems Hedlund and Sternberg are feeling supportive of the Mayer et al model, but then they bring up the Davies article which, as I have mentioned several times now, did not cover Mayer et al's recent work, so this seems to be a bit unfair on the part of Hedlund and Sternberg. As I noted above, it would be understandable why the authors would favor their own terms over any new ones, and this surely influenced their otherwise positive comments about the Mayer, Salovey, Caruso model.

In their presentation (or promotion) of their practical intelligence model, they did mention one thing which I found noteworthy. Their research showed that "Students high in practical ability who were taught in a way that emphasized practical thinking performed better than those taught for memory, analytical or creative thinking." (p. 153) This makes sense to me, and supports the idea that schools could be better designed to meet individual needs, which I believe is one of Howard Gardner's main points. It also makes me wonder if children who are highly emotionally intelligent, or emotionally sensitive, could be taught in a better way. Actually, I don't need to wonder, because I am sure they could be.

As I look again at the final two pages of this chapter I feel a little sad, sad because the authors had an opportunity to really tie their concept of tacit knowledge into emotional intelligence, and they missed it. So I feel a sense of loss, a loss of an opportunity. Earlier they said that one of the components of tacit knowledge is that it is typically "acquired on one's own" and "through personal experience." They say another component of tacit knowledge is that it has "value in pursuing one's personal goals." (p 154) These aspects of tacit knowledge seem to fit perfectly with the information which our feelings provide us. This information, when used intelligently, can be an invaluable source of knowledge as we learn about ourselves and others. Beyond that, our feelings not only have value in the pursuit of our goals, but they are essential to helping us even form our goals, especially if we are striving for goals which are meaningful, rewarding and fulfilling. These points were unfortunately lost on the authors. What troubles me more is that Robert Sternberg is a highly respected and influential researcher. He could have written a much more relevant, supportive and influential article about the model of EI which Jack, Peter (who is, by the way, a fellow faculty member of Sternberg's at Yale) and David have been developing. This leads me to reflect on a larger, more general concern I have with this book and with academia in general: If our feelings have been undervalued and overlooked even by many of those who were asked to contribute to this book on emotional intelligence, then what does that say about the researchers and instructors in other fields?

So many brilliant minds are so narrowly focussed. I am afraid many of them have lost sight of the larger picture of life.

But, on the other hand, maybe all of us who are interested in emotional intelligence are guilty of being too narrow in our focus.


After I wrote this I felt a little bad for being so critical, so I asked David Caruso to take a look. He sent me this reply: (reprinted with his permission)


Bob Sternberg has been very influential in the intelligence field.  He is probably the most knowledgeable person in the world on this topic.  Bob combines theory and research better than anyone else out there. I think your comments on Bob's chapter had to do more with the context of the entire book rather than his content.  I did appreciate your comments but I want to point out an issue with edited academic books in general. 

An edited book is written by inviting respected researchers to contribute a chapter on their topic of interest, but related in some way to the book's general theme.  So, Saarni writes about development, Bob about practical intelligence, etc.  It is standard practice for an edited book, and I think people who buy the book usually know this.  The idea is to present different perspectives on a general topic.  Textbooks, as opposed to edited books, serve a different function, and the handbook is not a textbook.

Jack's own upcoming edited book will probably have some similar issues, although perhaps it will be a bit more focused.  For example, I believe that Reuven Bar-On will have a chapter in the book, and Peter's chapter applies emotional intelligence to a specific application.  One of Jack's chapters is about personality in general and where emotional intelligence fits into the bigger picture.

Another example is a chapter that Jack, Peter and I wrote on leadership to appear in an edited book.  I imagine that this book will probably have the same issue  - we wrote about emotional intelligence as the focus but applied it to leadership for this specific book.


I feel somewhat understanding of what David is saying but somewhat opposed to the way the standard practice works in the academic world when it comes to these things they call handbooks. If I buy a book on emotional intelligence, especially if I pay $75.00 US for it, I want to read about emotional intelligence. I would feel misled, deceived and cheated if I had bought this book so I could learn more about EI. I was given the book as a gift, but I would feel pretty resentful if I had paid full price for it. It would add to my general feelings of cynicism and skepticism. It certainly would not add to my respect for the authors.

David also suggested that a good introductory or final chapter could tie such a book together, and that is a helpful suggestion. The final chapter in the current book left me in want of exactly such a missing piece.

Now perhaps David is right when he says most people who buy such books know that this is the way edited books work, so that is fair enough for them. But there are many others who are interested in emotional intelligence right now besides those in academia. It seems the book missed a golden opportunity to give a wider audience more understanding of the field. But perhaps Jack's upcoming book will do that. I also believe that even the academic readers might be happier if they got more about emotional intelligence for their money. It seems to me they can certainly go find the journal articles by the authors if the want to learn about the related topics.

At the same time there is some good in knowing about somewhat related ideas such as Saarni's view on emotional development and Sternberg's concept of practical intelligence. I did encounter worthwhile researchers in the book who I might not have come across on my own. I believe marginally related themes could be introduced, however, in a more relevant and much more condensed manner. This could have perhaps kept the cost of the book down, added value, and, at the current 500+ pages, saved a few trees!

Chapter 8 - Levels of Emotional Awareness: Neurological, Psychological, and Social Perspectives by Richard D. Lane

(Note: I have a lot of my own editorial comments in this - more than the usual amount! I start out a little flippant, but get quite serious later on. -- and I am not finished w/ the review. But here is what I have so far)

Lane starts out the chapter by saying "The concept of levels of emotional awareness was articulated shortly before the first article on emotional intelligence was published." I am interested to know how the author feels about this. I expect he feels a little under-appreciated or resentful, but he doesn't show much resentment so it is hard to say. How he feels would certainly influence his thoughts on the field of EI, so I would like to know what his feelings actually are. As usual we have to try to read between the lines. But this does not bother me much as I begin writing my notes to this chapter. I am just mentioning it in passing as a reminder of the importance of our feelings and as a reminder that I would like to see more academic writers share their true feelings. Right now I am feeling fairly peaceful, reflective, alert as I begin this chapter. I feel less skeptical and cynical than I have for a couple of days, probably largely because I took a mini-vacation and spent time with my first work-exchange student. And I was also thinking more about Epstein's book which I criticized earlier in this review. I had the student take Epstein's Constructive Thinking Test (a short version of it) and as a result I got more interested in the test and now feel more respect for Epstein's work. Now I feel guilty and hypocritical because I talking about something which is not too highly related to the review of this chapter!

So to continue. I wrote in the margin of the first page of the chapter when I quickly scanned it the first time: Start is good, seems worth reading, good brain stuff.

I agree with Lane when he says that "Although awareness of one's own emotions is thought to be one component of emotional intelligence, it may be a particularly important or primary component in the sense that it may be the foundation for the successful implementation of the other components of emotional intelligence." (p. 171)

Next he offers us his own definition of EI: " Emotional intelligence may be broadly defined as the ability to use emotional information in a constructive and adaptive manner." (I will assume when he says constructive and adaptive he means in a way which is healthy for the individual and valuable to the survival of the species - all of which I usually just call healthy, not that you wanted to know that, but I couldn't resist. Well, I can, but I won't! I feel a little hypocritical again!) He continues: Emotional information consists of one's own subjective emotional responses as well as the information conveyed by the emotional experiences of others." I felt comfortable with this definition, which he says is consistent with Mayer et al's, and I agree.

Then he talks about the "broader view" of EI, in particular the one promoted by Goleman. Lane says this broader view links the basic mental abilities, (which we can assume refers to the Mayer et al model), to "aspects of overt behavior in social contexts, including impulse control, persistence, zeal and self-motivation, empathy and social deftness." Lanes puts this very well. I am feeling respect for his work and he has captured my interest. The only hesitation is that Goleman did not scientifically show the link (if indeed there is one at all) between EI and all of these things Lane is calling aspects of overt behavior.

Lane continues: "Although this broader conception of emotional intelligence goes beyond the concept of mental abilities, the behaviors in question may also be based on the capacity to be consciously aware of emotional information." Then Lane seems to pull a fast one on us. In the very next sentences he calls aspect of behavior "other components of emotional intelligence." Sometimes I wonder if authors deliberately make such leaps of terminology or if they don't realize they are doing it. I suppose it is a bit of both. I will give Lane the benefit of the doubt today! No, I changed my mind. I feel a little skeptical. My skepticism interrupted my overall good mood. It urged me to reconsider some other data which I had already gathered. Lane is starting to build a case for the importance of his own work, one might conclude. By now talking about all of these other things as components of EI Lane is trying to establish a stronger relationship between his work and the term emotional intelligence. Still, I feel understanding and compassion for him, because he does this fairly well -- diplomatically and relatively effectively. Let's see how he does it.

First, let me finish the sentence which I just started to pick apart. Lane said: "These other components of emotional intelligence may be conceptualized as the enhancement or suppression of approach or avoidance behavior based on an awareness of the current or anticipated subjective emotional state of the self or others."

Wow! That is a mouthful! I had to read it about three times. I almost just skipped over it, but I persisted in the face of frustration! So Dan would be proud of me! (And tell me I would make a good life insurance salesman!)

Now, seriously - what is Lane saying here? Actually, I am still trying to figure it out.... I am not really sure, but I am going to give you my interpretation. It seems he is basically saying we use our feelings to help us make decisions. To help us decide when to "hold em, know when to fold em, know when to walk away and know when to run." (This is a line from the Kenny Rogers song, The Gambler, for those of you who don't know it.) (Okay, I am back. I had to take a short singing and clapping break! I can see me sitting around the campfire one night signing that with a group of people. I feel nutty tonight! Or let's say emotionally creative - but that is not till Chapter 13! A good chapter by the way!)

Well, now it is two days later. This chapter is proving a hard one to get through because I want to read it so closely and because it has made me think so much I keep having to put it down.

Getting back to how Lane tries to make a stronger connection between his work on levels of emotional awareness and the term emotional intelligence. I say the "term" emotional intelligence to emphasize that there are very different meanings to the same term. Lane is very smoothly relating his work to both the academic and the popular meanings of the term. (I almost said his "pet project" instead of his "work," but I don't want to sound so sarcastic. I feel more playful than sarcastic this morning. And I think his work has merit, as well as more relevance to EI than much of what I have seen in the Handbook. I also admire the effort he made to actually tie his work to EI, though I feel a little critical of how he tries to tie it to the popular definition.)

At this point in his paper Lane begins to refer mainly to Goleman's 1995 expanded definition of EI. Lane starts by talking about impulse control. This was the topic of one of Goleman's most popular stories, the one about the research done with the kids and the marshmallows. One minor detail which most people have overlooked is that impulse control has not yet been shown to be either a component or an outcome of EI as measured by the MEIS and MSCEIT tests. This detail doesn't stop our author either. Lane basically says that impulse control requires emotional awareness because one must be aware of the feeling of immediate pleasure which would come from acting impulsively as well as the feeling of pain which would come from the consequences of the impulsive action. I am not completely satisfied with this view, but I must say it makes some sense, so I say "fair enough." (I am also feeling a little impatient and a strong desire to finish this chapter!)

It does seem, though, that any connection to EI as a mental ability is as an outcome of the ability, not as an essential component of it. In other words, what I think I am saying, and I admit I am not too sure about this, is that EI may aid in one's impulse control when it is truly in the person's best interest to control their impulses. On the other hand, sometimes it is better for us to be impulsive. Haven't there been times in your own life when you regret not being more impulsive? Times when you had a chance to follow your feelings or to do what you thought you "should" do according to someone else's standards?

I believe our feelings, when our natural EI has not been damaged, help us make the distinction between when it is healthy to act impulsively and when it is not. This is part of my own strong personal belief system, a system which is based on my own life experience, my reading of the scientific literature and on my own faith -- my faith in nature. Always controlling, in the sense of always restraining, our impulses is probably not always smart, contrary to what Goleman and others imply. This, to me is one of the beauties of the MSC ability model. It implies that our EI helps us collect the emotional data, integrate it with our cognitive data, process it all, and then make a decision which is best for us, and I would add, for humanity. I add in humanity because ideally we are constantly seeking the balance between what is good for one vs. what is good for all. I believe our natural EI helps us maintain this balance. I further believe, as I think Lane would agree, that as we go through stages of emotional and cognitive development, our ability to strike this balance improves with time, age, experience and wisdom.

Next Lane talks about another of Goleman's extensions to EI, persistence. Lane says that persistence "requires the ability to overcome one's negative emotional reactions...". When read this section I wrote "Not necessarily" in the margin. And to his credit Lane does not say this is always the case. But he says persistence "typically involves being aware of one's negative reactions sufficiently to recognize them and not act on them." When Lane says "typically" he implies that this happens in the majority of the cases. Maybe so, but I would like to see the evidence on that. Are we talking about 90% of the time, or 51% of the time? What I am concerned with are the people who obsessively or bullheadedly persist. The people who feel driven to accomplish their goals in spite of the cost to themselves or others. I suspect that such people are not really aware of their negative feelings. I suspect they may have been cut off from their feelings by early emotional damage. I don't think it is fair to say we "overcome" a negative feeling if we have not felt it consciously. As Nathaniel Branden has written, we cannot leave a place we have never been.

I further suspect such people are not aware of others' feelings. Or at least the awareness is minimal in both cases. If someone like a rapist or a stalker feels obsessed to have sex with a woman, he may miss her increasingly strong signs of rejection. In other words, he may not feel rejected when a healthy person would know to back off. And he may not feel compassion or empathy for the woman. If he hurts her in the process of his persistence, he may not feel sympathy for her or regret for his actions. So for this reason I am very uncomfortable with this line of Lane's thoughts.

I am also uncomfortable with them because I have often wondered, "Is it possible to be too emotionally intelligent?" Or is it possible to be too smart in general? If being smart means having the ability to collect, recall, and process data to solve problems, and to do it quickly, can one be too smart? I don't think so. Nor do I think one can be too emotionally intelligent. I do, however, think one can be too persistent. And this is the problem with all the personality traits which have been lumped into the popular definition of EI. For two variables to be highly positively correlated they must always move in the same direction. In other words, if being emotionally intelligent means having the ability to be aware of your feelings, then the more ability you have in this area, the higher your EI. The relationship never changes direction such that at some point if you have too much ability to be aware of your feelings, you are now starting to be less emotionally intelligent. Of course, it is possible to feel so many feelings that you begin to feel overwhelmed. In fact, I have experienced this. But if you are aware that you are feeling overwhelmed (what I think is called meta-awareness) and you are skilled at managing your emotions and using the data from them, you will take steps to feel less overwhelmed.

With persistence and other personality traits I absolutely believe it is possible for the relationship between them and EI to begin to change direction. In other words, at some point, too much persistence is not emotionally intelligent. Should a person persist far beyond this point, we are likely to say this person is not only not smart, but he is a fool. Or we may at least say he is acting foolishly in that instance.

Lane next talks about zeal and motivation. He says that not only must one be aware of their negative feelings so they can continue to stay motivated, but they must also be able to "recognize the absence" of motivation so they can stay motivated.

Now I have the same problem with this as I did with persistence. Consider the terms "overzealous" and "zealot." We wouldn't have those two words if too much zeal didn't reach a point where it became a problem , or "maladaptive" as the psychologists like to say. (and my spellchecker says is not a word!) One can also be motivated by unhealthy motives. Consider the person who is motivated by revenge, hatred or jealousy. I have felt those motivations in the past and I can assure you they are very powerful. But I would not call them either signs of, components of, or outcomes of emotional intelligence -- not at least to the point at which they were motivating me. These are some of the troubles with swallowing Goleman's hype about emotional intelligence. When we really start to digest it, we find it doesn't settle well with the rest of our more nutritional knowledge; knowledge which has been acquired through both painstaking research and emotionally painful life experience.

By the time Lane gets to his section on social deftness I was feeling worn down, and so I wrote in the margin yesterday. I added that I was feeling resigned. But as I have written elsewhere resignation is not a feeling I embrace, so I came back today with renewed energy. I must add that I am feeling impatient with Lane's use of the terms "approach behavior" and "avoidance response." This is needlessly excessive psychobabble in my opinion. Throughout these past few paragraphs Lane has overused these terms. You may recall this sentence:

These other components of emotional intelligence may be conceptualized as the enhancement or suppression of approach or avoidance behavior based on an awareness of the current or anticipated subjective emotional state of the self or others.

When I read this I was reminded of what I said about something Saarni wrote. I said "I am sure she must have a good point in there somewhere, but I am also sure there is an easier way to say it." Now I don't feel nearly as critical of Lane as I did Saarni, but still, this is a bit too much for me. I am not a Ph.D. in psychology and I don't think I should have to be one to understand this stuff. Again, we are not talking about a journal article here, we are talking about a book which Amazon.com sells along with such titles as Chicken Soup for the Soul.

But that is a relatively minor objection. I just felt a need to express it!

So to continue....in the paragraph on social deftness Lane follows more or less the same logic as before with zeal, etc. And I have more or less the same objections, but I really do want to move on and you probably would like that too! I will just say that "social deftness" does seem to involve being aware one's own feelings as well as of others' feelings. Again, I say to Lane, fair enough. I see your general point. And I will agree with you that, all in all, the level of our emotional awareness is a pretty important thing. I will also agree that it is absolutely relevant to the MSC model of EI and that it can easily be stretched to be related to the popular versions of EI. Or saying this another way, it can easily be included in a discussion of the more popular schemes.

Lane does say something else which I question. On page 172 he says "One way of conceptualizing empathy is that it consists of putting oneself in the place of another person and imagining how one would feel if one were that person." Though this is a bit wordy, my main question is: Can empathy be more automatic than that? Can't we simply immediately feel empathy for someone without such a deliberate conscious thought process as Lane is suggesting? And if so, is this a more true form of empathy? Do children think all of this through for example, when they run to comfort a classmate who is crying? I suspect that they do not. I also believe research shows children can feel empathy at a very early, perhaps pre-cognitive stage in their development. In fact what Lane says about infants on page 182 seems to support this possibility. Lane writes "organized emotional behavior is present at birth, whereas the capacity for mental representation, the ability to think about things or experiences does not typically emerge...until sometime in the third year." (He cites the work of Cowan, 1978 to support this position.)

At anyrate, Lane agrees with Mayer, Salovey and others that "awareness of one's emotions is a prerequisite for empathy." Now I was taking this right in, but then I thought of my own question just above. Hmm. Does this hold true for an infant as well? Is an infant really aware of his feelings? Maybe. I really don't know.

Lane's next sentences, though, didn't sail smoothly past me. First he says, "One corollary of this is that one's ability to empathize cannot exceed one's ability to monitor one's own emotional states." Immediately I thought of an abused teenage friend of mine who is very sensitive to the pain of her friends. Yet she finds it difficult to express her own feelings. She seems to feel the pain of others more than she feels her own pain. If her father hits her, she seems to think she deserved it, but if one of her friends is equally abused, she feels outraged and deeply saddened. Similarly, there are people who can cry at movies but who will not cry at their own emotional pain -- my mother, for example. I believe such people have been emotionally damaged, so they are abnormal in this sense, but I just want to point out that they do exist. In fact, there may be many more of them than Lane realizes if one judges by this particular statement.

The next thing Lane says is "Given the importance of the ability to be aware of one's own emotions for emotional intelligence..." Now I stopped right there and thought about that. I looked at the word "given." Then I wrote in the margin, "Who gave?" The answer seems to be that Lane gave! He gave us the importance of emotional awareness by the way he wove a relationship with it to so many aspects of the various interpretations of EI. But while he gave it to us, I am proud to say that I did not accept his gift completely and unquestionably. I agree with him that it is very important, but I don't accept all of his reasoning. I do credit him, though, for a very nice try! At least he gave his article for this book some real thought, unlike some of the other authors. (IMHO, which is chat talk for "in my humble opinion")

Next Lane says he is going to "review the theoretical background and empirical data supporting a cognitive-developmental approach" to understanding the differences in people's levels of emotional awareness. Then he says he will "review neuroimaging findings .. which differentially implicate subregions of the anterior cingulate and medial prefrontal cortex." He also says he will connect this brain stuff with his ideas on emotional awareness and with social behavior. Okay, sounds interesting, (and ambitious) though I don't have clue what he is talking about at this point!

We are on page 173, btw (by the way). Lane tells us about some work he and Gary Schwartz did in 1987 in which they proposed that emotional awareness is a "cognitive skill that undergoes a developmental process similar to that which Piaget described for cognition in general." When they say a cognitive skill I ask myself if this is the same as a mental ability to them. Sounds like it is. And this is one of the ways their ideas seem to fit well with the MSC ability model of EI.

In a complicated sentence about "schemata" Lane seems to next say that he thinks that the reason people have different levels of emotional awareness is because they have different abilities to identify, separate, integrate and process emotions. Again this sounds like the ability model of EI, or maybe I am just interpreting his sentence that way.

Next Lane says, "To the extent that awareness of emotional information is adaptive, it follows that the more information one has about one's emotional state, the greater the potential to use this information in achieving adaptational success." This seems reasonable enough, but I also wrote in the margin that it seems he is hedging a bit. Before, he was trying to convince us how important emotional awareness is; now, he just says, to the extent that it is adaptive. Well, to me a key question is, just how important is emotional awareness? If it is really, really important, then it makes sense to teach kids to be more emotionally aware. My personal belief, btw, is that it is indeed, really, really important. I believe not only the awareness of the emotions are important, but also the emotions themselves. For example, if child is taught to recognize when he feels humiliated, mocked, invalidated and disrespected by his teachers or parents, and we value this information when he shares his feelings with us, then we have what I believe is some very important data. Were we to collect such data and analyze it with scientific scrutiny, I suspect we might be one step closer to real social change. Further, I suspect, and I believe, that if we were to make such change, we would find that many of our most serious social problems, as well as many of the so called "disorders" which are so fashionable today, would magically begin to disappear.

One problem I foresee with teaching children the names of their feelings, though, (and one reason many people may feel threatened by the idea) is similar to the problem with teaching slaves to read. Frederick Douglas, a former slave in the USA who escaped to freedom, wrote that one of his masters stopped someone who was going to teach him to Frederick to read. The master said that "it was unlawful and unsafe to teach a slave to read." This master also said, "education and slavery were incompatible," and that "A nigger should know nothing but to obey his master. Learning would spoil the best nigger in the world. If you taught him how to read it would do him nothing but harm. It would make him discontented and unhappy."

I think we all know why his master was so opposed to educating the slaves. With education comes awareness, and such awareness is inevitably threatening to those in power who are either insecure, abusive or both.

Later, in fact, Lane (if I understand him correctly) talks about how once we are given labels or symbols for our feelings, our conscious emotional experience changes. (p. 174) This implies to me that once children are able to put labels on their feelings, they may no longer be as compliant, submissive, obedient, etc. Adults will not be able to control them as easily or get them to conform as easily perhaps. At least this is what happened in my life once I became more aware of my feelings. I no longer accepted things I had accepted before. For example, I listened to my feelings, valued them and made fundamental changes in my life, including detaching from my family and culture. In the long run I think raising the emotional awareness of children is both healthy for the species and inevitable. But I suspect there will be some battles along the way.

Now to return to Lane and Schwartz's model. They propose that there are five levels of emotional awareness: "physical sensation, action tendencies, single emotions, blends of emotion, and blends of blends of emotional experience (the capacity to appreciate complexity in the experiences of the self and others)." p 173

Lane now goes into the material which I just mentioned about symbols and such. Lane cites the work of Werner and Kaplan when he says on p. 174, "things in the world become known to an observer by virtue of the way in which they are represented symbolically." He continues, "... the nature of conscious emotional experience, and the ability to appreciate complexity in one's own experience and that of others, is influenced by what one knows about emotion, which is itself based on how emotion has been represented in the past."

Here is an example of this as I interpret it. Let's say we explain to children what invalidation is and we tell them it is a very bad thing; that it is a form of psychological abuse, as I believe it is. Then what might happen? A child might start to realize that what is happening to him at home is called "invalidation." He might realize this is a bad thing, instead of just assuming (as all children do) that his parents' behavior was "normal." With this new realization, he may then feel even worse, and his sense of justice might be aroused. He might then feel motivated to decide to do something about it. He might tell people outside his family that he often feels invalidated by his parents. He might say he feels mocked, belittled, etc. Assuming those around him care about his feelings and his well-being, and that they value the information his feelings are giving him, they might come to his aid. I envision a scenario similar to that of educating children about sexual abuse. I feel certain, though, that psychological abuse is much more common that sexual abuse. If so, more people are likely to oppose this kind of education, because more will be threatened by it. I have definitely noticed that most parents get very uncomfortable when I start advocating that we teach children words like invalidation. Even if a teenager learns to say "I feel judged," this might cause a fair amount of conflict in the home and the parent might wonder, "Where did my daughter learn this kind of garbage?" But once the teenagers have labels like this for their feelings, their conscious experience of their emotions may indeed change radically, not to mention their behavior. What I hope will happen is that they will learn to identify their feelings, express them and then learn to take steps to meet their unmet emotional needs, but I digress too far, so I will return to Lane's chapter.

Lane next cites Karmiloff-Smith who talks about something called representational redescription and the process of cognitive development. Along the way in this process Lane seems to suggest that as our ability to identify and label our feelings improves, this process "renders thought more flexible, adaptable, and creative." Lane then says, "This viewpoint is consistent with the theory that the way language is used to describe emotion modifies what one knows about emotion and how emotion is consciously experienced." It also is another way Lane's work compliments the MSC ability model of EI.

Next Lane introduces us the test he and others designed called Levels of Emotional Awareness Scale (LEAS). This test asks people to describe their anticipated feelings and those of another person based on their reading of a 2-4 sentences about 20 different situations. I was pleased to see (felt affirmed) that the scoring system gave no points at all for using the verb to feel when it is used to "describe a thought rather than a feeling." An example of this might be "I'd feel like he shouldn't have done that." (my example, not Lane's) This is something I discuss in my section on emotional literary.

The test-taker gets 1 point for using "feel" in the context of a physical feeling, such as "I'd feel tired." They get two point for what the researchers call a "relatively undifferentiated emotion" such as "I'd feel bad." They get three points for words like happy, sad, and angry- words which are said to be differentiated. I don't think happy, sad and angry are too much better than "bad, " though. And I believe that anger is a secondary emotion, so I wouldn't give many points to someone who says "I'd feel angry." Some other emotion always lies under anger. I discuss this under the primary and secondary emotions section of my general page on emotions. Lane might be able to improve his test if he incorporates this idea.

Lane tells us the LEAS has been used in eight studies. He then makes a case for the reliability and validity of the test and shares some of the findings of the eight studies. He tells us for example, that the LEAS does not appear to be just another measure of verbal ability. Also, he says women tend to score higher than men. He also says that the LEAS scores correlated significantly with self-reported restraint and impulse control, a finding to which I wrote "hmm" in the margin! I am not sure just what this means. Is the correlation of around .30 to .35 high enough to imply that it could be included in the MSC ability model of EI? I don't know enough about statistics to say, but I plan to ask around about this. Of course we are now talking about a correlation to a correlation (impulse control--> LEAS-->EI) not a direct study of impulse control and the MEIS or MSCEIT scores.

Lane also says another study of the LEAS and a measure of the intensity of emotion did not indicate that these two are correlated, as one might have thought. In other words, one can feel emotions intensely without being able to label them very well. Such a person, I would suggest, could especially benefit from some emotional literacy training.

Now having just said that, I see that Lane reports that the LEAS scores do not correlate with measures of negative feelings as measured by the Taylor Manifest Anxiety Scale or the Beck Depression Inventory. These findings puzzle me somewhat, but I suppose they are simply saying that while it is important to be aware of your feelings, it is not enough. Thus I guess we really do need the other branches of the MSC four branch model, which include using, managing and understanding emotions. I can't recall the MEIS test scores being compared to measures of negative feelings such as the two just mentioned, but I would certainly expect there to be a correlation. If not, I would say we need to look at what the MSC model might be missing. Lane summarizes the findings on his test by saying the results "are consistent with the view that the LEAS measures the structure or complexity and not the intensity of affective experience." (p. 176)

Next Lane presents some findings which support his statement that the LEAS test measures the ability to recognize emotions whether the task is verbal or non-verbal. He seems to be saying that this finding supports his assumption that language (ie the ability to label feelings) "promotes the development" of one's ability to process emotional information. (p. 176)

Now Lane gets into the brain stuff. His next section is called "Neural Correlates of Emotional Awareness"

This section is proving extremely difficult for me to read because I have never heard of most of what Lane is talking about, but I will to get something out of it and to give you something from it as well.

Lane and his colleagues did some work with PET scans (positron emission tomograph) and emotion. They were trying to see where emotional responses showed up in the brain, to see where certain parts of the brain lit up in other words during emotional arousal. It seems he is finding that emotion and pain "provide moment to moment guidance regarding the most suitable allocation of attentional resources..." (p. 179) Lane also writes, "The conscious experience of emotion could occur concomitantly and automatically as attention is redirected by emotion." This seems to be saying the same thing that Mayer et al have hypothesize, which I will state as follows: That our emotions guide us towards what is important to think about, and that our emotions interrupt us when they have something important to tell us or call our attention to.

Lane then adds: "To the extent that people who are more emotionally aware attend more to internal and external emotion cues, the cognitive processing of this information can contribute to ongoing emotional development." (p. 179)

Lane then talks about the technical details of the study then says on page 181 "Our interpretation of these findings is that the rostral anerior cingulate-medial prefrontal activation may be where a representation of one's own emotional state is established. He then cites some points which support this idea, including how the amygdala is densely connected to that particular region of the brain, (the one with the long name that I have never heard of before!) as well as to some other parts like the orbitofrontal cortex and the insula -- whatever those are! He also mentions the lesion studies where they found that damage to this general part of the brain "revealed significant deficits in the capacity to experience emotion." Based on some other research by Goldman-Rakic, Lane also speculates that the medial prefrontal cortex might hold emotional information "on-line," ie in working memory, "for use in cognitive operations". Again, this seems to support the Mayer Salolvey Caruso model of EI.

Then he writes:

The findings from this study can therefore be interpreted as follows. When attending to one's own emotional state, several brain areas are activated including those involved in (1) establishing a representation of the emotional state... (2) processing visceral information ... (3) performing complex visual discrimination, possibly including retrieval of emotion-laden episodic memories... and (4) regulating autonomic responses..." (p181)

He then says that this rostral anterior so and so section of the brain and the way it seems to contribute to the "representation of emotional experience" may be "essential for knowing how one is feeling, a function which is critical in the control of emotional behavior." (p 181)

Next he states a hypothesis which makes his levels of emotional awareness model seem to offer even more support the MSC model of EI. He writes:

The dynamic interaction between phenomenal experience, establishing a representation of it, elaborating that representation (for example, identifying the source of the emotional response), and integrating it with other cognitive processes are the fundamental processes involved in the cognitive elaboration of emotion addressed by the levels of emotional awareness model. ( p. 181)

Lane mentions in passing some work by Damassio in 1994 which discussed how the sense of self may come partly from an integration of emotion and the "higher cognitive functions of the prefrontal cortex." (p182) This sounds to me like how we feel about ourselves affects what we think of ourselves and vice versa, and the over all picture is a summary of the two. This reminds me of Branden's statements about self-esteem being a reciprocal relationship between our thoughts and feelings, if I remember correctly.

The next section in this chapter is titled "Developmental Origins of Awareness of Self and Other". I feel encouraged that I can understand this one a little more! The section opens with a very interesting paragraph:

Healthy individuals spontaneously model and respond to the mental states of other people (their knowledge, intentions, beliefs, and desires to guide their own interpersonal behavior. The ability to make inferences about what is going on in another person's mind is a cognitive skill called theory of mind. This ability to make mentalistic inferences enables more accurate predictions of another person's future behavior than is possible solely on the basis of the other person's manifest behavior. (p. 182)

Hmm. Interesting. Seems what he is talking about is knowing where someone is "coming from." Or to be able to "read" someone. Or if we believe a person's motives are suspect, devious, dangerous, unhealthy, etc. we may say "I've got his number." I would say that unhealthy individuals also form their own interpretations and conclusions about people, so I am not sure why Lane limited it to healthy people. Unhealthy people simply are likely, or guaranteed, to form unhealthy models about others and respond in unhealthy ways - maladaptive ways. Now though, see that Lane says such people can make more accurate predictions. Okay, maybe so. Unhealthy people are probably going to be less accurate. Though we know that depressed people are more realistic, so we must be careful in who we call healthy. At anyrate I see Lane's point and it is a good one. I would add that the emotional information we are collecting about a person certainly adds to our picture and the accuracy of it, or at least it could serve that function depending on what we do with it, our own life experience, etc. Lane does call the ability to read people a cognitive skill (by the way, why do the psychologists have to have such complicated terms like theory of mind- why can't they just say the ability to read people? Is the difference that great? Maybe so, but for a book like this it seems to me that they could lighten up their terms, ie sacrifice a little precision to gain much more comprehension, and certainly make the reading for us non psychologists to understand. This, I believe, is what they call making a book "accessible," which even in itself is a needlessly complicated word. Accessible sounds to me like you can find it easily in the library or bookstore, and that is not too high up on a shelf where you can't reach it!Why don't they say something like easy to read, or "user-friendly"?! I am going to nail Jack and his colleagues by the way if they didn't make their book easy to read, easier than this one, at least, much easier I might add. In that book Jack promises us that it will be more "accessible." Or at least he tells us that is his goal, and one of my values to society, as I see it, is to help others live up to their own stated goals and ideals, and I encourage you to help me do the same, btw, so I won't be a hypocrite, or so I will at least be less of one!

Here it would be very interesting to try to find "healthy" people, or even what Maslow called self-actualized people, and if there is a relationship between a high EI person and a person who can form a more accurate picture of someone, and, importantly make more accurate predictions.Wouldn't this be a handy individual to have around?! Sort of like my ex-wife the communist spy who could tell in an instantly seemingly whether someone could be trusted. No doubt she had exceptionally high innate EI, but has made some self-destructive decisions, as well as hurt many other people due to her lack of EQ, as I define it. Or emotional enlightenment since that term would be less confusing than EQ, as few people know the difference between what I MSC call EI and what I call high EQ. If you are curious you can go here now. (Then you will be there then, not be here now!- A little fun with Ram Dass - if you don't get that joke you can go to my Dan Goleman page and search for Ram Dass and read up a bit. Forgive me, I have to amuse myself. I live alone in the woods! Where everyone around me speaks French!)

Next Lane mentions there is research which links autism and the ability to read people.

to be continued...





Table of Contents:

Foreword, by Daniel Goleman

Introduction, by Reuven Bar-On and James D. A. Parker


  1. Social Intelligence: The Development and Maintenance of Purposive Behavior by Sabrina Zirkel
  2. Social Competence: The Social Construction of the Concept by Keith Topping, William Bremner, and Elizabeth A. Holmes
  3. Overview of the Alexithymia Construct by Graeme J. Taylor and R. Michael Bagby
  4. Emotional Competence: A Developmental Perspective by Carolyn Saarni
  5. Emotional Intelligence as Zeitgeist, as Personality, and as a Mental Ability by John D. Mayer, Peter Salovey, and David R. Caruso
  6. Psychological Mindedness and Emotional Intelligence by Mary McCallum and William E. Piper
  7. Too Many Intelligences? Integrating Social, Emotional, and Practical Intelligence by Jennifer Hedlund and Robert J. Sternberg

  8. Levels of Emotional Awareness: Neurological, Psychological, and Social Perspectives by Richard D. Lane
  9. Poor Judgement in Spite of High Intellect: Neurological Evidence for Emotional Intelligence by Antoine Bechara, Daniel Tranel, and Antonio R. Domasio
  10. Practical Intelligence and Its Development by Robert J. Sternberg and Elena L. Grigorenko
  11. Development of Emotional Expression, Understanding, and Regulation in Infants and Young Children by Elaine Scharfe
  12. Emotional Intelligence from the Perspective of the Five-Factor Model of Personality by Robert R. McCrae
  13. Intelligence, Emotion, and Creativity: From Trichotomy to Trinity by James R. Averill

  14. Assessment of Alexithymia: Self-Report and Observer-Rated Measures by Graeme J. Taylor, R. Michael Bagby, and Olivier Luminet
  15. Selecting a Measure of Emotional Intelligence: The Case for Ability Scales by John D. Mayer, David R. Caruso, and Peter Salovey
  16. Clustering Competence in Emotional Intelligence: Insights from the Emotional Competence Inventory by Richard E. Boyatzis, Daniel Goleman, and Kenneth S. Rhee
  17. Emotional and Social Intelligence: Insights from the Emotional Quotient Inventory by Reuven Bar-On


  18. Criteria for Evaluating the Quality of School-Based Social and Emotional Learning Programs by Patricia A. Graczyk, Roger P. Weissberg, John W. Payton, Maurice J. Elias, Mark T. Greenberg, and Joseph E. Zins
  19. The Effectiveness of School-Based Programs for the Promotion of Social Competence by Keith Topping, Elizabeth A. Holmes, and William Bremner
  20. Social and Emotional Competence in the Workplace by Cary Cherniss
  21. Emotional Intelligence, Adaptation to Stressful Encounters, and Health Outcomes by Gerald Matthews and Moshe Zeidner
  22. Emotional Intelligence: Clinical and Therapeutic Implications by James D. A. Parker





About Reuven Bar-On:

The first time I heard of Reuven was when I came upon a web page around 1996. The website was very blatantly promoting his work. The content was amateurish and so was the layout. I felt shouted and pressured by just reading the site. It seemed whoever wrote the site had a chip on their shoulder. They seemed quite aggressive and a bit hostile from what I recall. And extraordinary claims were made which I found impossible to believe. That website is gone now I think. At least I haven't seen it in a very long time.

Since then I have always taken what Reuven has said with a grain of salt. (Or maybe a whole salt-shaker!) I am not sure what to make of Reuven. He sometimes seems to be his own worst enemy according to someone who has met him. He rants and raves a lot. But I have heard some good things about him and he has been somewhat cooperative with Jack Mayer et al, so I am trying to keep an open mind about him. He is a more "real" person than Dan Goleman, so at least you pretty much always know how he is really feeling, even if he doesn't use feeling words.

The main problem I have with Reuven is that he is letting people believe his test of well being is a test of EI. And he seems to be misleading people about the work he did in graduate school. Reuven is either telling people or letting them believe he has done work since 1980 on emotional intelligence. In fact, what he is talking about is his dissertation on well being. He was not studying emotional intelligence. He claims to have "coined the term EQ" when he was writing his college dissertation in South Africa, but as I understand it, there is no written record of his use of the term EQ prior to the publication of Dan Goleman's 1995 book. The way I understand it Reuven is telling people that he wanted to use the term EQ in his dissertation, but his faculty advisor in South Africa made him take that page out. I feel highly skeptical of this. But if it is true, then I can understand why he might be feeling a little resentful.

Either way, a lot of people are taking Reuven at his word. Consider this marketing promotional piece from MHS:

Dr. Bar-On has been researching the area of emotional and social intelligence since 1980. His research has crossed borders into more than 12 countries in an effort to develop a cross-cultural approach to describing and assessing the emotional, personal and social components of intelligent behavior. He coined the term "EQ" ("Emotional Quotient") in 1985 to describe his approach to assessing this aspect of general intelligence...

Frankly, I am very tired of all the claims that are being made in this field. And I feel motivated to bring more truth to light. I am not sure what motivates Reuven. It seems he wants to feel and be more important in the world. That is understandable. I also want to feel and be more important. In fact, Reuven and I are perhaps similar in another way. We both have become more important through our association with the field of EI and those who were doing work in the field before we jumped on the bandwagon. The difference, I believe, is that I am adding something of value to the field without making questionable claims, without blatantly promoting myself and without seeking to profit financially from it. I sincerely want to see this field become legitimized. Right now I am afraid Reuven is damaging it by allowing MHS and others to call his EQi test a test of emotional intelligence. Because they are calling it that, others are calling it that. What's more, sometimes Reuven calls his test a measure of EI and sometimes he doesn't.

Reuven really wants to have his test be accepted as a measure of EI. He recently wrote me a personal note saying that the Mayer et al tests were not the only tests of emotional intelligence, implying that his test is just another way of measuring it. But he has not convinced me that his test is a measure of EI. Neither has he convinced me that his motives are pure. I invite him to offer us all more evidence on both accounts.

Reuven made a significant contribution to the field in getting his Handbook published. As David Caruso told me, "Reuven is to be commended for inviting people critical of him to write chapters in his book". David also admires Reuven for getting the book out as quickly as he did. Reuven is certainly knowledgeable about the EI field now. But I encourage him to seriously question his own motives and to stop letting people believe his EQi is a test of emotional intelligence. In the long run, if he wants influence in the academic community and educated world, the best way to get it is to earn people's respect. One way to do this, I believe, is to publicly state that his test is not a test of emotional intelligence, to apologize for adding to the confusion in the field and for misleading people, and then for him to urge people to stop calling his test a test of EI. If Reuven really wants to have a test of EI, he can certainly create one himself using the Mayer Salovey Caruso tests as a model. In fact, I believe the MSC tests can definitely be improved upon, so this effort might prove to be a worthy contribution to the field. Then Reuven would be much more deserving of the recognition he clearly seeks.

1. I like "anyrate." We have anyhow, so why not anyrate? It saves space and time!