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Reuven BarOn and his EQi test
(aka Reuven Bar-On)


How Reuven defines emotional intelligence

What does "self-report" mean and why is it a problem?

How Reuven is being promoted on the Internet

How Reuven's test is being promoted on the Internet

Who says the EQi "The world's first scientific measure of emotional intelligence"?

Who says the EQi is a measure of emotional intelligence?

How did Reuven BarOn get so famous?

Reuven's claim that he coined the term "EQ"

More on Reuven's PhD and the term EQ

EQ" and the 1995 Time Article

Quote from Daus, Ashkanasy article

Obeying, killing and "emotional intelligence" according to Reuven

The Stockton, California connection between Goleman and BarOn

Reuven's Membership in the EI Consortium

My response to an email I got defending Reuven

My mocking of an ad for the BarOn test -- rbtestad1.htm

Notes from his "Handbook of Emotional Intelligence" - A very extensive collection of my notes from reading this book.

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Reuven did a very good job of renaming and promoting a test he created a long time before the term emotional intelligence came out. Basically no one in the academic world has ever said his test is a test of emotional intelligence. Even Reuven sometimes admits this. In his own words he once said, in writing, that his EQi test:

"may more accurately be described as a self-report measure of emotionally and socially competent behavior that provides an estimate of one's emotional and social intelligence." (page 364 of his "Handbook of Emotional Intelligence")

Now here is a quote from two people in academia

"Let us first begin by making one point crystal clear - we do not endorse a Goleman (1995) or Bar-On (1997) type of approach to studying emotional intelligence...we also feel that to an extent, they have done much more harm than good regarding establishing emotional intelligence as a legitimate, empirical construct " (source)

See the next secion on "How Reuven defines emotional intelligence" and see the discussion of what "self-report" means

How Reuven defines emotional intelligence
According to Dr. Reuven BarOn, Emotional Intelligence is defined as "an array of noncognitive capabilities, competencies, and skills that influence one's ability to succeed in coping with environmental demands and pressures". (Source)

When David Caruso gave his presentation to us about EI and came to this definition by Reuven, David stressed the word "noncognitive" then made a dismissing comment like, "I will say no more." His point was that Reuven admits he is not even talking about anything related to intelligence. In other words, Reuven basically says that his definition of emotional intelligence doesn't include the concept of intelligence. It is all the other "noncognitive" things which make a person "succeed in coping with environmental demands and pressures".

If this is how Reuven sees it, then, to me, it would be more accurate to call his test a self-report test of coping skills. But this, of course, would be less profitable to him and Steven Stein at MHS.


Source - One source of this definition by Reuven was the trainingalternatives.com page

What does "self-report" mean and why is it a problem?

Here is an example of a self-report test. I ask you how fast you can type. You tell me 100 words per minute.

The problem is when I give you a typing test and we find you can only type 50 words per minute.

Giving you the typing test is what the psychologists call an "ability" test. But Reuven's test is "self-report" and is worth next to nothing, in my opinion, as a predictor of emotional intelligence.

There has also been little correlation shown between Reuven's test and the MSCEIT test. Here is something I found on David Caruso's website.

BarOn EQ-i  - The correlation between the MSCEIT RV1.1 EIQ and the BarOn EQ-i was .13 (ns) in a sample of 130 ethnically diverse students (Pellettieri, 2001).

A correlation of .13 is very low and I think it is fair to say, insignificant. In other words, scoring highly on Reuven's test does not mean you are likely to score well on the MSCEIT test. And though I have concerns about the MSCEIT it is much more respected in the academic world than Reuven's test.

Steve Hein
April 20, 2005

See also this page on emotional intelligence tests

How Reuven BarOn is being promoted on the Internet

From the cgrowth.com site cgrowth.com/eqs.html

Reuven BarOn is a pioneer and internationally acknowledged expert in emotional intelligence. He has been involved in defining, measuring and applying this concept since 1980. He coined the term "EQ" and created the EQ-iŽ, which is the first and most popular measure of emotional intelligence to be published. He co-edited the Handbook of Emotional Intelligence in 2000. His work has been described in encyclopedias, books and articles.

A backup copy

Here are a few questions about this kind of propaganda.

Who decided Reuven is a "pioneer" in emotional intelligence?

Who decided he is an "internationally acknowledged expert in emotional intelligence"?

Who says he coined the term "EQ"? See my answer

Who says the EQi is a measure of emotional intelligence? See my answer to this

And for Reuven saying that his test "provides an estimate of one's emotional and social intelligence", who is saying this besides Reuven and those making money by selling it and giving certification workshops on it and using it in businesses as part of lucrative consulting projects?

For more of how the cgrowth.com website is promoting Reuven, see this page When I did a search for "Reuven BarOn" on google today, April 20, 2005, this page from cgrowth.com was the first on the list. My own page on Reuven as of April 20 was not in the top 100 on google. I expect this to change soon and I will feel satisfied if my page becomes number one or in the top 5. I am really, really sick of all this exagerated and misleading promotion of and by all these people.

April 20, 2005

How Reuven's test is being promoted on the Internet

These are just a few examples.

From trainingalternatives.com

The Dr. Reuven BarOn EQ-iTM (Emotional Quotient Inventory), is the world's only scientifically, statistically and cross-culturally validated measurement of emotional intelligence.


From the courses.imi.ie site

This 3 day workshop will allow you to become licensed to administer, score and interpret the BarOn Emotional Quotient Inventory (EQ-i), the first scientifically developed and the most validated measure of emotional intelligence in the world. It is based on over 20 years of research by Dr Reuven BarOn and has been tested on over 120,000 individuals worldwide.


From the Psychological Assessments Australia site (psychassessments.com.au/display.php?id=228)

BarOn EQ-i is the first scientific measure of emotional intelligence.

- --

See also this page on sites who have copied the claim that the EQi is the "world's first scientific measure of emotional intelligence"

Who says the EQi is a measure of emotional intelligence?

Around 1999 or 2000, Steven Stein, the president of MHS, a psychology test publishing company in Canada, decided to start calling Reuven's test a test of emotional intelligence. Why do you think he did this? Because there was a consensus among academic researchers that the test was actually a test of emotional intelligence? No. This was not possibly the reason, because there was no such consensus. To date, nearly no one in the academic community has called or is calling Reuven's test a test of emotional intelligence.

So why did Steven Stein and the people at MHS decide to start calling Reuven's test a test of emotional intelligence? To make money.

They judged correctly people would be interested in buying Reuven's test if they called it a test of emotional intelligence. MHS took part in deceiving the public around the world. I believe this was intentional deceit. I don't believe for one minute they thought anyone in the academic community was calling Reuven's test a test of emotional intelligence. If they have evidence otherwise I challenge them to present it to me. If what I am saying is false, they can sue me for libel. So, MHS, prove to me that you had any academic support for your decision to call the EQi test a test of emotional intelligence when you decided to market and promote it as such.

How did Reuven BarOn get so famous?

I say there are two main reasons.

Number 1

He got famous by marketing himself. He got famous by editing a book he says is was a "Handbook of Emotional Intelligence." The title itself was very misleading. In my opinion, it is not fair to say the book was a "handbook of emotional intelligence." Besides that, what does it mean to "edit" a book like this? What credit do we give the "editors"? Or more specifically, what credit do we give Reuven for his knowledge of emotional intelligence or his research in the area just because he was one of the "editors"? I say we give him almost none. What editors of books like this do is they tell people they are putting together a book on so and so topic and ask people to submit articles. Then they read the articles, and select some, write a forward and maybe one of their own chapters, and then they have a book. But does this make them experts on the subject? Does it make them "pioneers"?

Here is what David Caruso said when I was complaining about one of the articles in the book, an article by Robert Sternberg.

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

A pioneer, to me, is someone who blazes a new trail. The only thing new Reuven has done is take his old personality test and give it a new name.

When I first read Reuven's book, I basically felt disgusted by it. I wrote a very critical review of it. At some point Reuven read it and indirectly threatened to sue me. I felt intimidated by him and changed what I posted on my site. But I am going to show you what I originally wrote, for example, about the first chapter in the book, written by Reuven can sue me if he wants. You can even tell by the title it has nothing to do with emotional intelligence. It is called, "Social Intelligence: The Development and Maintenance of Purposive Behavior by Sabrina Zirkel" And by the way, who decided there even is something called "social intelligence"? This is even less accepted than the term "emotional intelligence" which the academic researchers are still debating about. Well, anyhow, here is what I said about Sabrina Zirkel's article in Reuven's book.

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

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

I jumped to the conclusion to see how she was going to link her article to EI and to my sheer amazement she never even mentions EI in her conclusion. Adding to my feelings of bewilderment when I checked her list of citations (over 6 pages long) she never once cites either Jack Mayer or Peter Salovey!

The good news is the book gets better. The bad news is that we must wait till the third chapter because the second chapter has nothing to with emotional intelligence either, although the authors did at least throw in a couple references to the work of Mayer et al. Again, one wonders about the motives of the editors.


Reuven's claim that he coined the term "EQ"

Evidently, Reuven designed some kind of psychology test as a graduate student somewhere in South Africa. Then, years later, when he saw the terms EQ and emotional intelligence getting popular, he started telling people that he was the first one to have "coined" the term EQ. I once saw a very amateur website, written in nearly all capital letters, which is very typical for Reuven, and which was shouting out that he was the first to coin the term "EQ". It was also promoting his test. Unfortunately I didn't have the foresight to make a backup copy of that website, but I remember it. I remember thinking it was very annoying and made it look like the person who wrote it was feeling resentful and even angry. It was completely unprofessional. Even worse than my site!

Jack Mayer once tried to verify Reuven's claim. The best Jack could come up with was that Reuven claims he used the term EQ on a draft of his thesis in graduate school in South Africa. But supposedly that draft was later changed on his professor's instructions and the final thesis did not include the term EQ anywhere in it. Jack even called the University in South Africa where Reuven was a grad student trying to get a copy of Reuven's thesis, but ran into a dead end. You can check with Jack Mayer if you don't believe me. You can find his email on the University of New Hampshire website, or you can write to me.

As far as I know, there is no writen copy anywhere in the world of anything showing that Reuven used the term EQ before it reached the popular press in 1995.

If anyone knows something different, please let me know.

The person I believe was actually the first to use the term "EQ" with reference to anything like emotional intelligence or emotional quotient seems to Keith Beasley in the UK, who has not been making a nuisance of himself like Reuven BarOn has for the past few years. I say that BarOn has been making a nuisance of himself because he is constantly complaining about everything and constantly promoting himself. If you doubt me, ask anyone who has been a member of EMONET for the past few years. Later I might copy some of Reuven's postings there.

The term "EQ" and the 1995 Time Article

On the membership profile page of the EI Consortium for Reuven it says:

He coined the term “EQ” (“emotional quotient”) in 1985 to describe his approach to assessing emotional and social competence.

First, I´d like to ask the Consortium board members if they have any proof of this.

Second I would like to point out that in the 1995 Time Magazine article, which asked the question "What's your EQ?" on the cover, Reuven BarOn was never mentioned.

If he actually coined the term "EQ", wouldn´t the Time reporters have heard of him during their research? Are we to think they deliberately left him out...or is it more likely that there was no evidence to support Reuven's claim?

By the way, today I also did a search for "Reuven Bar-On" and "Reuven BarOn" on Time´s website and found no results.

I would say that if anyone deserves credit for coining the term EQ, it is Nancy Gibbs, the author of the 1995 Time aritcle, or whoever chose the article title or chose what to put on the cover.

See also:

The 1995 Time Magazine cover from the Time magazine website

My backup copy of the cover

My back up copy of the article

Reuven's claim that he coined the term "EQ"

The EI Consortium

The direct link to the BarOn's membership profile page is: eiconsortium.org/members/baron.htm

More on Reuven's PhD and the term EQ

According to MHS, Reuven got his PhD from Rhodes University in 1988. But he claims to have coined the term "EQ" in 1985. So this makes it more likely that he only used the term "EQ" in an early unpublished draft of his dissertation, if at all. To me, this does not seem to qualify as coining the term "EQ".


Unfortunately the MHS page is a PDF file and hard to link to, so here is a link to the html copy, which is hard to read but if you use Control F to search for 1988, you will see that it says he received his PhD in 1988.

Interestingly, on the EI Consortium members page, (eiconsortium.org/members/baron.htm) it only tells us that Reuven got his PhD from Rhodes University, but it doesn't tell us the year. It does though, say that he "coined the term “EQ” (“emotional quotient”) in 1985 to describe his approach to assessing emotional and social competence." It fails to mention though, that there is no actual evidence to support this claim.

Something else interesting, on the EI consortium site I found this citation in a paper written by Reuven himself. He tells us that even his dissertation was unpublished, not just the draft in which he claims he used the term EQ.

Bar-On, R. (1988). The development of a concept of psychological well-being. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, Rhodes University, South Africa.

source: eiconsortium.org/research/baron_model_of_emotional_social_intelligence.htm

Reuven's Membership in the EI Consortium

How did Reuven get to be a member of the EI Consortium by the way? And when? It seems to me that Reuven became a member before he had any of his own articles published, except perhaps the ones he put in his own book. See the EI Consortium membership requirements as of April 2005

Obeying, killing and "emotional intelligence" according to Reuven

Evidently Bar-On found out who was successful in the Israeli military and looked at their scores on his test. Now he says that if you score highly on his test you have high "emotional intelligence" or “social emotional intelligence” depending on what you read.

In other words if you are the kind of person who feels comfortable obeying orders and killing people, and you don’t feel sadness or empathy for those you are killing or preparing to kill, or for their loved ones or family members, and if you don’t have nightmares and feelings of guilt and shame which lead to depression and suicidal thoughts, then you are emotionally or socio-emotionally intelligent.

See more about Reuven's military experience in this section MHS page

Stockton, California

Something else which I have known for a long time but have never written about is the fact that Bar-On once told me that he grew up in the same town as Goleman – Stockton, California. Bar-On also told me that Goleman’s family is quite wealthy and there is a library in Stockton named after the Goleman family since they gave so much money to it. I am going to speculate that one of the reasons Bar-On decided to start calling his test a test of emotional intelligence was because he felt envious and resentful of all the attention Goleman was getting, not to mention all the money he was making. Now Bar-On is making more money and is more famous himself than he was before the whole EI fad so I suppose he feels less resentful is more willing to be friendly with Goleman. After all Goleman and Bar-On have something in common. They both want to minimize the importance of the work of Mayer, Salovey and Caruso so their claims about emotional intelligence will be taken more seriously.


Later I verified this. See Goleman library link

More misleading statements on the net

The Multiple Intelligences theory has been introduced by Howard Gardner (1983), and the Emotional Intelligence theory by BarOn (1988), Mayer & Salovey (1990) and Goleman (1995).





Other unfinshed notes...

If you can obey orders and kill people they you can obey orders and make money.

They can’t be good fathers or mothers because they don’t have empathy. If they had sufficient healthy empathy they wouldn't be able to kill people.

They can’t lead a double life. And if they are trying to then this is also causing stress and inner conflict.

And many people who leave the military have psychological problems.

From my personal correspondence with him and from reading his posts on EMONET I have noticed that Reuven likes numbers. I think he likes to talk about numbers much more than he likes to talk about feelings.

Consultants and psychologists can make a lot of money charging for their time to interpret the results of the EQi test.

My partner Laura said that this all seems like a joke to her. She also said that it seems to her that the people who like to manage numbers don’t like feelings because they feel more safe with numbers.