Online Books and Articles Archive - File 1


NTS (note to self) - move this around to put back up stuff elsewhere.

Copies of: Up with emotional health, and Goleman's interview in Harvard Magazine (sept/oct 98), HBR article, Annie Paul article - Promotional Intelligence, Interview from Team Mangement Systems, New Lenism article, a site on Goleman (with the Goleman library thing), Hay Group press release; Assoc. for Transpersonal Psychology

Big Five (short)

Big Five


Article from Educational Leadership moved to

From Harvard Review

Not long ago, Zinedine Zidane acted impulsively and nearly destroyed a grand enterprise. The star midfielder on France's World Cup-winning soccer team, Zidane is considered the game's best playmaker. Yet in a World Cup match against Iran, with France winning easily, Zidane, in a fit of pique, stepped on a downed Iranian opponent. The offense drew a red card from an official that kept Zidane out of World Cup action for the next two weeks; without him, the French side barely escaped with an overtime win against Paraguay. Then the star returned and, with greater self-control, led the French to victories over Italy, Croatia, and Brazil. In so doing, he validated a prediction that Brazilian sports psychologist Suzy Fleury had made to Daniel Goleman, Ph.D. '74, before the tournament: "The team that wins the World Cup will be the one with the most emotional intelligence."

Fleury's choice of words was no accident: Goleman's 1996 book Emotional Intelligence is a global bestseller, with 4 million copies in print in 24 languages. "Emotional intelligence"--a blanket term that includes, in Goleman's words, "self-awareness, managing your emotions effectively, motivation, empathy, reading other people's feelings accurately, social skills like teamwork, persuasion, leadership, and managing relationships"--is an idea whose time has come, apparently. This fall, Bantam will publish a sequel, Working with Emotional Intelligence, in which Goleman maps these skills into the realms of work and career. Since Zidane is a professional athlete, his temperamental lapse could in fact be seen as an error of business judgment. "That was an 'emotional hijacking,'" says Goleman, his term for moments when strong feelings overwhelm reason, judgment, and perspective.

"Emotional intelligence" may seem an oxymoron, since our society has long associated intelligence purely with intellect, analysis, rationality--the cerebral capacities measured by IQ tests and the Scholastic Aptitude Test. In contrast, Goleman deals with the feeling side of life--joy, hurt, anger, sadness, jealousy--and asserts that human beings can also handle these states intelligently--although often they do not.

The sine qua non of emotional intelligence is awareness of one's own feelings. Knowing one's emotional state allows the possibility of expressing feeling appropriately, or perhaps consciously suppressing it. Self-awareness allows us to take an emotional upset into account before acting on the powerful impulses it generates--in other words, managing our emotional responses. We cannot manage feelings of which we are unaware--as in an emotional hijacking, when emotions express themselves in words and deeds before the person has actually identified their nature or even their presence.

Awareness of our own feelings also enables us to perceive the feelings of others accurately--to be empathetic, to feel with another person. Empathy forges emotional connection, and so tends to bond people together even more deeply than shared beliefs and ideas. Empathy, in Goldman's view, underlies many interpersonal aptitudes like teamwork, persuasion, and leadership.

Born in Stockton, California, Goleman graduated from Amherst College and earned his doctorate in personality and development at Harvard. As a graduate student, he and his adviser, the late professor of psychology David McClelland, mused over why IQ and personality tests were such poor predictors of success in the real world. A Harvard predoctoral traveling fellowship took Goleman to India, where he learned to meditate. Eventually he wrote his dissertation on meditation as an antidote to stress; 30 years later, he still meditates and has written books on the topic.

Ultimately, Goleman applied his academic training as a journalist and author. For 12 years he was a behavioral science writer for the New York Times, where his work was twice nominated for the Pulitzer Prize. He also published several books before the commercial breakthrough of Emotional Intelligence.

Today Goleman consults internationally and lectures on emotional intelligence to business and professional groups. He lives in western Massachusetts with his second wife, Tara Bennett-Goleman, a psychotherapist. She is a longtime student of the Japanese tea ceremony, and behind their house a winding path leads up a hill to a tea house commanding a majestic view of the surrounding Berkshires. Typically, Goleman will do his morning meditation in the tea house and then turn to his laptop computer.

For his new book, Goleman has done two years of research, including a review of internal studies by nearly 200 large companies of their most successful employees. "The research shows that for jobs of all kinds, emotional intelligence is twice as important an ingredient of outstanding performance as cognitive ability and technical skill combined," Goleman says. "And the higher you go in the organization, the more important these qualities are for success. When it comes to leadership, they are almost everything.

"The problem in all these high-intellect fields--like law, medicine, and business management--is that everybody has passed the same intellectual hurdles to get in," he continues. "Practically all lawyers will have an IQ of at least 110 to 120, good enough to handle law school and pass the bar. Consequently the added advantage of being at the high end intellectually is small compared to the benefit of having emotional intelligence--for which there are almost no selection pressures! At least no systematic ones, which means there's a much wider range of variation. 'Rainmakers' at law firms bring in new clients not because of their LSAT scores, but because of the kind of people they are--charismatic, likable, trustworthy. In all these professions, intellect and technical expertise get you so far, but it's the human qualities that make you a star."

Failures of emotional intelligence also have their price, says Goleman, citing a New England Journal of Medicine study on malpractice cases. "About 1 percent of all hospital patients have something happen that could be grounds for a malpractice suit, but only a tiny percentage of these patients sue. Doctors that patients don't like get sued more; although their medical skills may be comparable to other doctors', the patient feels, 'He didn't care about me. He didn't listen. He didn't let me ask questions.' If you were a medical school, you'd want to prepare your students by cultivating qualities of empathy."

Emotional clumsiness is also a liability in corporate life. Professor of psychology Philip Stone says, "In the modern corporation, people who go totally ballistic are no longer tolerated, unless they are so extremely bright that people have to put up with them. Socio-emotional intelligence is crucial, especially in the service sector where you have continuing relationships with customers. In this economy, the one-shot encounter--jobs like checkout clerk in a supermarket--is becoming rarer."

Yet at higher levels of the corporation, emotional intelligence can have two faces. "Machiavelli had a lot of emotional intelligence," says Shoshana Zuboff, Ph.D. '80, Wilson professor of business administration. "The 'prince' was able to be successful because of his insight into people and their motivations, how they could be influenced and manipulated. People in corporate life who have this kind of outer-directed savvy can rise; it allows them to navigate the sociopolitical environment very successfully. That makes you a star performer in a very narrow sense.

"But if Machiavelli is one pole, Socrates is the other--'Know thyself,'" Zuboff continues. "Self-awareness, self-knowledge, self-discipline are related to the capacity to create meaning in one's life, to live a full and rich life. In a corporate environment, that kind of emotional intelligence can actually be crippling. The corporation is not friendly to people who are empathic, sensitive, aware of themselves and of the meanings and consequences of their actions. The rewards are still built around power, position, money. People with high levels of sensitivity do not respond to these rewards and cannot be controlled by that motivational system. Those with autonomy and self-control have a hard time bending to corporate discipline and order; in fact, business executives often talk candidly about how you have to trim the sails of your personality to fit the mold. The more emotional intelligence people have, the more difficult it becomes to mold themselves to the requirements of the corporation."

To help such people find their way, Zuboff runs a business school program for mid-life executives called "Odyssey," which aims to deepen "internal" emotional intelligence, "to learn about one's inner resources and individuality," she says. "These things can be taught, but one has to want to learn them and be ready."

In legal practice, "you need a much greater range of skills than the things most of us focus on in law school," says Byrne professor of administrative law Todd Rakoff '67, J.D. '75. "The general public perception is that lawyers are more unfeeling than they ought to be. Maybe we don't teach enough about the relationship between lawyer and client. The attorney may overemphasize legal remedies; sometimes lawyers are a little tone-deaf when it comes to what a client really wants. When you settle a suit, what you get for a client is just money, but the client often wants some statement that he or she was right. You may not be able to get that unless you go through a long lawsuit. Very few lawyers deal in getting or giving apologies; no one expects them to. Yet in ordinary human affairs, a sincere apology is often worth a lot to the other person."

Legal work often means acting as an emotional buffer of sorts. "To some extent, part of what you are paid for as a lawyer is to take responsibility under conditions of stress and tension," says Rakoff. "Since the practice of law is so often adversarial, it is potentially abrasive, and people who can't develop the emotional skills to deal with that kind of tough situation, without losing control of themselves--and while continuing to be effective--are in trouble."

Professor of law Martha Minow, M.Ed. '76, adds, "Lawyers I know say they don't want to hire anybody who can't talk to a client. By that, they mean understanding a client's concerns and motivations, helping clients sort through their own tangle of priorities and feelings. You need these skills not just in family law but in corporate law, takeovers, complex tax issues. It's a fair criticism of legal education that we don't spend much time cultivating these capacities."

"Connections--doctor with patient, doctor with family, patient with family--are powerful healing phenomena," says clinical instructor in psychiatry Steve Bergman '66, M.D. '73. "With post-surgical recovery, breast cancer, or even the common cold, patients who have good connections with caregivers and others have lower morbidity and mortality." Bergman has devoted much of his career to the subject of "how to remain human while practicing medicine," as he puts it. His recent book, We Have to Talk: Healing Dialogues between Men and
Women, written with his wife, psychologist Janet Surrey, Ed.M. '69, focuses on the kind of mutual bond he believes is also central to the healing relationship: authentic interpersonal connection.

"The traditional old-time general practitioners had a lot of emotional intelligence," Bergman says. "In fact, they didn't have too much else--half of their ideas were wrong and two-thirds of their medicines were probably harmful. But though the science was not good, the main thing they did was to be with people in their illness. The connection that these doctors made was healing."

Bergman prefers the phrase "relational intelligence" to "emotional intelligence," noting that "the emotions you show are most intelligent when they're used in the service of making good connections." Of course, he adds, "a good connection is a mutual connection. One-way empathy may not be healthy. For example, a woman who's empathic and understanding toward a boss who is abusing her is not operating with relational intelligence. The healthy connection is where he also feels some empathy for what's going on with her."

But Bergman also observes that medical training and practice create situations where emotional choices are ambiguous: "In these big systems, it's helpful sometimes to deny the emotions you are having. Imagine a young male medical student who was present when a patient learned that she was about to die. Perhaps the patient cried and the student began to cry along with her. If another medical student witnessed this, it would be reasonable for the first student to say, 'Don't tell anyone about this; I'm going to have to present this case.' At times it's relationally intelligent to hide your feelings from the system."

Given these complexities, can emotional intelligence and its appropriate application be learned--and taught? "Absolutely. It's all learnable," says Goleman. "Unlike IQ--which some argue doesn't change throughout life--emotional intelligence can be developed. It's a neurological fact that the brain is plastic throughout life; brain structures and circuits shape themselves through repeated experience. You can discipline yourself and get better at things you once weren't good at. In fact, emotional intelligence tends to increase through each decade of life. It's what we used to call maturity--how we handle ourselves and other people. You get better at it as you age.

"There's always been a tutorial that has helped people change in the emotional intelligence area," he adds: "Psychotherapy." Meditation can also help: Goleman cites a study by Richard Davidson, Ph.D. '76, who worked with microbiologists developing new products under high pressure, facing tight deadlines and complex tasks. Over an eight-week period, they learned a "mindfulness" meditation practice from a psychologist and put it into daily practice. Davidson examined before-and-after activation patterns in the scientists' brains using Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI). "Not only did the scientists feel calmer and more energized, but the left frontal cortex became more active," says Goleman. "That's an area of the brain that both calms distress and generates positive feelings. It's very impressive evidence that the brain can change in ways that support emotional learning."

But, short of meditation and psychotherapy, can graduate and professional schools teach emotional intelligence? "I'm skeptical about the extent that you can make socio-emotional weaknesses into strengths through training," says Philip Stone, citing an adage: "You can teach a pig to climb a tree, but it's easier to hire a squirrel." Last year Stone taught an undergraduate course on "the person-job fit," a topic he has worked on with private clients. He believes that "the American hero isn't the person who can do everything. American heroes are those who recognize their strengths and weaknesses, and team up with other people whose strengths balance and complement their own."

Goleman counters, "The evidence is very strong that people can improve in these areas. Too many corporate training programs are a waste of money--they are badly flawed and have poor results, so it looks like it can't be done. But it could be done routinely as part of professional education in graduate school."

Harvard Business School fills the 880 places in its M.B.A. program from 8,000 applicants by a process that emphasizes relational skills, according to Jill Fadule, M.B.A. '89, managing director of M.B.A. admissions and financial aid. She notes that Harvard's application form is "the longest one of any business school. There are eight essay questions--like 'Tell us about a time you failed, and what you learned from it.' We are very interested in how they have been able to succeed with and through other people. Suppose someone tells us that he was elected captain of the football team: 'I was the most talented player, and we ended up winning the conference title.' He thinks that's excellent evidence of leadership--and it may be--but he didn't show us how his success arose through working with, and through, others. When we see people succeeding by persuading, coordinating, motivating others--that helps separate the wheat from the chaff."

The M.B.A. program divides its first-year matriculants into "sections" of 80 students, who take all their first-year courses together. Each section elects a variety of leaders--an education representative, chairs for social, athletic, and technology matters. The sections establish norms of conduct, like not raising hands in class while someone else is speaking, or making sure that no one in the section fails the program. "Half of your grade is based on class participation," says Fadule, "so you have an explicit responsibility to your section: you're responsible for what everyone is learning. On average, the professor speaks only about 15 percent of the time.

"The program is a transforming experience," she continues, "and it comes from the dynamic of being with this family, this company of 80 people, that you're going to live with all year long--resolving disagreements, learning from each other, and constantly moving forward. You have to empathize with someone in your section who's having difficulty communicating in English while standing up before 80 people. This is a living, breathing community." Reinforcing these principles, the business school's grading system--a 1/2/3 breakdown, in which 80 percent of the students receive a "2"--helps de-emphasize grade competition, and a plethora of assigned team projects helps teach students to be good team leaders, good team members, and how to create effective teams.

Even so, Philip Stone notes that "if you spend two days in the halls of Harvard Business School and two days in the halls at Kellogg [Northwestern's business school], you'll see a remarkable contrast. Kellogg is the friendly Midwest, part of the American economic engine, not a wheeler-dealer place where somebody goes to become a lone-star performer. At Harvard, you've been competing like crazy, but at Kellogg there is a team atmosphere."

In medicine, "More and more health care is being delivered in teams," says Ebert professor of molecular medicine Michael Rosenblatt, M.D. '73, faculty dean for academic programs at the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. "So you need the human skills to succeed with your colleagues." Harvard Medical School's New Pathway curriculum teaches through tutorials: "Much of the learning occurs in small groups, which forces the doctors in training to interact with each other," Rosenblatt says. "Ten or 15 years ago the curriculum included lots of lectures in large classrooms. Now we have moved to problem-based learning, and at the center of those problems are patients. From the first day of med school, you see patients."

Paradoxically, technology can also help humanize, according to Rosenblatt. "Under managed care, patients often spend no more than 20 or 30 minutes in a doctor's office," he says. "Let's say you have a medical student who's in a room with a patient and a doctor on the faculty. You would like the student to learn about the disease that patient has--if it's diabetes, how to diagnose diabetes, how to match insulin to blood sugar levels, and so on. But you would also like the teacher to be a role model for how you get information from a patient--what is it about that doctor that builds that bond of trust? To do all that in 20 minutes is nearly impossible. So let the student learn about managing blood sugar by working with a computer program; then the professor can say, 'Let's focus on how I am talking to this patient, getting a history, and the social and cultural aspects of the interview.' You'll use that half-hour more effectively."

Bergman agrees that "in the first two years of medical school, the preclinical years, there are good things happening in medical education all across the country; there are some efforts to emphasize good connections with patients. But in the third and fourth years," he maintains, "the students go into the clinics and there's the same old emphasis on intelligence and nothing else." Bergman's course "How to Stay Human in Medicine" was once part of the clinical rotation in psychiatry at McLean Hospital; it was canceled in 1992. "They told me they needed the time for pharmacology, to teach the students to give drugs," he explains.

For his part, Goleman believes that medical education ought to include some basic tools of emotional intelligence, "especially self-awareness and the arts of empathy and listening." Ironically, he writes, as more patients seek a more human medicine, "the changing culture of medicine itself, as it becomes more responsive to the imperatives of business, is making such care increasingly difficult to find." But since emotionally responsive care makes patients more satisfied with their doctors and their treatment, it may also be justified economically--so misdirected medical education may backfire. Goleman writes: "In the emerging medical marketplace, where patients often have the option to choose between competing health plans...souring experiences can lead patients to go elsewhere for care, while pleasing ones translate into loyalty."

"There are real gems in the medical system, people who have wonderful abilities in relating with people," Bergman says. "But in my three decades in academic medicine, that has not been the quality rewarded by promotion. Even though we've recognized the importance of emotional intelligence, what we reward is research, publishing, raising money, getting grants." Rosenblatt insists that the situation has improved, at least at Harvard Medical School: "A whole new avenue for promotion has opened up, via contributions to medical education and teaching, not just research and publication. Now people can make a career of being high-level medical educators, and be promoted all the way to a full professorship."

Unlike the business and medical schools, Harvard Law School does not interview applicants for admission. But, says Martha Minow, "We don't just want people with perfect grades and perfect test scores." Once admitted, the law students' training in emotional intelligence tends to occur on an elective basis, rather than arise from the basic pedagogical structure. Clinical programs, for example, enable students to encounter the realities of the attorney-client relationship first-hand; although some students take no clinical programs at all, others devote as many as 25 to 30 hours weekly to such work. The negotiation and mediation programs--whose most celebrated exponent has been Williston professor of law emeritus Roger Fisher '43, LL.B. '48, coauthor of Getting to Yes--also train students in accurately reading other people's concerns and motives. And, Minow notes, "The arc of inspiration behind the case method is that it does require some degree of empathic imagination; you take these cold factual documents and reconstruct the client's actual concerns."

In this connection, she cites a quotation that may be the most celebrated in legal scholarship, but could apply to the entire realm of emotional intelligence. "The life of law has not been logic," wrote Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr., A.B. 1861, LL.B. 1866, LL.D. 1895. "It has been experience."

Craig A. Lambert '69, Ph.D. '78, is an associate editor of this magazine.

Promotional intelligence

When the two scientists who invented the concept of emotional intelligence loaned the idea to New York Times science writer Daniel Goleman, they never dreamed it would become a cottage industry.
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By Annie Murphy Paul

June 28, 1999 If success has a thousand fathers and failure is an orphan, some brainchildren are more like foster kids: Proud parents bring their intellectual offspring into the world, only to see them raised by someone else. That's been the fate of emotional intelligence, an idea that was born in academia but came of age in the public eye. The adoptive parent, in this case, is science journalist Daniel Goleman. His book, "Emotional Intelligence," hit the bookstores in 1995, with ambitious claims trumpeted on its cover. "The groundbreaking book that redefines what it means to be smart" promised to reveal why emotional intelligence "can matter more than IQ." In a chapter titled "When Smart Is Dumb," Goleman explained that "there are widespread exceptions to the rule that IQ predicts success -- many (or more) exceptions than cases that fit the rule," adding that "one of psychology's open secrets is the relative inability of grades, IQ or SAT scores, despite their popular mystique, to predict unerringly who will succeed in life."

To drive this point home, Goleman recounted the story of a straight-A student who stabbed his teacher over a low grade. "People with high IQs," he concluded, "can be stunningly poor pilots of their personal lives." More critical to success, he suggested, are the skills of self-awareness, empathy and sociability associated with another, "emotional" kind of intelligence.

After a decade of watching Bill Gates and other members of the high-tech clique exact a real-life revenge of the nerds, and following the consternation caused by "The Bell Curve," which claimed that IQ permanently fixed our social station, America was primed for a philosophy centered on something other than our analytic intelligence. Soon after its release, "Emotional Intelligence" began climbing the bestseller lists, where it reigned for months. ("Working With Emotional Intelligence," a follow-up book published three years later, also sold robustly.)

Yet if the book touched a sensitive chord among readers, answering some deeply felt anxiety about their intellectual abilities, Goleman was no anti-intellectual pundit arguing that the bookish have nothing to teach us. In fact, his was a pro-thinker's fable. A Harvard Ph.D. and science writer for the New York Times, Goleman staked the claims of his work on academic research. In the wake of the book's success, his reputation as a true booster of scholarly learning only grew.

While pop psychology tracts on emotion could provide only "well-intentioned advice based at best on clinical opinion but lacking much, if any, scientific basis," he wrote, "science is finally able to speak with authority to these urgent and perplexing questions of the psyche at its most irrational, to map with some precision the human heart."

Was this simply a PR move aimed at distinguishing his product from the competition? Or had Goleman in fact discovered an intellectual diamond in the rough that simply needed his polished prose to make it popular?


Emotional intelligence did indeed originate in academe, and there are the beginnings of a scientific literature on the subject. Yet while Goleman drew on the prestige of academia, he failed to adhere to its scrupulousness. The original theory only has a nodding acquaintance with the version presented in Goleman's book. As a result, "The public's definition of emotional intelligence has now become completely different from the academic definition," says John Mayer, the University of New Hampshire psychologist who, with Yale's Peter Salovey, first formally defined the term 10 years ago.

Of course, all ideas change as they migrate from the narrow confines of the ivory tower to the wide-open arena of public discourse. What is interesting is how this particular concept changed -- and how the ways in which it changed contributed directly to its overwhelming popularity. On the way to becoming a bestselling book, and then a super-heated trend in the nation's business and educational establishments, an intriguing if modest academic idea was transformed into a slice of the late-20th century's singular Zeitgeist.

Its beginnings were humble enough. In the summer of 1987 Salovey, who'd just bought his first house, asked his friend and colleague Mayer to help him paint the living room. Shop talk turned to emotions research, an area in which the two had previously collaborated, and then to current work on intelligence. The fields were traditionally regarded as separate, even opposed, but now the psychologists wondered if there weren't points of intersection. "Maybe it was the paint fumes," Mayer jokes.

Maybe, but inspiration lasted long enough to publish two articles on the topic in 1990 and another in 1993. Their thesis was simple: Though frequently conceived as opposites, emotions and intellect often work in concert, each enhancing the other. "Our ability to engage in the highest levels of thought isn't limited to intellectual pursuits like calculus," Mayer contends. "It also includes reasoning and abstracting about feelings. And that means that among those people that we refer to as warm-hearted or romantic or fuzzy -- or whatever sometimes-demeaning expressions we use -- there are some who are engaging in very, very sophisticated information processing. This type of reasoning is every bit as formal as that used in solving syllogisms."

The exchange also flows in the other direction: Emotions sometimes enrich thought. Here the psychologists draw on research showing that the experience of strong feeling may help us perceive fresh alternatives, make better choices and, paradoxically, maintain an even emotional keel. After all, "Why would we have evolved such a complex and interesting system if it's not adaptive, if it didn't help us?" asks Salovey about emotions. "Why do we have to think of emotions as interfering with cognition? Why not look for ways in which people are even more rational because they have emotions?"

As he and Mayer explain it, we each experience countless interactions between intelligence and emotion, but only some of them make us smarter. This smaller subset constitutes what they refer to as emotional intelligence, and its effects are subtle but potentially profound. Emotional intelligence could make the difference between a conventional decision and a daring one, between a stilted speech and one that soars -- or, in the psychologists' whimsical example, "between constructing the Brooklyn Bridge, with its renowned beauty, and the more mundane 59th Street Bridge."

Their articles didn't attract much notice; even their most impressive effort, a 1990 paper that reviewed all relevant literature and set out their first definition of emotional intelligence, was rarely cited in the five years after it appeared. It did, however, come to the attention of Goleman. "I read the title and was struck by the phrase, by the power of bringing together two seemingly unconnected and even antithetical concepts," Goleman says now. "I thought it was an extraordinarily powerful way of talking about the nature of emotional life."

He had already begun working on a book about emotions, and he asked Salovey if he could borrow their theoretical model and its name. "Fine," said the psychologist. "Just tell people where you heard it."

That was in 1992. Three years later, "Emotional Intelligence" arrived in stores. Psychology books -- especially those that aren't explicitly self-help -- usually don't sell in great volume, and Goleman's expectations were modest. "I thought, well, my son is going to go to college," he remembers. "Maybe I can do a proposal for a follow-up book and get it sold before the publisher knows how well 'Emotional Intelligence' did." No such sleight of hand was necessary, of course. The book went on to be one of Bantam's biggest bestsellers in recent memory, with more than a million copies in print (and almost 5 million copies worldwide)

If its author was surprised by the success of "Emotional Intelligence," the original researchers were amazed. But their initial thrill at the book's celebrity soon gave way to dismay. Goleman had distorted their model in disturbing ways. He portrayed the emotionally intelligent person as one possessing all the qualities of a nice person -- kind, warm and friendly -- while the researchers focused far more on the fluid interplay between emotions and intelligence. Goleman greatly expanded the boundaries of emotional intelligence, including in it a range of qualities, like zeal and persistence, not usually associated with emotion. He equated high emotional intelligence with "maturity" and "character," a correspondence that Salovey and Mayer vehemently resisted. And he made sweeping claims for the construct, including the cover-worthy assertion that our emotional intelligence predicts our success more accurately than IQ.

Upon seeing the book, and especially the comparison to IQ, Mayer says that his first reaction was: "This is not the case, this isn't true." Then he thought, "Uh-oh, I hope it wasn't our fault."

Mayer and Salovey reviewed the emotional intelligence literature, including their own articles, and concluded that Goleman was indeed playing fast and loose with the research. Goleman contends he saw no need to hew closely to the original model. "I was using it as a heuristic device," he explains, not a blueprint. When he writes about scientific theories, he says, his responsibility is to the lay readership as well as to "the eight people who are the specialists who really know." And in any case, he adds, he did the concept a favor. "An academic idea can basically be a good idea, a sound idea, but get no attention. A kind of fluke took this idea from oblivion into international prominence," he says. "I was the fluke."

There is nothing incidental, however, about the reasons why "Emotional Intelligence" captivated the American public. Tapping a deep vein of distrust of all things intellectual, the book brims with anecdotes about people like "Cecil," a "college-trained expert in foreign languages, superb at translating," who nevertheless "would muff a casual conversation over coffee, and fumble when having to give the time of day," who in short "seemed incapable of the most routine social exchange."

He is contrasted with those who were never stellar students but who succeed because they are relaxed, sociable, and friendly: a sort of Revenge of the Jocks. In a line reminiscent of a "you'll work for us someday" football cheer, Goleman approvingly quotes the eminent intelligence theorist Howard Gardner: "Many people with IQs of 160 work for people with IQs of 100, if the former have poor intrapersonal intelligence and the latter have a high one."

Yet there's something a little incongruous about Goleman and Gardner, a former and a current member of the Harvard faculty respectively, reveling in the triumph of the C student. The book's just-folks intellectual populism is especially appropriate to this cultural moment, when a brand-new bogeyman has arrived on the scene: the geek with lots of intelligence but precious little social skill. Such nervousness is evident in a joke recounted in Goleman's book: "What do you call a nerd 15 years from now?" The answer: "Boss." Who wouldn't like to think that Mr. Nice Guy has something on Mr. Gates?

But by focusing on personality traits rather than specific interactions between emotions and intelligence, Goleman undermines the book's claims to scientific accuracy. Scientists have not yet proven that emotional intelligence predicts anything at all, or even that it is a discrete quantity, distinguishable from general intelligence; the construct is too new. But they have exhaustively studied personality traits like agreeableness and extraversion, and it's a confirmed fact that such qualities, though awfully nice to have in an employee or co-worker, bear no relationship to career success -- even in fields, like sales, where one might expect them to be crucial.

In its upbeat message that it's congeniality and not sheer smarts that wins the day, the book breaks little new ground. Therein lies another reason behind its popularity: It has the familiar flavor of conventional wisdom, or at least conventional wishful thinking. And though some might read "Emotional Intelligence" with the intention of increasing their emotional skills, no doubt many bought the book to vindicate the importance of their own emotional profiles. In either case, the book gained its fame not in its endorsement of "nice" but in its claim that "nice matters most" -- the very claim that Salovey and Mayer dispute so strongly.

"The claims made for emotional intelligence were unrelated to anything we have ever claimed," Mayer states flatly. In particular, the assertion that emotional intelligence is more valuable than IQ in predicting success "is nothing that you will ever find in anything we wrote." Goleman arrived at that conclusion himself -- and the methods he used to get there are distinctly unscientific.


Goleman often focused on a particular group of people -- in one case, scientists at Bell Laboratories; in another, "Harvard graduates in the fields of law, medicine, teaching and business." Tests of their intellectual ability, Goleman triumphantly informs us, bear no relationship to their later career performance. Yes, but: Harvard students and top-flight scientists have already been painstakingly selected for their braininess. In order to give the proposition a fair test, says Salovey, you'd have to follow the careers of a group that included "people who are severely mentally retarded and people who are average and people who are geniuses, Albert Einsteins." IQ, Goleman tells us, is merely a "threshold competence" -- just a foot in the door -- but at such penthouse heights it's a threshold very few will have the opportunity to cross.

Another approach, which Goleman employs in "Working With Emotional Intelligence," is to examine the "competence models" -- the personal qualifications for a particular job that might appear in a help wanted ad -- for 181 positions. He classified the abilities listed in each job description as cognitive- or emotion-related, and discovered that 67 percent fell into the latter category. Thus, he concludes, "compared to IQ and expertise, emotional competence mattered twice as much." Of course, there's no guarantee that what a manager values actually bears any exact relationship to what makes that employee a success.

Until we can accurately measure emotional intelligence, we can't legitimately compare its predictive powers to those of IQ. Most emotional intelligence tests use self-report measures, which, as Salovey notes, is like an intelligence tests that asks, "Do you think you're pretty smart?" He and Mayer are in the midst of developing an ability-based measure, which rates the test-taker's emotional intelligence according to how well she describes the mood of a piece of music, for example, or anticipates the reaction of a character in a story.

But the claim that emotional intelligence predicted success was only part of Goleman's vision; he also offered evidence of its effect on nearly every area of life. Over the small circle of interactions Salovey and Mayer identified, Goleman pitched a big tent, inviting in everything from "conscientiousness" to "innovation" to "political awareness" -- 25 "emotional competencies" in all, as enumerated in his second book on the subject. Though such expansiveness made the idea attractive to a wider audience, it also stretched it so thin as to render it meaningless.

"Anything that isn't analytic IQ that would help a person get along in the world, particularly the world of work, is now called emotional intelligence," observes Salovey. "The concept loses its focus and in many ways loses its power when it's anything and everything." Even Howard Gardner, who first proposed the idea of "multiple intelligences," warned in a recent Atlantic Monthly article that "stretching the band" of our definition of intelligence to include qualities like motivation and attention may cause it to snap entirely.

The reasons why "Emotional Intelligence" appealed so deeply to American readers lay in a book published a year earlier: "The Bell Curve." Goleman himself conceived his book as a reply, in part, to Richard Herrnstein and Charles Murray's infamous assertion that a largely immutable IQ determines one's social class. "Emotional Intelligence" offered "a very helpful message, because these skills are learnable," says Goleman; it was "an antidote at the time to the taste in the mouth left by 'The Bell Curve,'" which was, as he delicately puts it, "a downer."

But if Goleman meant to knock IQ off its gilded perch, his book in some ways did just the opposite. By positioning emotional intelligence as its rival and by imitating its various trappings (in a magazine article written shortly after the book was published, Goleman even offered a test of one's "EQ"), he simply reaffirmed IQ's continued primacy as the standard by which we define intelligence.

He also missed the opportunity to raise an important question: Why must we call something an intelligence in order to value it? Salovey says he and Mayer labeled their set of interactions an intelligence "to be provocative, to really challenge this idea that emotions are irrational," but there's no doubt that calling it thus also romanced America's love-hate relationship with the cerebral.

Not only individuals but also institutions fell hard for emotional intelligence. Some 700 schools around the country are considering programs based on the concept, and almost two dozen have already put them into practice, including the school districts covering all of New Haven, Conn., and the entire state of Rhode Island. And thousands of businesses nationwide have instituted emotional intelligence programs: A recent study by the American Society for Training and Development found that four out of five companies reported that they are doing something to try to raise the emotional intelligence of their employees.

For institutions -- both schools and workplaces -- that are struggling to accommodate increasingly diverse populations, emotional intelligence training appears to be just what the administrator ordered. By emphasizing character and moral fiber, emotional intelligence training promises to deliver results while bypassing troublesome systems of belief entirely. We all have emotions, after all, and what could be wrong with learning to use them well? Writes Goleman, soothingly, "There is an old-fashioned word for the body of skills that emotional intelligence represents: character." But intelligences are not virtues: They are merely aptitudes, plastic abilities that can be used for good or ill. "Just because somebody has these emotion-related skills doesn't mean that they'll put them to good use," notes Salovey. "The charismatic cult leader might be very good at these emotion-related skills -- regulating their own emotions, reading other people's feelings, and all of that. That's why they become cult leaders, and that's why other people follow them. But that doesn't mean they have good character. The used-car salesman, who is great at figuring out what you're all about and selling you a car -- is that good character? I don't think so."

While Slovey and Mayer are uncomfortable with the new incarnation of emotional intelligence, the theory, they are more disquieted by "Emotional Intelligence," the cottage industry. Though it's intrusive to instruct any captive audience on something so personal as the proper way to handle feelings, such training raises particular questions in regard to children, vulnerable both because of their youth and their inability to escape. Salovey and Mayer contend that such programs often take a simplistic "emotions are good" stance, while at the same time suggesting that there is a single "right" way of dealing with them. Should a child from a minority ethnic or religious group be forced to engage in trust-building activities with classmates who tease him? Should kids from abusive homes feel compelled to "share their feelings" with the entire class?

Goleman doesn't acknowledge that social ills like racism or sexism or poverty might complicate such training. Instead, he suggests that these EQ programs will help stamp them out. If managers and workers can learn to speak out against racial prejudice "with all the finesse of an effective criticism," for example, then "bias incidents are more likely to fall away." If girls learned "to distinguish anger from anxiety from hunger," Goleman intimates, we would see fewer cases of eating disorders.

Worse, Goleman's approach risks suggesting that these are individual problems, to be solved individually. That perspective is implicit in his oft-repeated finding that emotional intelligence-related skills are several times as important as IQ and technical expertise in distinguishing mediocre employees from "stars." The lesson is clear: Companies are already rewarding emotional intelligence in those who have it -- so the onus lies with those who don't. Goleman's can-do attitude, while appealingly optimistic, dismisses how difficult it is for a single student to succeed in a failing school, or for one worker to bring warmth and humanity to an impersonal corporation.

The public that embraced "Emotional Intelligence" has heard little about these caveats -- while the book made the cover of Time, Mayer notes ruefully that only his local newspaper carried mention of his objections. The popular conception of emotional intelligence has almost completely eclipsed the academic one, and Goleman is its beaming daddy. The CEO of Emotional Intelligence Services and co-chairman of the Consortium for Research on Emotional Intelligence in Organizations, Goleman has refashioned himself from author into cottage industry. When asked if he's going to write a third book about emotional intelligence, he heaves a sigh. "I don't know. I'm too busy," he says. "I've become really sought after as a speaker all over the world."

And why should we be surprised? Goleman speaks in the bland, polished language of business, which is increasingly our national tongue: Phrases like "human assets" and "leveraging diversity" dot his conversation. He displays no discomfort with the calculations of commerce: "Social skill is friendliness with a purpose: moving people in the direction you desire," as he writes in a recent article in the Harvard Business Review. He's at ease promoting himself, and effective at it, too. "There's a phrase they use in the business world, which I had never really heard before: Apparently, what I am is a 'thought leader‚'" says Goleman. "The guy who's articulating the concept and encouraging people to pay attention to it -- that's my role."

Salovey and Mayer, on the other hand, speak a more diffident and complicated language, full of qualifications and conditionals. "When I wrote with Peter, when Peter wrote with me," Mayer says, not wanting to commandeer credit for any part of their collaboration. After a long explanation of his research, he draws a deep breath and concludes, "I should have prefaced all that by saying, if emotional intelligence does indeed exist." Even within the scientific community, Salovey and Mayer's articles have been overshadowed by the book: Goleman says he gets "two or three inquiries a day" from graduate students around the world who want to study emotional intelligence.

Remarkably, the two scientists remains good-natured about Goleman's runaway success. "If I'd known it was going to be this wildly popular," Salovey says with a laugh, "I would have been much more motivated to write such a book myself." Though they worry about the disappointment they fear will follow in the wake of the book's extravagant claims, they acknowledge that they can't control how their ideas will be used.

In any case, their real concern lies with the academic reputation of emotional intelligence. "What I would like to see is something lasting in the scientific literature," says Mayer. Whether he'll get his wish is an open question. At least one article, by University of Sydney psychologist Lazar Stankov and his student Michaela Davies, has concluded that emotional intelligence exists at best in a very limited form. Saying that his work "casts doubt on the whole area of emotional intelligence," Stankov delivers a casually devastating assessment: "Like psychoanalysis, it can provide a nice topic for after-dinner conversation, but nothing more."

Still, his is just one paper, and hardly definitive. Other researchers have found strong support for Salovey and Mayer's work, and the two psychologists themselves continue to develop and refine their thesis. All those eager graduate students contacting Daniel Goleman will likely produce a bumper crop of research over the next few years, so that anyone judging the validity of emotional intelligence will soon have much more to study.

Until then, the idea will yield as many questions as answers, the most significant of which may be one posed by Mayer in his latest, yet-to-be-published paper. Before we can predict success, he points out, we have to define it. Is it making it to the top of your profession? Is it earning the love of friends and family? Is it the possession of an inner sense of calm and contentment? For all their charts and graphs, that's a quantity that scientists haven't yet begun to measure. | June 28, 1999



Team Management Profile & Emotional Intelligence:
More than the sum of their parts

By Roy Howells, Civil Service College

This paper was presented at the TMS Development International Conference, Making Connections, Changing Perceptions, Bath, 6-7 June 2000

Copyright is retained by the author.

Taken alone, the Margerison-McCann Team Management Profile is a mightily impressive tool. Combine it with Hay/McBer's recent developments in the field of Emotional Intelligence (EQ), however, and you add a whole new dimension to management development, says Roy Howells of the Civil Service College.

It's now around 13 years since I first ran across the Team Management Profile (TMP) as a M. Phil student. I gained accreditation for its use a few years later, and successfully incorporated it into my work – first with the Ministry of Defence training team, and now with the Civil Service College. I've used it consistently ever since.

Last year I travelled to Boston, USA to familiarize myself with new thinking, in the shape of the Hay/McBer Emotional Competence Inventory (ECI), and became accredited in its use. Since then I've designed for the Civil Service College two programmes that focus on EQ - for senior and middle managers respectively, to broaden our portfolio of management development products. Whilst the ECI has been central to these new programmes, TMP has been a key component, and I believe the two approaches to represent more than the sum of their parts when combined.

I'm delighted to say that, so far, the EQ programmes have been highly successful, justifying our initial confidence that we were on to something good. That's not to say, however, that our hearts weren't in our mouths when the time came for the talking to stop and the action to begin. Participants on the first programme were very senior people, and we knew that taking three days out from the office represented a big investment of their time. They would want results, and largely due to EQ being a comparatively new idea (at least in the sense of management development) we knew we faced a risk of the idea being dismissed as esoteric if we didn't get it right. Whilst I won't claim we hit the nail flush on the head, we finished the first run excited at the things that had happened and the responses from participants. Tellingly, even for those who remained undecided about the relevance of EQ to their situation, the experience had clearly been a good one.

What is Emotional Intelligence?

Since it was first published in the UK in 1995, Daniel Goleman's book 'Emotional Intelligence – Why it can matter more than IQ' has sold over 4 million copies worldwide, and is still going strong.

The book's central thesis is that emotional competence is a learnable prerequisite for good people and good societies, and Goleman posits that (what he interprets as) American society unravelling can be attributed to a collective lack in this area. The propensity of alienated American youth to express itself with semiautomatic weaponry in school playgrounds provides dramatic examples of 'emotional hijacking', the result of 'emotion out of control' and part of a wider picture of an 'erratic tide of outburst and regret'.

The rigor in Goleman's argument is provided by recent developments in neuro-science, in particular that which has allowed scientists to track brain activity. To cut a very long story very short indeed, at times of stress we are still very much in thrall to a primitive part of our brain, which reacts to perceived threat as dramatically as it does irrationally.

According to Joseph LeDoux of the Centre for Neural Science at New York University, the part of the brain known as the amygdala is key to the study of emotional response. It constantly scans situations for trouble, and takes charge during emergencies, releasing fight or flight hormones and prompting sometimes drastic and inappropriate action – Goleman's 'neural hijacking'. Over time, Goleman's argument goes, our responses become grooved. We've all heard the folk tales of war veterans killing their children when they sneak up behind them and shout 'boo!' and, less dramatically, we've all been incapacitated by 'mental static' - unwelcome emotional responses to people, things and situations.

Goleman believes the world would be a better place if we could learn to control such impulsive brain activity, and offers a compelling argument that this is possible. His follow-up book 'Working With Emotional Intelligence' locates his thinking specifically in the work place, and he cites a wide range of research demonstrating that people able to retain some control over impulse get more from life and are more successful.

"Every business person knows a story about a highly intelligent, highly-skilled executive who was promoted into a leadership position only to fail at the job. And they also know a story about someone with solid - but not extraordinary - intellectual abilities and technical skills who was promoted into a similar position and then soared" says Daniel Goleman in an article for the Harvard Business Review in November-December 1988. This is the EQ argument at its most dramatic - the brilliant lone wolf specialist losing out to the people-friendly all rounder. Indeed research suggests that IQ is only 20% responsible from the success enjoyed by high-flyers, and that leadership is 90% EQ.

Goleman accepts, however, that in the vast majority of cases people with high EQ will also have a high IQ. If it is EQ that makes the difference, the obvious question for employers is "How do I make sure I hire and keep emotionally intelligent people?" which in turn begs the question: "How can we measure it?" Applied to managerial roles, EQ highlights the desirability of being able to recognize the behavior of those around us, to empathize with them, and to think about how our behavior affects them.

Measuring EQ

This line of enquiry has resulted in the hottest development topic of recent years.

In the mid-1980s the US financial services company Metropolitan Life was hiring 5,000 salespeople a year and training them at a cost of more than £30,000 each. Around half would leave the company during the first year, and four out of five by the end of their fourth year. The reason was simple - selling life insurance involved having the door slammed in their faces time and time again. the company had a problem - how to recruit people better at handling frustration, who could take refusals as challenges.

Psychologist Martin Seligman of the University of Pennsylvania was called in and invited to test his theories about the importance of optimism to people's success. He had found that when optimists fail they attribute the failure to something they can change, whilst others were more prone to blaming a personal quality they could not overcome.

Seligman tracked 15,000 new workers who had taken two tests - the company's usual screening exam and another to measure levels of optimism. One group failed the screening test but emerged from the other as "superoptimists". This group performed best of all in the work place, and by a considerable margin. Since then a welter of research studies have added to the belief that EQ is by far the most important characteristic of high-performing people.

We have already touched on optimism as a factor in individual success, which is part of the broader ability to avoid being swamped by emotional feelings. Anyone that has suffered from examination nerves will know how 'emotional static' can impair our ability to perform. No less important in the work environment, however, is the ability to recognize the behavior of those around us, to empathize with them, and to think about how our behavior affects them - reflected in the range of EQ measurement tools now available.

As with everything new that comes along, there have been concerns about the validity for the claims made on behalf of EQ. "It's just management by niceness" is one criticism, with the implication that the approach lacks weight. Goleman disagrees, pointing out that EQ has nothing to do with 'letting it all hang out' and everything to do with controlling emotions so that they are used appropriately.

"How can you measure emotions?" is another sceptic's reaction, and not one without merit. Whereas IQ tests measure performance on the ability to answer questions correctly, there are no correct answers to questions about how you feel or what you do in given situations.

It is perhaps symptomatic of the relative youth of EQ as a management discipline that there is, as yet, no orthodoxy with regard to measuring EQ, although I believe it is starting to happen. Until recently, the most advanced methods, pioneered in the UK by the Henley Management Centre and ASE, broke EQ down into the following competencies:

More recently, however, The Hay/McBer model, developed in conjunction with Daniel Goleman and another EQ pioneer, Richard Boyatzis, has further simplified the categorization of EQ to:

These four core competencies are broken down into twenty sub-competencies. To get a feel for the territory, punch the phrase 'emotional intelligence' into an Internet search engine, and you will find a range of methods. Most, if not all, will bear some resemblance to the two described above.

The Hay/McBer ECI compiles information via 360 degree feedback and compares self-reported characteristics with those attributed by others - managers, peers and subordinates being typical. This information is then compiled to offer specific scores against prescribed levels of competence under the four headings and their many subheadings. It is a comprehensive and detailed approach that offers participants direct pointers as to where their performance could improve. Crucial to our rationalizing when designing EQ courses was the idea that a context must be provided in which behavior can be examined and considered, before change can be meaningfully contemplated. This is where the TMP comes into play.

Put bluntly, the Team Management Profile gives respondents a steer on their preferences as to what they do and how they prefer to do it. ECI then takes the process a stage further, offering people an insight into how their preferences impact upon their own performance and the way they interact with others. If recognizing and then understanding one's own behavior are the first and second stages in effecting change, then the combination of TMP and ECI represents an excellent method of getting to a stage we might call 'insight'. It is one thing to better understand the past, however, but quite another to influence the future. Becoming a more effective manager requires that insight gained is translated into action. Here, again, the Team Management Wheel comes into its own.

If EQ is about understanding and managing our emotional responses and those of others, the TMP helps us to understand the preferences that make up our own personalities and those we are likely to encounter. From there it should be possible to at least guess at the likely range of responses prompted by any particular social interaction. From there it a short step to anticipating and allowing for any areas that may throw up difficulties. For example, I am an Explorer-Promoter, and I happily accept the characteristics that the Team Management Profile attributes to me. I am happiest when initiating ideas, I like variation in my work, I get bored easily and I am a strong on communication and empathy. Unsurprisingly, perhaps, I have a fairly strong extroverted preference.

So what systematic areas of possible conflict do I find when I look around the wheel? To take Thruster-Organizers as an example, it is possible that I will not strike such personalities as being sufficiently results-orientated or corporately conscientious - things that are typically important to them. In turn, I may become irritated by what I see as the Thruster-Organizer's 'results at all costs' approach and apparent unwillingness to listen and explore. An introverted Thruster-Organizer may well present problems of a different kind - like other extroverts I sometimes have trouble with silence, and I run the risk of being perceived as talking without thinking (when of course I am developing my thinking as I speak).

Recognizing these potential clashes does not require EQ. However, anticipating their manifestations and then preventing or tempering them, does. If the ECI tells you, for example, that you tend to express your own feelings, it is possible you may misinterpret the silence of an introvert to mean that they are withholding theirs, when they may simply be processing what they think before speaking. It is not hard to see how an unwelcome situation might develop, given such a potent chemistry, but the self-knowledge afforded by EQ offers an insight into the behaviors of both parties, with the TMP offering clues as to why. Applying the same method to the other personality types on the wheel (and taking a look at the way others like to operate) should suggest appropriate behavior approaches.

EQ is young, and I dare say there will be continued debate over the measurement of its competencies. None the less, its impact has already been considerable, and there is no doubt in my mind that it will become a mainstream management development tool very quickly. TMP and EQ combined, if used properly, can provide an approach that gives managers not only an idea of where they are and where they need to go, but also where they need to look in order to raise their game.

The New Leninism

The Left is using the notion of Emotional Intelligence to argue that everyone is intellectually equal.

By Neil Seeman (Mr. Seeman is a member of the National Post's editorial board.)

The concept of emotional intelligence (EI) was first introduced in the late 1980s. After an inauspicious beginning on the fringe of academe, EI emerged as the chief artillery in the Left's new assault on conventional wisdom. Its proponents support a zealously egalitarian view of intelligence.

There are many intelligences, it is claimed, and traditional IQ scores measure only one of them. Including EI in the overall reckoning tends to even the score, making every-one essentially equal. It is, in a nutshell, the new Leninism.

Daniel Goleman, the best-selling author of Emotional Intelligence and the more recent Working with Emotional Intelligence, claims EI "is increasingly applied in choosing who will be hired and who will not, who will be let go and who retained, who passed over and who promoted."

EI has thus become the rage in the business world, where the concept has spawned a burgeoning cottage industry of consultants and manuals and videotapes. Prestigious companies such as British Airways and Crédit Suisse have become reverent devotees of the 'soft skills' that EI celebrates. Most large companies have employed psychologists to aid them in identifying, training and fast-tracking leaders into executive positions.

Alas, they are wasting their time. Businesses and educators that rely on these tests, to the exclusion of traditional IQ tests, are unwitting pawns in the Left's illiberal agenda. EI tests are meant to present a counterfoil to the sad fact that not everyone is intellectually equal.

What's more, even if EI does exist, it's a slippery thing to measure. As pointed out by Eva Fisher-Bloom, an Ottawa psychotherapist currently completing her doctoral dissertation on EI, if emotional intelligence contributes to the broader concept of global intelligence, it makes little sense to measure it through self-reporting.

Toronto's Multi-Health Systems, the North American leader in EI testing, uses a self-report questionnaire. Think what would happen if, for instance, vocabulary were assessed by simply asking people if they believed they had a good vocabulary. Any test of emotional intelligence should test targeted aptitudes in the same way IQ tests do - by asking objective questions, which are evaluated by a third-party observer.

Contrary to what proponents of EI will tell you, bona fide psychometrics hasn't changed much since Alfred Binet devised a test at the turn of the century to predict which French children would succeed or fail in school. The instruments we now use measure essentially the same aptitudes - memory, vocabulary, spatial comprehension, and the ability to draw analogies and solve puzzles - because these are the skills historically associated with success in school and in the workplace.

Not incidentally, the most thoroughly documented evidence of the link between traditional intelligence and occupational success comes from the same book that attracted more scurrilous academic criticism from the Left than anything ever published in the English language: The Bell Curve.

Although its release was met with a barrage of (generally spurious) accusations of 'racism' - only a very small portion of their work dealt with intelligence differentials among ethnic groups - the thesis of the first half of The Bell Curve has never been discredited: namely, that U.S. society, over the past half-century, has become increasingly meritocratic. In other words, wealth and other positive social outcomes have become more and more distributed according to people's intelligence, and less and less according to their social backgrounds.

While scientists may disagree about the extent to which intelligence is an inherited trait rather than a result of environment and upbringing, there is near-consensus around the idea that IQ is a measurable quantity. By contrast, the idea of emotional intelligence has proven powerful not because it is measurable or predictive of anything worth aiming at, but because it melds with the postmodern values and presuppositions of the educational establishment of the neo-liberal culture.

Asked in 1998 for hard evidence proving the link between EI and job performance, a Multi-Health representative could point only to a master's thesis by a graduate student in the Philippines.

The actual inventors of the concept estimate that EI accounts for as little as 5% of an average person's occupational achievement. They contend that many of the new EI enthusiasts are charlatans who have exploited a concept that was supposed to measure a specific set of abilities unrelated to general intelligence.

In fact, there is no solid research showing that EI is a stand-alone variable distinct from personality, or that people with supposedly high EI scores benefit from better mental health.

So, if they want to help their students, teachers are best advised to focus on reading and arithmetic. And if corporate managers want to get serious about improving the productivity of the workforce, they would do well to focus their efforts away from pop personality markers and toward remedying functional illiteracy, a scourge that plagues 10% to 20% of the population.

(Adapted with permission from the National Post, July 26, 1999)


Daniel Goleman


Goleman, Daniel J Healing Emotions: Conversations with the Dalai Lama on Mindfulness, Emotions, and Health. Boston, MA: Shambhala (1997)

Goleman, Daniel J Gifts of the Spirit: Living the Wisdom of the Great Religious Traditions. San Francisco, CA: Harper (1997)

Goleman, Daniel J Emotional intelligence. New York, NY, USA: Bantam Books, Inc. (1995)

Goleman, Daniel J Gurin, Joel Mind, Body Medicine: How to Use Your Mind for Better Health, Consumer Reports Books, 1993. Consumer Reports Books (1993)

Goleman, Daniel J Tart, Charles Walsh, Roger Wilber, Ken The Riddle of Consciousness. Los Angeles, CA, USA: Perigee Books/Jeremy P. Tarcher, Inc. (1993)

Goleman, Daniel J The Creative Spirit. New York, NY: Dutton (1992)

Goleman, Daniel J The Meditative Mind. St. Martin's (1988)

Goleman, Daniel J Vitalized Simple Truths: The Psychology of Self-deception. New York, NY: Simon and Schuster (1985)

Goleman, Daniel J Frames: attentional policies. Simon and Schuster (1984)

Freedman, Jonathan Goleman, Daniel J Psychology Snows That Everyone Should. Lewis Publishing (1981)

Goleman, Daniel J Riordan, Kathleen The Essential Psychotherapies. New American Library (1982)

Engen, Trudd Davids, Anthony Goleman, Daniel J Introductory Psychology Random House (1982)

Davidson, Richard J Goleman, Daniel J Consciousness: Brain, States of Awareness, and Mysticism. San Francisco, CA, Harper and Row, (1979)

Goleman, Daniel J Varieties of the Meditative Experience. Dutton (1977)

by Josh Lee, Rob Morgan, John Langan, and Yinka Olowoyeye.

Daniel Goleman was born in Stockton, California. The San Joaquin Delta College, Stockton (California) was named the Goleman Library after Goleman's family. Goleman then went to Amherst College where he was an Alfred P. Sloan Scholar and graduated magna cum laude. He began his graduate school Harvard where he was a Ford Fellow, and he received his M.A. and Ph.D. in clinical psychology and personality development. At Harvard he met professor of psychology David McClelland who was his friend and this man inspired him to write about emotional quota or EQ. Unfortunately David McClelland died. During his years in Harvard he went to India and he learned how to meditate. Dr. Goleman's life has been filled with meditation ever since. He spends much of his life meditating constantly to try to escape from the world he exists in and meditation is powerful for making the mind strong. Meditating relieves his stress. He continues this practice of meditating that he had learned in India and hopes to improve his life.

Then he decided to be writer for twelve years and he was a psychologist who reported on the brain and behavioral sciences as a writer for the New York Times for many years. He was nominated twice for the Pulitzer Prize, but unfortunately for him he never won the Pulitzer Prize. Of course our great friend Dr. Daniel Goleman was not to be deterred because men of high emotional intelligence do not fail as often. He would write many books in his career about meditation or emotional intelligence. He wrote a groundbreaking book that finally was getting him a large name in the world of journalism. The book was called, "Emotional Intelligence."

He married his second wife Tara-Bennet Goleman. He lives in Berkshires of Massachusetts that is near Western Massachusetts. Planning to go to Daniel Goleman's house? Well his house has an extensive and treacherous road that leads to his Japanese teahouse that is sitting on a hill. His wife is a practiced master of the Japanese tea ceremony. In this teahouse Daniel Goleman goes there and meditates. Tara is a psychotherapist. After doing his meditating everyday in the morning Daniel Goleman begins writing on his laptop computer that happens to be in the Japanese teahouse.

Some of Daniel Goleman's achievements were the co-founding of the Collaborative for Social and Emotional Learning at the Yale University Child Studies Center this would later move to the University of Illinois at Chicago. He is CEO of "Emotional Intelligence Services", which is a consulting firm in Sudbury, Massachusetts. He was elected a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Daniel Goleman is co-chairman of The Consortium for Research on Emotional Intelligence in Organizations and has a Career Achievement award for journalism from the American Psychological Association. Currently Dan travels around the world such as Germany and talks mainly to international and professional people. He loves to lecture to highly educated people such as College students. He likes to travel and lecture which he recently went to Germany on the Valentine's holiday. He is rarely staying at one spot for too long.

Periodical Publications:

Goleman, Daniel J Cosmopolitan. January (1996): 162.

Goleman, Daniel J American Health. April (1996): 82.

Goleman, Daniel J People. May (1996): 85.

Goleman, Daniel J New York Times. September (1995): c-17; June (1985): c-1.

Goleman, Daniel J Time. October (1995): 60; November (1986): 9.

Goleman, Daniel J Nation. November (1995): 585.

Goleman, Daniel J National Review. November (1995): 69

Goleman, Daniel J Christian Cetury. December (1995): 1187.

Goleman, Daniel J School Library Journal. December (1995): 32.

Goleman, Daniel J Commentary. January (1992): 59.

Goleman, Daniel J "What is negative about positive illusions? When benefits for the individual harm the collective." Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology. 8 (1989): 190-197.

Goleman, Daniel J Publisher's Weekly. March (1988): 78; February (1992): 73; February (1993): 92; August (1995): 65

Goleman, Daniel J Tribune Books. November (1986): 9.

Goleman, Daniel J "Opioids and denial: Two mechanisms for bypassing pain." Advances. 2(1985): 35-45.

Goleman, Daniel J "Violence against women in films." Response to the Victimization of Women and Children. 8(1985): 21-22.

Goleman, Daniel J New York Times Book Review. June (1985): 9; September (1995): 23.

Goleman, Daniel J Telage, Kal M "An investigation of lingual vibrotactile detectability." Bulletin of the Psychonomic Society. 23 (1985): 50-52.

Goleman, Daniel J Library Journal. November (1981): 2242; April (1988): 91; February (1992): 186; February (1993): 187.

Goleman, Daniel J Los Angeles Times Book Review. May (82).

Goleman, Daniel J "Buddhist and Western psychology: Some commonalities and differences." Journal of Transpersonal Psychology. 12(1981): 125-136.

Goleman, Daniel J "A taxonomy of meditation-specific altered states." Journal of Altered States of Consciousness. 4 (1978-1979): 203-213.

Goleman, Daniel J Choice. April (1978): 240

Goleman, Daniel J Observer. December (1978)

Davidson, Richard J Goleman, Daniel J Schwartz, Gary E "Patterning of cognitive and somatic processes in the self-regulation of anxiety: Effects of meditation versus exercise." Psychosomatic Medicine. 40 (1978): 321-328.

Davidson, Richard J Goleman, Daniel J "The role of attention in meditation and hypnosis: A psychobiological perspective on transformations of consciousness." International Journal of Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis. 25 (1977): 291-308.

Goleman, Daniel J "Meditation and consciousness: An Asian approach to mental health." American Journal of Psychotherapy. 30 (1976): 41-54.

Davidson, Richard J Goleman, Daniel J Schwartz, Gary E "Attentional and affective concomitants of meditation: A cross-sectional study." Journal of Abnormal Psychology. 85 (1976): 235-238.

Goleman, Daniel J Schwartz, Gary "Intervention in stress reactivity." Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology. 44 (1976): 456-466.

Goleman, Daniel J "Mental health in classical Buddhist psychology." Journal-of-Transpersonal-Psychology. 7(1975): 176-181.

Adler, Nancy E Goleman, Daniel J "Goal setting, T-group participation, and self-rated change: An experimental study." Journal-of-Applied-Behavioral-Science. 11(1975): 197-208.

Goleman, Daniel J "The Buddha on meditation and states of consciousness: II. A typology of meditation techniques." Journal-of-Transpersonal-Psychology. 4 (1972): 151-210.

Goleman, Daniel J "Meditation as meta-therapy: Hypotheses toward a proposed fifth state of consciousness." Journal of Transpersonal Psychology. 3 (1971): 1-25.

Adler, Nathan Goleman, Daniel J "Gambling and alcoholism: Symptom substitution and functional equivalents." Quarterly-Journal-of-Studies-on-Alcohol. (30) 1969: 733-736.

Web Sites

Bibliograpy Eiconsorintium. "Daniel Goleman."

1999. (2/13/99)

Library of Congress Catalogs (Goleman, Daniel) 1999

layout/editing by Matthew S. Weeks:

last updated 10/4/00 at 9:05 PM



Hay Group to be leading source of
Emotional Intelligence research and applications

Daniel Goleman, Richard Boyatzis and Hay form partnership

Philadelphia, PA; January 14, 1999: The Hay Group announces the formation of a strategic partnership with Daniel Goleman, author of the current bestseller Working with Emotional Intelligence, and Richard Boyatzis, expert on leadership development and an associate dean at Case Western Reserve management school.

Goleman’s current best-seller reveals the skills that distinguish star performers in every field and describes specific, scientifically grounded guidelines for cultivating these skills as well as explaining why so much conventional corporate training is a waste of time.

This exclusive relationship between Hay, a leading global management consulting firm, and Goleman and Boyatzis will provide increased capabilities on a worldwide basis to assess and develop emotional intelligence, as well as support research and new findings. This research and Hay’s extensive experience in developing leadership competencies for its clients will lead to new services to improve people’s capabilities in a variety of areas.

Chris Matthews, Hay’s Chairman and CEO commented, "At Hay, we deeply believe that many leading strategy consulting firms have misled clients for the last 30 years. Business success comes not from a nice, linear sequence of strategy then structure then processes. Contrary to popular belief they are not the barrier to change. Nor are they just a strategic asset. People are the raw resource around which any business success revolves. Emotional Intelligence puts in a nutshell what is the key success factor for any business."

"Both Daniel Goleman and Richard Boyatzis have a long association with Hay," commented Murray Dalziel, Hay’s Global Managing Director - Organizational and Management Development Services. "Hay provided extensive research, data, and analysis which Dan incorporated into his ground-breaking bestsellers, Emotional Intelligence and Working with Emotional Intelligence. These works have had a tremendous impact on the business community, and we look forward to providing the benefits of his continuing exploration of emotional intelligence to our clients."

Comments Goleman, "I have had a long standing relationship with Hay/McBer and know the quality and substance they bring to the marketplace. I have full confidence that they are the only organization that can deliver emotional intelligence programs and services to my standards. I think the bar needs to raised in the training and development and organizational development industries. I know the Hay Group can be the leader in this."

According to Dalziel, Goleman and Boyatzis will provide Hay with materials, know-how on their use, consultation on the development of the materials, and continuing research findings. In addition, Goleman and Boyatzis will assist Hay in marketing, training, and other activities to further commercially develop this know-how.

One of the first outcomes of the partnership will be the Hay/McBer "Breakthrough Leadership – Developing the Emotionally Intelligent Leader," which provides unique and proven methods to help senior executives develop the key leadership skills needed for top performance in their organization. Hay’s executive competency building expertise has been successfully implemented with such clients as IBM, Unilever, Mobil, Norwest Mortgage, Compaq, PepsiCo, and Toyota.

The Hay/McBer division of Hay, which will actively market these services, stems from McBer and Company, which was founded by psychologist David C. McClelland and subsequently was acquired by the Hay Group. Goleman studied with McClelland at Harvard where McClelland was the first to identify the concept that the deeper emotional and motivational competencies rather than IQ are major indicators of success. Under his leadership, Hay/McBer developed the knowledge and tools for researching, measuring, and developing competencies needed in various work cultures and specific job roles.

Daniel Goleman, Ph.D., is founder and CEO of Emotional Intelligence Services. For twelve years he covered the behavioral and brain sciences for The New York Times and also taught at Harvard. His book, Emotional Intelligence (1995), was on the national bestseller list for 78 weeks and changed the way we think about personal excellence.

Richard Boyatzis, Ph.D., is a professor and associate dean at the Weatherhead School of Management at Case Western Reserve University and lectures widely on his research on change and development as well as the assessment of emotional intelligence and competencies. He was a former president of McBer and Company, as well as a former student and colleague of David McClelland, and whose research on managerial competencies and how they are developed is frequently cited in Goleman’s writings.

The Hay Group is a worldwide management consulting firm that helps organizations effectively assess, develop, motivate and reward their people. Hay’s worldwide and North American headquarters are located in Philadelphia, where Hay was established in 1943. An internationally recognized leader with more than 2,000 consultants and 8,000 clients worldwide, Hay has 71 offices in 34 countries, including 25 in North America.

Copyright© 2000, by Association for Transpersonal Psychology. All rights reserved.


The 1960s: Due in no small part to the influence of "mind-expanding" drugs, many individuals became interested in Asian spirituality.  A significant number of them traveled East and later brought the fruits of their searches back to the United States.  At the same time, a large number of Asian teachers were becoming popular in the West, including Swami Satchitananda, Kirpal Singh, Nahanaponika Thera, Swami Rama, Thich Nhat Hanh, Chogyam Trungpa, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, Swami Muktananda, Pir Vilayat Kahn, the Karmapa, and many others.  Of course, it was Richard Alpert, now known as Ram Das, who along with Timothy Leary was responsible for the widespread use of LSD.  Alpert, a psychologist teaching at Harvard, studied with Neem Karoli Baba, a North Indian Guru, along with Jeffrey Miller, who is now known as Surya Das, a widely- respected teacher of the Dzogchen tradition of Tibetan Buddhism.  Some of the other American individuals who are now recognized as qualified roshis, swamis and tulkus include Sivananda Radha, Jiyu Kennett Roshi, Jack Kornfield, Robert Frager, Richard Baker Roshi, and others.



Daniel Goleman, a psychologist and former chief editor of the periodical "Psychology Today", wrote "The Varieties of Meditative Experience" in 1977.  Goleman is worth dwelling on for a bit.  A friend of Richard Alpert, he went to India to study Hindu and Buddist meditation.  He returned to study psychology at Harvard.  He wrote his dissertation studying under Herbert Benson.  I'm not absolutely sure of this, but if my memory is correct, it was Goleman who, in what I think was a spark of inspiration with decidedly mixed results, suggested that meditation could be presented in a palatable form to modern secularized individuals as a form of "stress management".  He took ideas developed in the 1920s by the physiologist Walter Cannon and later refined by Hans Selye in the 1950s as the "stress cycle" (dealing with the continual arousal of the autonomic nervous system leading to nervous exhaustion).  He then suggested that the technique of meditation primarily served to deactivate this stress cycle.  At the time, I thought this was a brilliant way of bringing meditation into the mainstream.  However, over the years, I've come to see that the result is that meditation has been reduced to something negligible compared to its original purpose.  Goleman, for example, defines meditation in "Varieties" as "an attitude of attentional manipulation".  Anyone with any meditative experience knows that bringing this sort of attitude to the practice of meditation is likely to lead to headaches and irritability rather than a transformation of consciousness!  In any case, the whole development of stress management and the wider disciplines of health psychology, behavioral medicine and complementary medicine, needs a whole study.  Each of these fields has been deeply impacted by Indian practices and ideas, and many of the new centers for alternative and complementary medicine are making big efforts to hide this connection.  
 One notable exception to this trend is Jon Kabat Zinn.  He has been using Buddhist meditation to treat pain patients for over 20 years at the Massachusetts Medical Center in Worcester Massachusetts.  He has seen over 10,000 individuals, most of who were referred because conventional medical treatments had been ineffective.  He has published several excellent research studies in top-rated journals.  



Big Five - short from

SYMLOG and NEO Personality Inventory (Big Five)

Overview of Big Five Personality Inventory
The Five-Factor Model of personality has grown out of efforts by many researchers, beginning over a half century ago with McDougall and Thurstone, to reduce the myriad elements of personality to an elemental set.

The NEO (Neuroticism, Extraversion, Openness) Personality Inventory is a recent product of this ongoing endeavor, and owes much to Costa and McCrae's work of the past ten years.

The five broad domains of the five-factor model are:

Extraversion (E)
preference for social interaction, activity for activity's sake

Agreeableness (A)
orientation toward compassion and caring about others, and away from antagonism

Conscientiousness (C)
degree of organization, preference for goal-oriented activity

Neuroticism (S)
tendency toward negative emotionality, instability, inability to cope

Openness (M)
tolerance for new ideas and new ways of doing things, experientially oriented
How the Big Five Relate to SYMLOG Field Theory

Professor R. F. Bales, the author of SYMLOG Theory, has written a number of books, in which, among other things, he addresses the relationship of various other factor-based models to SYMLOG. In comparing the NEO Personality Inventory's five-factor model with the SYMLOG model, which is also the product of factor-analytic studies, he observes that Big Five Extraversion tends to be treated as a unidirectional scale. It does not currently have an opposite, in contrast to the SYMLOG vector on dominance, which has submissiveness as its opposite.

Bales suggests hypothetical relationships between the Big Five dimensions and the SYMLOG space, as shown in the following table:

Table: Relationship between Big Five Factors and SYMLOG

Big Five Factor SYMLOG Dimension SYMLOG Code
1 Extraversion Values on dominance U (Upward)
negative Extraversion
(Negative Extraversion is not usually recognized as a separate factor.) Values on submissiveness D (Downward)
2 Agreeableness Values on friendly behavior, accepting authority PF (Positive-Forward)
3 Conscientiousness Values on unfriendly behavior, accepting authority NF (Negative-Forward)
4 Neuroticism Values on unfriendly behavior, opposition to authority NB (Negative-Backward)
5 Openness Values on friendly behavior, opposition to authority PB (Positive-Backward)

Heuristic Plot in SYMLOG Space of
Big Five Personality Factors

Selected References
Costa, P. T., Jr., & McCrae, R. R. (1988). Personality in adulthood: A six-year longitudinal study of self-reports and spouse ratings on the NEO Personality Inventory. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 54, 853-863.

Costa, P., T. Jr., & McCrae, R. R. (1988). From catalog to classification: Murray's needs and the five-factory model. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 58, 258-265.

Murray, H. A., et al. (198). Explorations in personality. New York: Oxford University Press.

McCrae, R. R., & Costa, P., T. Jr. (1987). Validation of the five-factor model of personality across instruments and observers. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 52, 81-90.

Peabody, D., & Goldberg, L. R. (1989). Some determinants of factor structures from personality-trait descriptors. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 57, 552-567. Go back to list of Other Instruments. [

Big Five from


Big Five Personality Factors

Why do we study personality?

The NEO that you have just completed looks at 5 personality traits, known as the Big Five. We will briefly look at what traits are, how these personality factors were determined, what the traits mean, what the Big Five predict about our behaviour, and how these factors might relate to motivation.

What are traits?

Traits are consistent patterns of thoughts, feelings, or actions that distinguish people from one another. Traits are basis tendencies that remain stable across the life span, but characteristic behaviour can change considerably through adaptive processes. A trait is an internal characteristic that corresponds to an extreme position on a behavioural dimension.

There have been different theoretical perspectives in the field of personality psychology over the years including human motivation, the whole person, and individual differences. The Big Five falls under the perspective of individual differences.

How were these personality factors determined?

The Big Five represents a taxonomy (classification system) of traits that some personality psychologists suggest capture the essence of individual differences in personality. These traits were arrived at through factor analysis studies. Factor analysis is a technique generally done with the use of computers to determine meaningful relationships and patterns in behavioural data. You begin with a large number of behavioural variables. The computer finds relationships or natural connections where variables are maximally correlated with one another and minimally correlated with other variables, and then groups the data accordingly. After this process has been done many times a pattern appears of relationships or certain factors that capture the essence of all of the data. Such a process was used to determine the Big Five Personality factors. Many researchers tested factors other than the Big Five and found the Big Five to be the only consistently reliable factors.

Strict trait personality psychologists go so far as to say our behaviour is really determined by these internal traits, giving the situation a small role in determining behaviour. In other words, these traits lead to an individual acting a certain way in a given situation.

Allport, Norman and Cattell were influential in formulating this taxonomy which was later refined. Allport compiled a list of 4500 traits. Cattell reduced this list to 35 traits. Others continued to analyze these factors and found congruence with self- ratings, ratings by peers and ratings by psychological staff, that eventually became the Big Five factors.

The Big Five factors are: I – extraversion vs introversion

II – agreeableness vs antagonism

III – conscientiousness vs undirectedness

IV – neuroticism vs emotional stability

V – openness to experience vs not open to experience

Cross-cultural studies looking at the replicability of the Big Five have been less extensive due to the costs and difficulties involved. One reason for looking at cross cultural consistency is that it could provide an evolutionary interpretation of the way individual differences have been processed or encoded as personality categories in language. A Dutch analysis found 5 factors as well, the first 4 being similar to 4 of the Big Five, and the 5th being closer to unconventionality and rebelliousness. A German factor analysis replicated the Big Five factors. A problem with interpreting cross-cultural data is language translation. Some mistranslation may result in underestimating cross-cultural generalizability. Work has been done to reduce th is problem and higher congruence has been found with correlational analysis. Overall, the Big Five have been studied in 7 languages. The 5th factor (openness to experience) has the weakest replicability.

There was a need for an integrative framework for measuring these factors. The NEO Personality Inventory was created by Costa and McCrae and originally measured only neuroticism, extraversion and openness. The other factors were added later. There are other measures of the Big Five, such as the BFI (Big Five Inventory) and the TDA (Traits Descriptive Adjectives). The NEO has the highest validity of the Big Five measurement devices.

What do the five traits mean?

Keep in mind that the traits fall on a continuum and this overhead shows characteristics associated with each of the traits. Looking at these characteristics we can formulate what each of the traits mean.

E Extraversion – means a person is, talkative, social and assertive

A Agreeableness – means a person is good natured, co-operative and trusting

C Conscientiousness – means a person is responsible, orderly and dependable

N Neuroticism – means a person is anxious, prone to depression and worries a lot

O Openness – means a person is imaginative, independent minded and has divergent hinking

Extraversion implies an energetic approach to the social and material world and includes traits such as sociability, activity, assertiveness, and positive emotionality.

Agreeableness contrasts a prosocial and communal orientation toward others with antagonism and includes traits such as altruism, tender-mindedness, trust, and modesty.

Conscientiousness describes socially prescribed impulse control that facilitates task and goal-directed behaviour, such as thinking before acting, delaying gratification, following norms and rules, and planning, organizing, and prioritizing tasks.

Neuroticism contrasts emotional stability and even-temperedness with negative emotionality, such as feeling anxious, nervous, sad, and tense.

Openness to experience (versus closed-mindedness) describes the breadth, depth, originality, and complexity of an individual’s mental and experiential life.



The Big Five are broad dimensions or categories in a hierarchical sense, such that they encompass a lot without detail. Inevitably you lose information, and while the Big Five factors provide useful personality descriptors they are somewhat less useful at predicting specific berhaviours. So a researcher chooses a hierarchical level of analysis suited to the research being conducted. Some researchers such as Norman, Goldberg and Costa and McCrae, have developed middle level categories that provide more description or are less abstract but I won’t go into that here.

What do the Big Five predict about our behaviour?

(Handbook of Personality Psychology by Hogan, Johnson, and Briggs, 1997)

First, having a trait means reacting consistently to the same situation overtime, for example, being agreeable or cooperative means consistently going along with reasonable requests, but does not mean always complying with others’ wishes.

Second, to respond consistently in the same situation people must have a capacity to respond to situational cues, that is to have the trait to be responsive to situations. For example, if someone purchases a house in the woods, they might want that hou se because of its secluded location.

Third, behaving differently in a given situation does not mean there is inner inconsistency. For example, someone who likes to attend parties might not often do so because of a stronger desire to work.

Here are some examples of what the Big Five predict in regards to life outcomes and behaviour. *While I am giving you these examples, notice how different combinations of traits can lead to very different outcomes and behaviours, and think about why t his might be the case. Also, think about whether you see any of these combinations in your own personality.

Generally speaking, low agreeablesness and low conscientiousness can predict juvenile delinquency.

Neuroticism and low conscientiousness can predict internalizing disorders (such as mental disorders).

Conscientiousness and openness can predict school performance.

Conscientiousness is also a general predictor of job performance, while other Big Five traits predict job performance in specific types of jobs. For instance extraversion predicts success in sales and management positions.

High conscientiousness is related to better health and longevity, whereas low agreeableness and high neuroticism seem to be health risk factors.

Extraversion is associated with leadership behaviour.

Agreeableness is associated with behaviours such as helping others and donating to charity.

Neuroticism is related to vulnerability and depression.

Openness is related to behaviours associated with creative performance.

Overall, traits are relatively poor predictors of single behavioural acts, but are better predictors of general trends of a person’s behaviour. Looking at past behaviour of an individual may be the best predictor of future behaviour.

How might these factors relate to motivation?

Let’s look quickly at each trait. I will only present one end of the continuum, for example extraversion as opposed to introversion. Since these traits are on a continuum someone at the opposite extreme would show very different types of motivation tha n those at the extreme I will be talking about.

Extraversion has an interpersonal component and is strongly related to positive affect such as being enthusiastic, energetic, interested and friendly. Fremont and Means (1970) found that extraverts show less anxiety over negative feedback. If yo u remember I said earlier that extraversion is associated with leadership. So extraverts are highly motivated to seek social situations and to be dominant in those situations. Extraverts are motivated by change, variety in their lives, challenge, and are easily bored. Extraverts have more recently been seen as adaptive, ambitious and hardworking.

Agreeableness also has an interpersonal component. Agreeable individuals tend toward conformity in groups, toward modesty, toward not being demanding, and toward being sympathetic. These individuals might be motivated toward helping others and t oward prosocial behaviour in general. There may be a link between the motivational processes operating within individuals in regards to this trait, such that agreeable individuals strive for intimacy and solidarity in groups they belong to, which provides emotional rewards.

Conscientiousness is related to such things as achievement, perseverance, organization and responsibility. Conscientious individuals are motivated toward achievement through social conformity. *Add my own experience - internally driven.

Neuroticism tends to be viewed negatively and is associated with negative affect, being tense and nervous. Keep in mind that neuroticism is only one trait that an individual has. A person could be neurotic and conscientious which may have negati ve health effects but may motivate an individual toward success in school and work situations.

Openness is associated with tolerance of ambiguity (which means when something is not clear), a capacity to absorb information, being very focused and the ability to be aware of more feelings, thoughts and impulses simultaneously. The result is deeper more intense experiences. Open individuals are motivated to seek out the unfamiliar and to look for complexity.

The bottom line is that the Big Five are an integral part of the study of personality psychology, and it is fascinating to learn about what makes people tick.


  1. Pervin, L. & John, O. (Eds.) (1999). Handbook of personality: theory and research. New York: Gilford.
  2. Hogan, R., Johnson, J. & Briggs, S. (Eds.) (1997). Handbook of personality psychology. California: Academic Press.
  3. Potkay, C. & Allen, B. (1986). Personality: theory, research, and applications. California: Brooks/Cole.