Emotional intelligence as formulated in the theory of Mayer & Salovey (1997) has been framed within a model of intelligence. The motivation to develop a theory of emotional intelligence, and instruments to measure it, came from a realization that traditional measures of intelligence failed to measure individual differences in the ability to perceive, process, and effectively manage emotions and emotional information. The use of this frame is significant, as it defines emotional intelligence more specifically as the ability to perceive emotions, to access and generate emotions to assist thought, to understand emotions and emotional knowledge, and to reflectively regulate emotions to promote emotional and intellectual growth (Mayer & Salovey, 1997). Like other intelligences, emotional intelligence is defined by Mayer and Salovey as a group of mental abilities, and is best measured using a testing situation that is performance or ability based. This focus on objective, performance-based assessment is similar in spirit to the methods used to measure traditional intelligence (IQ). For example, to measure spatial reasoning ability, traditionally seen as a type of cognitive intelligence, it makes sense to present an individual with a set of spatial reasoning tasks of varying difficulty in order to gauge their ability on this type of intelligence. Performance-based measures of emotional intelligence take a similar approach. For example, if you want insight into an individual's ability to perceive emotions in others, it makes sense to present them a variety of visual images, such as faces, and ask them to identity the emotion(s) present. The most current measure of the Mayer & Salovey model, the Mayer, Salovey, Caruso, Emotional Intelligence Test v.2.0 (MSCEIT v2.0), makes use of this approach and thus yields scores that are based on an individual's performance on a set of items designed to measure the four branch model of emotional intelligence. As is evident within traditional theories and methods of measuring cognitive intelligence, the measure is viewed as applicable to a wide range of settings, for example clinical assessment, education, and the workplace. This potential for application across diverse settings and populations is a consistent theme within the general intelligence literature as well.


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