Considerations and issues related the conceptualization of EI
Although my thinking on the conceptualization of EI is still evolving, I do have a number of ideas that I would like to share.
First, the conceptualization of emotional-social intelligence should be based on a consensus of what has appeared in the literature from Darwin to the present as a starting point. Based on some of the most popularly descriptions of this construct and closely associated concepts over the past 130 years, the key search words to look for in the literature when attempting to understand the possible domain involved are the following: emotional awareness, emotional expression, emotional literacy, emotional competence, alexithymia, psychological mindedness (PM), social intelligence, social-emotional learning(SEL), social-emotional education (SEE), intrapersonal intelligence, interpersonal intelligence, personal intelligences, practical intelligence, successful intelligence, emotional intelligence (EI), emotional-social intelligence, and more…
Additionally, it is important to see how the various EI theorists and researchers have described the key factorial components of this construct in the literature. It is also extremely important to note how they arrived at these particular factors. Was it based on observations of child development and other advanced primates, longitudinal studies, neurological research, empirical work, statistical modeling, and/or other scientific-based approaches? Next, it is important to apply such approaches in attempting to confirm or disconfirm what appears in the literature. What tends to be empirically confirmed by various researchers over a period of time would strengthen the case for its existence as a feasible factorial component of emotional-social intelligence.
Last, an interesting and important approach to studying the domain of emotional-social intelligence would be to factor analyze test results generated by concomitantly administering the major measures of this construct (such as the EQ-i™, MSCEIT™, and EIC™) using very large and diverse samples around the world. In light of the fact that these measures are purported to assess various aspects of this construct, such a factor analytic study might help confirm the strongest and most important factorial components of this construct. Moreover, combining different assessment modalities (such as ability-testing, self-report and multi-rater assessment) would appear to be the best and most thorough approach to such a study. What has become abundantly clear to me over the years is that all conceptualizations of this construct are incomplete and that all of the presently proposed assessment modalities are insufficient, in and of themselves, in fully describing emotional-social intelligence.