How EI should be conceptualized, measured and studied

How EI should be conceptualized, measured and studied

Ever since I began contributing to the field of emotional intelligence, I have tried to maintain high scientific standards in my approach to conceptualizing, measuring and studying this construct; and I have encouraged others to do the same. Furthermore, I have consistently emphasized the importance of cooperation between theorists, researchers and practitioners from different theoretical orientations.

I believe we should strive to use a variety of methods to examine the relationship between the various EI models and many different aspects of human behavior. No one particular EI model, no matter how valid, robust and viable it might be, can describe this construct in its entirety. In order to provide a more complete and comprehensive description of emotional-social intelligence, we should consider creating an expanded model that incorporates the best features of existing EI models and measures irrespective of theoretical differences.

As such, a future challenge in this field should be to explore how best to create a multi-dimensional and multi-modal model that captures (a) the potential, or ability, for emotionally and socially intelligent behavior as well as (b) a self-report and (c) multi-rater assessment of this type of behavior. Our ability to more fully describe EI will be incomplete until we succeed in creating such an expanded, multi-dimensional and multi-modal approach. This will assist us in progressing toward a higher and more sophisticated level of conceptualizing and measuring this construct. By applying this approach to describing, measuring and studying emotional intelligence, we will eventually be more effective in mapping out the domain of this construct, evaluating its importance and understanding how best to apply it.

I have explored this idea with various people in the EI community for a number of years and have received positive support for this approach from the individuals behind the other two major schools of emotional intelligence including Peter Salovey and Daniel Goleman. I would like to encourage scholars, researchers and graduate students to take up the challenge. Those who are interested can contact me directly (Reuven@ReuvenBarOn.org).

Last, encouraging this type of approach is also the best way to discourage the proliferation of unsubstantiated theorizing that abets false claims and misconceptions of what emotional intelligence is and is not, how it should and should not be measured, and what it can and cannot predict.

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