Emotional Intelligence | Stevehein.com


June 5, 2006

Thinking more about the problems with the idea of selecting the most popular or most common answer. I was just thinking how much better I feel here in Argentina than I did in Peru. Then I wondered if I would have to answer the same question differently in order to be called emotionally intelligent from one country to another!

This is pretty much just nuts. But it seems like what those guys are saying. If the “correct” ie intelligent answer depends on the culture you are in then you’d have to change your answers from culture to culture!

It is hard to take them seriously now. They seem to be just talking a lot of bullshit like almost everyone else. They are saying “the emotionally intelligent person this”and “the emotionally intelligent person that.” So they are convinced they have created a test of emotional intelligence now. And they will probably just be defending it till they die. Never admitting they were offbase back in 1990 when they defined it as a set of skills and then when they designed the test with its many problems.

I need to be very clear in listing what those problems are exactly and thanks to the assholes at MHS I can’t show people the actual test questions. So I have to be careful how I show how shitty the test is.

Ok let me try to go thru them again..

a) designed by Americans who think like Americans, behave like Americans, belief like Americans

b) no guarantee whatsoever the most intelligent responses are even included in the possible answers.

c) no guarantee that the so called experts no what the most intelligent answers are

d) what if of the 27 or whatever 13 picked one answer and 14 picked another? and what if 25 picked one answer and 2 picked another? how do we know the 2 who don’t think like all the rest aren’t actually the most emotionally intelligent.

e) the cultural problem. if in one culture something is common, but not in another, how do we know what is truly most intelligent, or best for humanity? if most people in peru for example think it is fine to hit a child and will select hitting a child over telling him how you feel and why then are we to accept this as the most emotionally intelligent answer?

f) what happens when a test like this is designed in one culture (like the USA) and then given in another, like England or Australia or Canada? Or worse, when it is translated to another language, like French or Spanish, then given in that culture?

g) the “people are different” problem. what is the best answer for one person won’t always be the same for someone else. For example, if one person is shy and another aggressive and another tells a lot of jokes, their way of handling an emotional problem will be different according to their personalities. You can’t say that one way of handling something is the only right way or the only intelligent way.

h) how do we define “effective”? they use that word so many times. but it depends on the goal. and goals depend on a lot of things. this is the “is terrorism effective” question. think about this in terms of cultures. if you ask people in an arab country what is the best way to achieve a political goal and the most common answer is by killing people, then would you call that the correct and most intelligent answer? Now take the same issue to the USA. If you ask people how do you stop terrorism and one answer is something like “try to understand the motives behind it” and another is “kill the terrorists” and the majority of the people choose the latter, do we then say “ok, that’s the most intelligent answer” and leave it at that?

Intelligent people think of things others don’t. They won’t have the same answers everyone else does to complex problems. That is one of the reasons we call them intelligent.

Then there is the simplistic issue. If you have read my David Caruso page you know that he has on occasion at least been known to give overly-simplistic answers to complex questions. IE the “because they are evil” answer. I have to laugh now at how ridiculous this is. I mean come on…this guy has a PhD in Psychology and has studied at Yale. What are we to think of the quality of education at Yale if they could let someone in and out who thinks like that, even under stress and pain? What are we to think of the entire US education system?

It is hard for me to believe people have gone along with all of this EI stuff for so long. I feel embarrassed that I didn’t spot these things more clearly myself until now. But fucking hell I’m not a damn psychologist. I don’t get paid to do this stuff! Where are these brainy people when you need them?!

To their credit Mathews, Roberts and Zeidner did say something about the conformity problem as I recall. I will have to have a look. But fucking hell again they didn’t write in the popular press or for the average highschool director or politician. They wrote for other PhDs so basically almost no one in the real world could understand what the hell they were really saying. And they wrote too much and took too long to say what they did. And they never wrote something for my site as I tried to get them to do. PhD’s seem to be averse ha ha to writing on my site. Like they say that teens are averse to treatment or some such crap.

Well here is another news flash. They don’t want to be “treated” they want to be understood and taken seriously.

Back to the overly simplistic problem. On the MSCEIT test the word anger is used a lot of times. This is also overly simplistic. It is like someone answering what’s wrong with your care and saying “It won’t run.” This is somewhat helpful, but not very. In all the years of psychology courses the three test authors took and have taught I guess they never ran across the concept of primary and secondary feelings. Or if they did they didn’t think anyone who would be taking their test would be smart enough to know the difference. Is it really that difficult though!? I don’t think so.


Also - if we start calling people who agree with everyone else the intellligent people in a group, who is going to lead us to changing society? Take an example like Peru, where most people still believe it is necessary to hit children and that this is just part of being a good, loving, protective parent. Or take a Muslim country where most people might believe that the answer to a problem is to pray to Allah. Now one could make the argument that the university professors who are members of the Institure for Emotions Research or whatever it is are not going to give these kinds of answers. But what if we asked them a question about the need for a university degree. It is likely that since they all have university degrees they will say that a degree is a good thing for society and society could be improved if more people had university degrees. But how can we be so sure that they would be right?

Maybe a non-conforming person would see a problem with university degrees, such as the problem I myself have seen, i.e. that university educations de-sensitize people and over-emphasis intellectual deveolopment at the expense of emotional development. How do we know who is more intelligent? Many people take it for granted that a university degree is a "good" thing. But if a university degree is such a good thing, then why do countries like England and the USA have so many problems? Isn't it true that the majority of the important decisions there are being made by people with university degrees? How many members of parliment or members of congress don't have university degrees? This leads me back to Evo Morales. He is a non-conformist, so would we say he is low in emotional intelligence if he answers questions differently than the majority on a test similar to the MSCEIT?

Basing correct answers on a test like the MSCEIT is almost like asking people from a particular religion a question about their religious beliefs and calling anyone who doesn't agree with the majority unitelligent. Yet I have been to countries where religion dominates both beliefs and daily life, and in these countries I have seen some of the worst living conditions in the world.

The MSCEIT test authors might really believe they have taken a broad enough sample so they don't run into these kinds of problems.IE they might think they have selected the "experts" from all countries and all religions. But one thing all the experts have in common is a university degree. In fact, not only one degree, but more than one. I think it is likely that they all have PhD's. I have written before that a PhD is the kiss of emotional death and I don't think this is over-stating the issue too much. To get a university degree you have to be a certain kind of person. You have to be a person who has a certain set of beliefs. You have to believe that university degrees are important, for example.You have to believe itis worth it to invest your time and often your money in a degree. Most people these days are going to universities to enhance their prospects of getting a high paying job. I don't know any who go to universities to increase their compassion for other human beings who are suffering in this world. And I don't think the typical university degree does that either. Many people might want to believe or might actually believe that those who study psychology are more compassionate, more caring than others, but sadly this has not been my experience. As I have looked for people to help me with my work in teen suicide I have had absolutely no success with psychology students or psychology professors. There has never been one psychologly professor who has written me to commend me on my work, to express support for it, or to offer to help me with it either personally or by telling his or her students about it and either asking for volunteers or making it part of their assigned coursework or practical/clinical training.

And in my experience teenagers consistently do not like to talk to psychologists. So what does all of this add up to? Does it suggest to you that we should be allowing PhD's in psychology to tell us who the emotionally intelligent people are by designing a test of confomity?





Or take any country where most people, especially t

country like England where most people are likely to say that a university degree is a good thing