Emotional Intelligence by Peter Salovey

Peter Saolvey: Chris Argyris Professor of Psychology, Management, and Epidemology & Public Health; Provost, Yale University.  Second Keynote at CAIS CSA conference at Quinnipiac University, 26 April 2010.

What is Emotional Intelligence?  How do you find it? What are its applications in education, business, etc?

Example: Bill Clinton meeting Peter before a speech at Yale.  Ergo, Emotional Intelligence is a skill-set.  He’s smiling, he’s got eyecontact, he’s got confidence, he’s laughing.  He’s using his skill-set to put people at ease.  Peter is happy to meet the former president, but anxious not to screw up.  Clinton is clearly managing Peter’s emotional state to put him more at ease.  He’s a successful politician because he feels our pain.  But he didn’t have good impulse control, and had difficulty regulating his own anger (not visible in this photo).  Only partially emotionally intelligent.  Note in photo that his left hand is on Peter’s wife’s shoulder, making her at ease even though he’s talking to someone else.

Emotional Intelligence represents convergence of two historical trends: changing views about rationality of emotions, and changing views about what abilities constitute “Intelligence”.  In the late 1950s and 1960s, during the cognitive revolution, we stopped studying emotions until relatively recently.  The traditional view is that emotions are chaotic, haphazard and unreasoning.  But the new view is that emotions are adaptive, functional and about organizing other cognitive abilities.   It is a rediscovery of Darwin’s idea that Emotions Are Intelligent.  (Darwin, 1872 – “The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals”). Emotion engizess required behaviors, and signals intentions.  It represents a social-intelligence system.  THis social referencing works in babies:  an infant approaching a new toy watches for a parent signal — smiling for “it’s good to approach”, frowning means “Don’t touch that.” The baby may even express fear or upset – crying – to elicit emotional response. Sheep too… they all look around randomly, but whichever notices the coyote first will adopt fearful expression to convince the others to move.  Intelligence is defined too narrowly.  Draw upon feelings to understand and guide behavior.

Intrapersonal intelligence may be one kind of intelligence.  Emotional intelligence may be another.  Salovey and Mayer, 1990 — Emotional Intelligence. Imagination, cognition and Personality. “The ability to monitor one’s own and others’ feelings, to discriminate among them, and to use this information to guide one’s thinking and action.”  Decided to develop skill-set:

Emotional Intelligence:

  • Perceiving and Expressing Emotion,
  • Using Emotion to Facilitate Thinking,
  • Understanding Emotions,
  • Managing Emotions

THese have branches.  Branch One: Perceiving Emotion (Faces and pictures). Branch Two: Using Emotion to Facilitate Thought (Sensations, Facilitations).  Branch Three: Understanding Emotions (Changes, Blends).  Branch Four: Managing Emotion (Emotion management [self], Social Management [others]).  An effort to develop a test which demonstrates how good or how bad.  First branch based on faces, videos of faces, and paintings.  Mapping emotions to language, taste, smell, other sensory inputs.  Cloze tests to test emotional awareness.  Scenarios both written and practical/3d.  Scoring the test was difficult.  Should we use “expert scoring” or “consensus scoring”?   The team went to conference of emotional researchers in order to develop consensus scoring method, and also expert-scored sections.

Correlation is difficult.  As one goes up, the other goes up the same = +1.  As one goes up the other goes down the same = -1.  Psychologists usually encounter weak correlation…. 0.1 or 0.2, but the perceiving the emotional skills test gets .9.  Emotional Use gets 0.7.  Understanding emotion got 0.8.  Managing emotion test results in correlation of 0.8.  The test of emotional intelligence could help predict or protect against substance abuse, risky sexual behaviors and risky criminal behaviors, and aggressive behaviors.  Self-Esteem was not the issue… it couldn’t predict whether a student would be at-risk.  In practicals, a hidden Yale student would code the behaviors of a test subject with strangers.

The emotional intelligence report given to a group of adults in business school.  Then the students worked together for 10 weeks. AT the end of 2 months, students evaluated each other for best skills, best strategic vision.  Emotional Intelligence top-raters always got high marks from colleagues in teams.

Can Emotional Intelligence be taught??

Elementary school curriculum and middle school curriculum in process. The archdiocese of Brooklyn and Queens, a school system in Kent, England, and Waterville Valley, NY to evaluate.   275 students, 5th and 6th graders, 15 classrooms, 3 schools.  Taught in language arts classes.  Teachers ratings parallel the results from MSCEIT-YV (emotional intelligence test).  Kids in another standard character education program are getting great program, but kids in the Emotional Intelligence program did better in school, developed better work habits.  Job satisfaction for teachers also measured – high Emotional Intelligence + support-of-principal = job satisfaction.

Emotional intelligence as tested through an investment company revealed that low E.I. investors tended to respond to news and get agitated about stock tips, and made a mess of their investments.  High E.I. investors tended to stick to their plans, manage their emotions with bad and good news alike, and develop better programs for investing and wealth-growth.

Daniel Goldman: EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE. 1995 – reissued in 2005 as 10th year anniversary edition.  If you need to read something about E.I. read this one book.  Good place to begin.

In 1995, though, Salovey and colleagues didn’t even have a TEST! Time magazine, French magazines, japanese magazines, German all took the idea and ran with it… but didn’t know how to measure it or teach it yet.  Many applications in Human Resources, Politics, Marketing with Emotions, Personal Growth, Educational Curricula.  Job placement in Japan, China is often based in E.I.  Might be illegal in the United States.

THE CLAIMS ABOUT EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE Grew more and more strident, more and more bombastic, more and more vapid.  Goleman, 1995, 1998; Watkin 2000.  Investigators began offering critique: Locke 2005; Landy 2005.  There’s a lot of hype, but there’s also a lot of good work.  What is the science behind Emotional Intelligence?

Personal reflection: Emotional Intelligence has brought me closer to my mother. Roz Chast cartoon from New Yorker. (Hahahahahah!)

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  1. […] Peter Salovey on Emotional Intelligence.  I enjoyed this talk by a Yale Professor on the importance of developing a student’s emotional intelligence, and these are my notes on his talk.  Why this post has had almost five hundred visitors to date is confusing to me, but there you are.   It’s been an important read for a lot of people, apparently, because it generates a consistent number of 30-40 visitors a month for about a year now. […]

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