Emotional Intelligence | Stevehein.com


june 8

This leads me to something else. I am very honestly worried by what

I saw on Jack’s website. I worry about what would happen if a

suicidal teenager who reads what he has written, or who hears

someone say that “if you use drugs or are depressed then you are

not emotionally intelligent.” (Though Jack did not say this in so

many words, a teacher, psychologist, or parent could easily make

this interpretation)

I am afraid a suicidal teenager, who is already confused about

their feelings and who is being told or led to believe there is

something wrong with them, will take this message very personally.

They will not only “take it to heart” but they will record it in

their already tragically low self-image. I am afraid it will be

another contributing factor to them feeling worthless, hopeless and

rejected. These are the kinds of feelings which lead to teen

suicide. So I am afraid that by Jack, David and Peter’s latest

writing, there will be more teen suicide, not less. This troubles

me deeply, so as their model of emotional intelligence suggests I

am going to give some priority to my feelings about it and do more

writing about it in the future.

I still agree with much of the four branch model of EI proposed by

Jack and Peter in their 1997 article. But what I am seeing more

clearly now is that I strongly disagree with their ideas about

emotional intelligence and emotional management.

I believe emotional management is much more a factor of one’s

environment and upbringing than of their innate emotional

intelligence. This is basically the nature vs. nurture argument

which has caused so much controversy in the area of general


Jack, without realizing it I am afraid, has now opened the field of

EI up to this same kind of controversy. I feel sad about that.

There is already enough misunderstanding and controversy about what

EI is. This will only make things worse.

In Jack and Peter’s original work, they were much more careful in

avoiding making these kinds of statements. They were also more

careful in saying that they were only hypothesizing about what EI

might be. Now they seem to be feeling more self-assured or even

self-righteous about their work.

Jack is basing his statements on results from the MSCEIT test. But

do not agree that their MSCEIT test is good test of emotional

intelligence. The test might have certain statistical qualities

which make it a “good” test according definitions used by

psychologists, but to me this still does not make it a “good” test

of emotional intelligence.

To me, the MSCEIT has some of the same problems BarOn’s Eqi test

has. It might have all kinds of predictive abilities, but we still

don’t know if it is actually testing emotional intelligence.

For example, either test might predict who will make a good soldier

or life insurance salesman, but does this make the tests good tests

of emotional intelligence?

In my opinion, calling a test a test of emotional intelligence, and

then proving that is statistically valid and makes real-life

predictions, still does not make it a test of emotional


I am absolutely positive that I could create a statistically valid

test which makes accurate and reliable real-life predictions about

who would be “successful” in certain things. And I could call it a

test of “emotional intelligence”. Or I could call it a test of

“emotional health”. Or I could call it a test of “emotional

skills”. Or I could call it a test of “socially and emotionally

intelligent behavior”. And I could surely get someone to sell the

test and write convincing marketing propaganda for it. And I could

set up certification programs and invite consultants to come to my

workshops and then give them certificates saying they are qualified

to administer my tests.

And I could create a website saying that I had this new test of

emotional whatever. And I could go on a speaking tour and get

reporters to write about me and my test. And soon other people

would be quoting things second- and third-hand about my test. And I

could be famous and I could be rich. And I could be “successful.”

But none of this would guarantee that my test was actually a test

of whatever I wanted to call it.

On his site Jack talks about how the MSCEIT test is measuring

something different than other tests measure. He says that the

MSCEIT test is not just another personality test and he gives us

evidence to show that.

To this I say “fine.” That’s great, as David Caruso says. But it

still does not mean you are testing emotional intelligence. You can

call it that, but that doesn’t mean you are calling it the right


Just because Jack, David and Peter have called their test a test of

emotional intelligence does not mean that it would not be more

accurate to call it a test of emotional conformity.

How do we know that it is not a better test of emotional conformity

than emotional intelligence?

Let’s go back to Evo and the other presidents.

Let’s say we develop a test and call it a test of “intelligent

dressing”. Then we have questions on the test like “If you are

going to an international meeting of presidents of countries, would

it be more effective to wear a tie or to not wear a tie?”

Then we give the test to a lot of people and we let them select the

“best” answers. (This is exactly what Jack, David and Peter did, by

the way.)

Then we decide, based on these other people’s answers, that the

“best” answer is “it would be more effective to wear a tie.”

Then we say that if you answer our questions correctly you are an

“intelligent dresser.”

Then we looked at the pictures of presidents and we saw that most

of them are wearing ties.

So then we say that our test of intelligent dressing predicts who

will be presidents.

So then we say that if you don’t score highly on our test, you are

not an intelligent dresser, you are not likely to be a president,


Is it really fair to say that our test is a test of “intelligent

dressing?” Or would it be more accurate to call it a test of

“dressing conformity?”

Now, I can predict the reaction of Jack, David and Peter. They will

probably say that the word “intelligence” is a special word. They

will say that in their discipline of psychology the word

“intelligence” has a special meaning. They will say it has to do

with cognitive skills, for example. So they might say that choosing

what you wear doesn’t require any form of cognitive skills.

And I might not argue with them on that.

Or, then again, I might.

Since this article is getting a bit long I will let you choose to

keep reading about why I might argue with them. If you want there

is a link below to that. But the main thing I would like you to

think about is this:

How do we know that something is actually a test of emotional


Do we believe the test authors? Do we believe the business

consultants? Do we believe the marketing company who sells the


I want to add that I personally believe Jack Mayer, David Caruso

and Peter Salovey have relatively high levels of integrity. I am

not questioning their integrity as I have with Dan Goleman and

Reuven BarOn.

I am questioning one aspect of their work. I would like other

academic scientists to also question this and improve upon the work

in the area of EI tests.

I still firmly believe in the concept of emotional intelligence.

And I believe in the scientific process. I personally believe that

EI can be measured, but I don’t believe the MSCEIT test is the one

we should be using and calling a test of emotional intelligence.

And I definitely don’t believe the BarOn test is.

I would like to see new tests of EI developed. Until then I would

like MHS and everyone else to stop calling the MSCEIT and the EQi

tests of emotional intelligence.