Just how valid is the idea of emotional intelligence?

Research Briefing

Keywords: emotional intelligence, validity, reliability, emotion recognition, emotion regulation

As mentioned in a previous research briefing, interest in emotional intelligence is a relatively recent phenomenon. With the exception of a small blip of interest at the end of the Second World War, emotional intelligence has only really come to prominence in terms of research since the 1990s.

Emotional intelligence, however, isn’t one construct, rather it is an overarching description of four trait factors within a series of 17 variables or measures that, together, have become known as emotional intelligence.

The four trait factors of emotional intelligence – states versus traits

Emotional intelligence is made up of four trait factors, called such because they describe habitual and relatively stable patterns of thinking, behaviour and emotional reactions. A trait, for example, is something that would be ascribed to an individual, such as being an outgoing person, for example. In comparison, states are seen as more transitory and situation specific, such things as anger.

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Sofronio Jadulco

Sophie is a core member of the Oxford Review. She started working with us in 2017 and hands a diverse range of really important jobs from social media to marketing and customer support. Sophie is the efficient member of the team, making sure all those background tasks get done just right. Without her, almost none of what happens in the background would get done.