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Emotions are internal events that coordinate many psychological subsystems including physiological responses, cognitions, and conscious awareness. Emotions typically arise in response to a person's changing relationships. When a person's relationship to a memory, to his family, or to all of humanity changes, that person's emotions will change as well. For example, a person who recalls a happy childhood memory may find that the world appears brighter and more joyous (e.g., Bower, 1981). Because emotions track relationships in this sense, they convey meaning about relationships (Schwarz & Clore, 1983). Emotional intelligence refers to an ability to recognize the meanings of emotions and their relationships, and to reason and problem-solve on the basis of them. Emotional intelligence is involved in the capacity to perceive emotions, assimilate emotion-related feelings, understand the information of those emotions, and manage them (Mayer & Salovey, 1997; Salovey & Mayer, 1990).
Emotional intelligence can be assessed most directly by asking a person to solve emotional problems, such as identifying the emotion in a story or painting, and then evaluating the person's answer against criteria of accuracy (Mayer, DiPaolo, & Salovey, 1990; Mayer & Geher, 1996). It is worth noting, however, that emotional intelligence, as an ability, is often measured in other ways. Some approaches have asked people their personal, self-reported beliefs about their emotional intelligence. Test items such as, "I'm in touch with my emotions," or "I am a sensitive person," assess such self-understanding (e.g., Mayer & Stevens, 1994; Salovey, Mayer, Goldman, Turvey, & Palfai, 1995). Self-reports of ability and actual ability, however, are only minimally correlated in the realm of intelligence research (e.g., r = 0.20; Paulhus, Lysy, & Yik, 1998) and that appears to hold in the area of emotional intelligence as well (Davies, Stankov, & Roberts, 1998).(1) Self-concept is important, of course, because people often act on their beliefs about their abilities as opposed to their actual abilities (Bandura, 1977). Emotional intelligence as a domain of human performance, however, is best studied with ability measures.
Emotional intelligence has often been conceptualized (particularly in popular literature) as involving much more than ability at perceiving, assimilating, understanding, and managing emotions. These alternative conceptions include not only emotion and intelligence per se, but also motivation, non-ability dispositions and traits, and global personal and social functioning (e.g., Bar-On, 1997; Goleman, 1995). Such broadening seems to undercut the utility of the terms under consideration. We call these mixed conceptions because they combine together so many diverse ideas. For example, the Bar-On Emotional Quotient Inventory (E[Q.sub.i]) includes 15 self-report scales that measure a person's self-regard, independence, problem solving, reality-testing, and other attributes (Bar-On, 1997). Such qualities as problem solving and reality testing seem more closely related to ego strength or social competence than to emotional intelligence. Mixed models must be analyzed carefully so as to distinguish the concepts that are a part of emotional intelligence from the concepts that are mixed in, or confounded, with it.
General intelligence serves as an umbrella concept that includes dozens of related groups of mental abilities. Most of the smaller subskills studied in this century are related to verbal, spatial, and related logical information processing (see Carroll, 1993, for an authoritative review). Such processing is sometimes referred to as "cold" to denote that its ego- or self-involvement is minimal (Abelson, 1963; Mayer & Mitchell, 1998; Zajonc, 1980). Information processing, however, also deals with "hot," self-related, emotional processing. Emotional intelligence is a hot intelligence. It can be thought of as one member of an emerging group of potential hot intelligences that include social intelligence (Sternberg & Smith, 1985; Thorndike, 1920), practical intelligence (Sternberg & Caruso, 1985; Wagner & Sternberg, 1985), personal intelligence (Gardner, 1993), non-verbal perception skills (Buck, 1984; Rosenthal, Hall, DiMatteo, Rogers, & Archer, 1979), and emotional creativity (Averill & Nunley, 1992). Each of these forgoing concepts forms coherent domains that partly overlap with emotional intelligence, but that divide human abilities in somewhat different ways.
The ability conception of emotional intelligence was developed in a series of articles in the early 1990s (Mayer et al., 1990; Mayer & Salovey, 1993; Salovey & Mayer, 1990). For example, the first empirical study in the area demonstrated that people's abilities to identify emotion in three types of stimuli: colors, faces, and designs, could be accounted for by a single ability factor--which we supposed was emotional intelligence (Mayer et al., 1990). Another study examined the understanding of emotion in stories (Mayer & Geher, 1996); this latter study provided further indications that the underlying factor "looked like" an intelligence. Simultaneous with this empirical work, we have honed our definition of emotional intelligence and the abilities involved (e.g., Mayer & Salovey, 1997). The present article represents a culmination of this work, testing our most highly developed conception of emotional intelligence by operationalizing it according to 12 ability tests of emotional intelligence. The present study can help answer important questions about emotional intelligence, among them: whether emotional intelligence is a single ability or many, and how it relates to traditional measures of general intelligence and other criteria.
STANDARD CRITERIA FOR AN INTELLIGENCE
Three Criteria for an Intelligence
An intelligence such as emotional intelligence must meet stringent criteria in order to be judged as a true intelligence. For the purposes here, these criteria can be divided into three fairly distinct groups: conceptual, correlational, and developmental. The first, conceptual criteria, includes that intelligence must reflect mental performance rather than simply preferred ways of behaving, or a person's self-esteem, or non-intellectual attainments (Carroll, 1993; Mayer & Salovey, 1993; Scarr, 1989); moreover, mental performance should plainly measure the concept in question, i.e., emotion-related abilities. The second, correlational criteria, describe empirical standards: specifically, that an intelligence should describe a set of closely related abilities that are similar to, but distinct from, mental abilities described by already-established intelligences (Carroll, 1993; Neisser et al., 1996).(2) The third, developmental criterion, states that intelligence develops with age and experience, and is based on the groundbreaking work by Binet and Simon at the beginning of century (as reviewed in Fancher, 1985, p. 71; see also, Brown, 1997). These three criteria will be next examined in greater detail.
Conceptual Criteria for an Intelligence
We have argued elsewhere that emotional intelligence does indeed describe actual abilities rather than preferred courses of behavior. These four broad classes of abilities can be arranged from lower, more molecular, skills to higher, more molar, skills, as is done in Fig. 1 (Mayer & Salovey, 1993, 1997). The lowest level skills involve the perception and appraisal of emotion, e.g., in a facial expression or artwork. The next level up involves assimilating basic emotional experiences into mental life, including weighing emotions against one another and against other sensations and thoughts, and allowing emotions to direct attention. An example includes holding an emotional state in consciousness long enough to compare its correspondences to similar sensations in sound, color, and taste. The third level involves understanding and reasoning about emotions. Each emotion-happiness, anger, fear, and the like--follows its own specific rules. Anger rises when justice is denied; fear often changes to relief; sadness separates us from others. Each emotion moves according to its own characteristic rules, like the different pieces on a chessboard. Emotional intelligence involves the ability to see the pieces, know how they move, and reason about emotions accordingly. The fourth, highest level, involves the management and regulation of emotion, such as knowing how to calm down after feeling angry or being able to alleviate the anxiety of another person. Tasks defining these four levels or branches are described in greater detail in the section concerning scale development below.
[Figure 1 ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]
In considering tasks for an emotional intelligence test, how are we to discriminate right from wrong answers? One common approach drawn from emotions research has been to look for group consensus as to the emotional content of stimuli (e.g., Mayer et al., 1990; Wagner, MacDonald, & Manstead, 1986). If the group agrees that a face is happy, say, then that becomes the correct answer. A second possibility is to use expert criteria for emotional meanings. An expert could bring a history of philosophy and empirical psychology to bear on judgments about emotional meanings (e.g., Darwin, 1872/1965; Ortony, Clore, & Collins, 1988; Plutchik, 1984; Spinoza, 1675/1984), and this might provide answers similar to, or different from, a consensus criterion. On the other hand, it has been argued that experts simply provide estimates of group consensus, and those estimates are fallible (Legree, 1995). Finally, a target criterion is applicable in selected circumstances in which a target individual's emotions or emotional creations are being judged. In such cases, the target can report the emotion he or she was feeling or expressing at the time. The group's consensus, the expert, and the target criteria, represent somewhat different perspectives, and it is therefore unlikely that they would be in complete agreement. For example, target individuals sometimes report pleasant feelings, perhaps to be socially conforming, when in fact they are perceived by a group as experiencing less pleasant feelings (Mayer & Geher, 1996). Such differences in perspective do not necessarily rule out a general convergence toward a criterion. Such a rough convergence would substantiate the view that emotions convey information, and that emotional intelligence is, in fact, an intelligence.
Correlational Criteria for an Intelligence
The Logic of Correlational Criteria for Intelligence
Emotional intelligence should define a set of abilities that are moderately intercorrelated with one another. There are many excellent overviews of mental abilities and the criteria for defining their class (e.g., Carroll, 1993; Flanagan, Genshaft, & Harrison, 1997). This logic can be illustrated with an example drawn from the clinical assessment of intelligence. The original Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scales (i.e., WAIS, WAIS-R, WAIS-III; Wechsler, 1958; see Anastasi & Urbina, 1997, for a review of later tests) contained a set of verbal intelligence scales. These consisted of many related mental tests including identifying similarities among concepts, recognizing word meanings (vocabulary), general information, comprehension, and arithmetic. The abilities measured, e.g., vocabulary and information, are moderately intercorrelated--they rise and fall across people at about the r = 0.40 level. The tasks can be summarized by a verbal IQ, where the IQ is based on a person's overall performance on those tasks compared to the performance of other people their age (because ability levels change with age).
The Wechsler tests from mid-century to 1998 typically paired verbal intelligence with performance intelligence. Performance abilities, such as assembling puzzles, identifying missing elements in visual depictions, and ordering picture sequences, also correlate highly with each other. These can be summarized by a performance IQ, similarly based on the person's overall performance on the tasks. The verbal and performance tasks correlate less highly with each other; i.e., the verbal and performance tasks are related to each other, but not quite as closely as skills within each group.(3) They are also related, however, and can be combined to form an overall IQ, which represents the individual's average performance on a broader range of mental tasks.
The Establishment of New Intelligences
The possibility that there exists one or more additional classes of intelligence, beyond verbal and performance intelligence, has long intrigued researchers. The identification of a new class of intelligence would broaden our contemporary concepts of intelligences. Moreover, adding missing intelligences to an omnibus IQ test can increase the test's fairness by more accurately representing individuals whose abilities were higher on unknowingly omitted tests than on the tests that were present.
The identification of a class of intelligence, such as verbal or performance, however, does not occur all at once. Usually, there proceeds a painstaking process of developing candidate tasks for the intelligence, finding a rationale for correct answers (if not obvious), and then examining their intercorrelations with existing measures of intelligences. For example, social intelligence was proposed as a third member of the verbal/performance grouping earlier in the century; it was defined as "the ability to understand men and women, boys and girls, to act wisely in human relations" (Thorndike, 1920). Measures of verbal intelligence, however, already incorporate much social thinking; in fact, normal verbal communication is so social that it is difficult to come up with vocabulary ("What is democracy?") or general knowledge questions ("Who was John F. Kennedy?") that do not contain social information. In part, for such reasons, Cronbach (1960) concluded that social intelligence could not be distinguished from verbal intelligence. The search for a third broad intelligence abated for the next several decades, although a number of alternative intelligences have been discussed as possible candidates.
Research on social intelligence has continued, with important work by Sternberg and Smith (1985), Cantor and Kihlstrom (1987) Legree (1995) and others. Much of that work represented important conceptual development of social intelligence; little of that work, however, concerned itself with actual ability measurement in relation to other intelligences (some exceptions are Legree, 1995; Wagner & Sternberg, 1985). In addition, other intelligences have been proposed, e.g., the multiple intelligences of Gardner (1993) which included personal, musical, and other intelligences. Here, too, research on individual differences and their relations to already-existing intelligences was de-emphasized (Sternberg, 1994).
Emotional intelligence represents an alternative grouping of tasks to social intelligence. On one hand, emotional intelligence is broader than social intelligence, including not only reasoning about the emotions in social relationships, but also reasoning about internal emotions that are important for personal (as opposed to social) growth. On the other hand, emotional intelligence is more focused than social intelligence in that it pertains primarily to the emotional (but not necessarily verbal) problems embedded in personal and social problems. For example, reasoning about a sequence of internal feelings, or about the feelings in a relationship, can be readily distinguished from general questions about democracy, or John F. Kennedy, as described above. This increased focus means that emotional intelligence may be more distinct from traditional verbal intelligence than is social intelligence.
The Developmental Criterion for an Intelligence
There remains a third criterion an intelligence must meet: that it develops with age and experience, from childhood to adulthood. That third criterion will be discussed at the outset of Study 2, which is focused on studying developmental issues in emotional intelligence.
INTRODUCTION TO THE PRESENT STUDIES
Widely accepted intelligences share certain features in common: they are abilities, they manifest specific correlational patterns among themselves and in relation to other intelligences, and they develop with age and experience. The two studies described here operationalize …