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Emotional Intelligence: Review of Research and

Educational Implications
PAMELA QUALTER and KATHRYN J. GARDNER, University of Central Lancashire,
UK and HELEN E. WHITELEY, Edge Hill University, UK

Political Context
This article provides a critical review of the
research field of emotional intelligence (EI) High on the political agendas of both the United
and examines the usefulness of the construct Kingdom and the United States is the recognition of a
in the debate on educational policy and need to provide all children with the best possible start
practice. The authors examine two approaches in life. In the United Kingdom, this has been evidenced
through the Childrens Agenda. The Childrens Act
to the theory and measurement of EI and
(2004) provides the legislative basis for a planned
summarize the evidence linking EI to life system of major reform and outlines new statutory
success and academic achievement. Also duties and accountabilities for all childrens services.
considered is whether or not EI can be The Every Child Matters Framework sets out a national
changed or developed, and how it might structure that aims to build services around the needs
be facilitated in educational practice. In of children and young people to maximize their
conclusion, while a distinct construct of EI opportunities to fulfil their potential and to minimize
remains debatable; many of the attributes a whole host of risks. Every Child Matters (ECM) is
encompassed by this term do predict that life described as an approach to the well-being of children
success and programmes of socio-emotional and young people. The term well-being is amplified
learning in schools may usefully contribute to in the details of the framework, which specify its aims
the development of these attributes. under five broad themes: be healthy, stay safe, enjoy
and achieve, make a positive contribution and achieve
economic well-being. Inherent in the national targets
specified under each theme is a need to develop the
social and emotional skills of young people and their
Keywords: emotional intelligence; schools; academic
families. The development of government-approved
achievement; socio-emotional learning.
materials for use within schools to support the
development of these skills acknowledges this link
(e.g. Social and Emotional Aspects of Learning, DfES
Introduction 2005). The aims included within the various themes of
the ECM Framework exemplify the recognition of a
This paper aims to review critically the research field of need to develop emotional literacy skills, for example,
emotional intelligence (EI) and to examine its useful- children and young people should be: mentally and
ness for educational policy and practice. The idea of EI emotionally healthy, safe from bullying and discrimi-
(emotional literacy is the preferred term in the United nation, safe from crime and anti-social behaviour,
Kingdom among educationalists) is relatively new to achieve personal and social development, develop self-
the debate on educational policy, but finds reference in confidence and successfully deal with significant life
both UK and US government reports. However, while changes and challenges. All of these aims and more
EI has caught the imagination of educators in both can be linked by the literature to the development of
countries, the research field is not yet very developed. emotional intelligence. Thus, in the United Kingdom,
In this paper, we review UK and US policies that the political context has clear and explicit implications
emphasize EI development, and consider current for the development of emotional intelligence.
definitions of EI and how EI is distinct from other
constructs such as social-cognition, personality and In the United States, too, there has been a recent focus
intelligence. We also discuss some issues surrounding on the needs of children and young people. The No
the reliability and validity of research instruments of EI Child Left Behind Act (NCLB, 2002) represents a
and highlight some common problems with previous commitment to ensure that all children receive a high-
studies on EI and life/academic success. We attempt to quality education. The focus here appears to be
answer the question of why EI should be addressed by narrower than that of the ECM, with the spotlight
educational policy and how the development of EI can very much on schools and education. For example, the
be facilitated by educational practice. NCLB Act provides more funding for schools, flexibility


r 2007 The Authors. Journal compilation r 2007 NAPCE. Published by Blackwell Publishing Ltd., 9600 Garsington Road, Oxford OX4 2DQ, UK and 350 Main Street, Malden MA 02148, USA.
for schools to use a range of resources, parental choice Validity of EI: Unique or Repackaged Construct?
of school for their children, extra help with learning,
improved teacher quality and increased use of scien- There are many similarities between previously in-
tifically proven teaching methods. The focus of the US vestigated constructs, such as emotional development
legislation appears narrower than in the UK, but the and social cognition, and current notions of what
development of EI skills has been linked to effective constitutes components of ability EI in particular. For
learning and achievement and, thus, may be seen as a example, the construct of emotion regulation has been
crucial consideration in meeting the aims of the NCLB the focus of decades of research and shares a likeness
agenda. In light of the potential importance of to the EI construct. While definitions of emotion
emotional literacy skills for both US and UK childrens regulation have varied, Thompson (1994) defines the
related agendas, this paper discusses exactly what we construct as . . . the extrinsic and intrinsic processes
mean by the term emotional intelligence, how we responsible for monitoring, evaluating, and modifying
might measure it, whether there is evidence for an emotional reactions, especially their intensive and
association with effective learning, achievement and temporal features, to accomplish ones goals. . .
coping with lifes challenges, and we consider whether (p. 27). In particular, the higher level EI skills (reflective
we can improve it. regulation of emotion) delineated in Mayer and
Saloveys (1997) ability EI model are consistent with
Theory and Measurement of EI some components of Thompsons definition. Thus,
there are those who argue that the EI construct is not
There is continuing controversy over how to define and unprecedented.
measure EI, and how significant the concept of EI is in
predicting various aspects of life success. Two pre- Further, the ability EI construct encompasses many
dominant perspectives are those adopting an Ability EI ideas that can also be found in the social cognition
and a Trait EI approach (see Petrides and Furnham, literature. For example, within Crick and Dodges
2000, 2001). EI is often characterized as a cognitive (1994) model of social information processing, the
ability involving the cognitive processing of emotional person must understand emotional and social beha-
information. This model treats EI as a traditional viours and have a detailed understanding of which
intelligence that is measured using ability-type tests behaviours they should use in certain situations (based
(Mayer, Caruso and Salovey, 2000). Mayer et al. (2000) on their appraisal of others emotional responses) and
propose a four-branch model of EI encompassing the this is in keeping with the ideas of both trait and ability
following psychological processes: (1) an awareness of EI. Thus, several key features of traditional social
ones own and others emotions and an ability to cognitive theory are components of the models of EI.
monitor emotions and express them appropriately;
(2) an ability to use emotions to facilitate thought and In agreement with Mayer and Salovey (1997), we view
to guide selective attention, for example, adopting emotion regulation as only one component of ability
different emotional states to enable oneself to adopt EI, but we also see social cognition as another key
different perspectives on a painting; (3) an ability to feature. In addition, there are other features of ability
understand emotions, for example, why certain emo- EI that can be found in psychological literature under
tions arise in certain situations and how different other headings, including emotional understanding,
emotions relate to one another and (4) the ability to expression and empathy. Some of these are also found
regulate emotions, for example, knowing how to calm in trait EI theory. Thus, we argue that trait EI, and
oneself and others down following anger or anxiety. ability EI in particular, should be seen as umbrella
terms, encompassing many previously investigated and
An alternative trait approach proposes that EI involves empirically supported psychological constructs.
emotion-related self-perceptions and dispositions lo-
cated at the lower levels of personality hierarchies It is also important to note at this point that there are
(Petrides and Furnham, 2001). Whereas the ability problems surrounding personality and trait EI.
approach is seen as relating to the field of intelligence, Although we discuss this issue below, some discussion
this perspective relates more closely to the field of is warranted here. Davies, Stankov and Roberts (1998)
personality. According to Bar-On (1997), EI is defined claim that trait EI overlaps considerably with estab-
as an array of non-cognitive capabilities, competen- lished personality trait taxonomies such as the Big Five
cies, and skills that influence ones ability to succeed in and argue, using empirical data, that trait EI was
coping with environmental demands and pressures repackaged personality trait theory, lacking in dis-
(p. 14). A trait approach includes facets such as optim- criminant and incremental validity. Similarly, in
ism, happiness, social competence and self-esteem. reviewing some of the literature on trait measures of
EI, Bowman, Markham and Roberts (2001) conclude
Debates over the nature of EI continue and these that . . . EI is simply an old wine (personality) dressed
include the distinctiveness of the EI construct up in a new bottle (EI) (p. 141), questioning the utility
compared with previously investigated psychological of EI in predicting important life outcomes and
constructs, and the distinctiveness of subtypes of EI behaviours. However, as Roberts, Zeidner and Mat-
(trait versus ability). thews (2001) point out, the study by Davies et al. (1998)

12 r 2007 The Authors. Journal compilation r 2007 NAPCE PASTORAL CARE MARCH 2007
used EI instruments that were very much in their and ability EI should be regarded as distinct. Indeed,
infancy with regard to the investigation of psycho- OConnor and Little (2003) and Warwick and Nettel-
metric properties, and thus conclusions based on these beck (2004) supply empirical support for the idea that
measures must be viewed with caution. Since the trait and ability EI are two separate constructs rather
publication of Davies et al.s study, researchers have than simply two different ways of measuring the same
made concerted efforts to address the issue of overlap thing. This raises a difficulty for EI research as authors
between EI and personality, by examining the dis- of self-report EI measures (with the exception of some
criminant and incremental validity of the former. scales, e.g. the TEIQue; Petrides, 2001; Petrides and
However, there appears to be little consistency in the Furnham, 2006) appear to reject trait EI theory and
findings, with results varying as a function of the trait argue that their questionnaires are able to measure
EI measure used. For example, Saklofske, Austin and abilities, competencies and skills (Perez, Petrides and
Minski (2003) reviewed three studies (Schutte, Malouff, Furnham, 2005). This perspective creates a major
Hall, Haggerty, Cooper, Golden and Dornheim, 1998; difficulty for interpreting the findings of EI research
Dawda and Hart, 2000; Petrides and Furnham, 2001) when the self-report measures are used.
and concluded that trait EI measures usually correlate
largely and significantly with Extraversion (E) and There are obvious differences between the ability and
Neuroticism (N; correlations with E are positive and dispositional approaches to the study of EI. For
correlations with N are negative), while Openness (O), example, because trait EI is conceptualized as a non-
Agreeableness (A) and Conscientiousness (C) all show cognitive capability (Bar-On, 1997; Petrides and Furn-
smaller significant positive correlations. However, on ham, 2001; Saklofske et al., 2003), there are only weak
close examination of the three studies that Saklofske or non-significant associations between measures of
et al. (2003) reviewed, it is still apparent that there is trait EI and intelligence (Newsome, Day and Catano,
little consistency in the findings, possibly due to the 2000; Derksen, Kramer and Katzko, 2002; Saklofske
use of different self-report measures to assess trait EI. et al., 2003; Zeng and Miller, 2003). This contrasts with
However, if the use of different self-report instruments findings of a positive, although still relatively weak,
was the sole reason for such inconsistency, one would association between ability EI and measures of crystal-
expect similar correlations between EI and personality in lized intelligence (Mayer, Salovey and Caruso, 1999;
any study using the same self-report EI instrument; yet, Roberts et al., 2001; MacCann, Matthews, Zeidner and
this is not the case (e.g. Dawda and Hart, 2000; Petrides Roberts, 2003) and verbal IQ (Mayer et al., 1999;
and Furnham, 2001). More recent research (Brackett and Barchard and Hakstian, 2004). Notably, Mayer and
Mayer, 2003; Warwick and Nettelbeck, 2004; Austin, Salovey (1997) argue that although ability EI is
Saklofske and Egan, 2005; Gannon and Ranzijn, 2005) correlated with other intelligences, the correlation is
has also produced inconsistent findings, with the signi- not so strong as to suggest that the two are measures
ficance and magnitude of correlations varying consider- of the same thing.
ably. Thus, the debate concerning whether trait EI is a
repackaged personality trait is ongoing. Trait EI has been found to correlate with measures of
personality (see Saklofske et al., 2003, for a review); this
The relationship between personality and ability EI is not the case for ability EI (Roberts et al., 2001; Lopes,
measures such as the MSCEIT appears to be of much Salovey and Straus, 2003). The relationships between
less concern, mainly because studies generally find low trait EI and personality traits raise questions regarding
or non-significant correlations between the two. The the distinctiveness of trait EI from the personality
distinctiveness of ability EI (as measured by the domain, which we discussed to some extent earlier. To
MSCEIT) from personality certainly appears to be a recap, the main ideas are if trait EI is no more than a
robust finding. repackaging of well-established personality traits
then it is unlikely to be a useful tool in individual
Given the lack of empirical evidence for distinctiveness differences research (Saklofske et al., 2003: p. 712).
between trait EI and personality, we must also question These problems are also commented on by Mayer and
whether ability EI, given that it is viewed as a Cobb (2000), who argue that trait EI seems to be a
psychometrically legitimate intelligence, is moderately catchall phrase that includes anything involving
correlating with other intelligences such as general motivation, emotion and good character. Nevertheless,
intelligence (g). We must remember that the theorizing there is considerable support from these correlational
would predict that ability EI will not correlate too studies for the notion of two different types of EI. Thus,
highly with general intelligence so as to render EI it is important for educators to be clear about which
redundant. It is clear from the literature, we note in the type of EI they are working with: are they trying to
next section, that ability EI and trait EI are independent develop specific cognitive abilities in their pupils, or are
from cognitive ability. they more interested in facilitating the development of
particular self-perceptions? It may be unlikely that one
Trait versus Ability EI Distinction type of EI can be increased without increasing the
other. Nevertheless, useful evaluation of the success of
Recent work (Petrides and Furnham, 2000, 2001) educational interventions can only be implemented if
provides theoretical arguments suggesting that trait the measures used relate to the model of EI adopted.

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Measurement poses another problem. Researchers condemned the notion of ability EI (e.g. Eysenck, 1998;
adopting the different theoretical positions have Brody, 2004). However, there does seem to be suf-
produced commercially available assessment measures ficient evidence to support the proposition that trait EI
for older adolescents and adults [MayerSalovey and ability EI are distinct from each other, although
Caruso Emotional Intelligence Test (MSCEIT, 2000, interestingly they do predict life success in similar
formally the MEIS), an ability measure; Bar-On ways.
Emotional Quotient Inventory (EQ-i, 1997), a trait
measure]. The technical manuals for these instruments
provide data to support their reliability and validity. Emotional Intelligence, Life Success and Academic
However, research has failed to support the factor Achievement
structure of the EQ-i and some argue that the claims
made by Bar-On in the technical manual are mislead- There is now accumulating research that shows
ing (Palmer, Manocha, Gignac and Stough, 2003). relationships between EI (trait and ability) and later
Similarly, although evidence for the factor structure of life success, indicated by a diversity of outcome
the four-branch model of ability EI is mounting (Day measures including academic achievement among
and Carroll, 2004; for review, see Mayer, Salovey, adolescence and adults. Please note that few studies
Caruso and Sitarenios, 2003), there are researchers have been conducted with primary-aged children
(Matthews, Zeidner and Roberts, 2002; MacCann et al., (those younger than 12) because of a lack of suitable
2003) who have criticized its construct validity. measurement tools for this age group.

Bar-On has also developed an instrument for use with Regarding life success, from an ability perspective,
children aged 718 (EQ-i-YV), and a youth version of school children and adolescents who score high on EI
the MSCEIT, the Adolescent Multifactor Emotional (using the MEIS) are rated by their peers as less
Intelligence Scale (AMEIS; Salovey, Mayer and Caruso, aggressive and more prosocial (Rubin, 1999), are seen
2002) has been designed for 1017-year-olds, but as more empathic (Ciarrochi, Chan and Chaputi, 2000)
is only available to academic researchers. Surprisingly, and are less likely to engage in tobacco and alcohol
little research has been conducted using either of these consumption (Trinidad and Johnson, 2002; Trinidad,
measures. Unger, Chou and Anderson Johnson, 2004).

In 1998, Schutte et al. (1998) developed a freely Researchers adopting the trait approach to the study of
available questionnaire [Schutte Self Report Inventory EI have found that adolescents with high trait EI are
(SSRI)] for use with older adolescents and adults. It has happier than those with low trait EI (Furnham and
also been successfully used with young adolescents Petrides, 2003), cope better with transition to high
(Ciarrochi, Chan and Bajgar, 2001). The questionnaire school (Qualter, Whiteley, Hutchinson and Pope, in
was derived from the Salovey and Mayer (1990) model press), and are less likely to have had unauthorized
of EI, but is often referred to as a measure of trait EI absences or have been excluded from school even after
because it relies upon self-perceptions of ability controlling for personality (Petrides, Fredrickson and
(MacCann et al., 2003). Furnham, 2004). There is also evidence to show that
trait EI moderates the link between stress and mental
There has been speculation regarding the psychometric health, particularly depression, hopelessness and
properties of the SSRI. Despite reports of good internal suicidal ideation (Ciarrochi, Deane and Anderson,
reliability for overall EI (Schutte et al., 1998; Schutte, 2002). In addition, low trait EI has been linked to low
Malouff, Bobik, Coston, Greeson, Jedlicka, Rhodes and self-esteem (Salovey, Stroud, Woolery and Epel, 2002),
Wendorf, 2001; Schutte, Malouff, Simunek, Mckenley anxiety (Summerfeldt, Kloosterman, Antony and Par-
and Hollander, 2002; Saklofske et al., 2003), Austin, ker, 2006), poor impulse control (Schutte et al., 1998)
Saklofske, Huang and McKenney (2004) note that the and greater alcohol and drug-related problems (Riley
inconsistency in factor structure of the scale suggests and Schutte, 2003). Conversely, high EI has been
that further development work needs to be conducted theoretically linked to increased satisfaction with life
on the measure. (Palmer, Donaldson and Stough, 2002; Bastian, Burns
and Nettelbeck, 2005; Livingstone and Day, 2005;
Whether or not trait EI is distinct from personality, and Gignac, 2006).
ability EI different from general intelligence, remains in
question. Also, it would be wrong to suggest that trait Further support for a link between EI and life success is
EI and ability EI are in the same stage of development provided by research looking at EI and measures
and underpinned by similarly large and robust find- relating to a range of social factors. There is evidence
ings. All of the ability EI data in this review come from that trait and ability EI are strongly related to measures
a single test (MSCEIT), which, unlike any other of social adjustment in older adolescents and adults
cognitive ability test, comprises items and tasks that (Schutte et al., 2001; Lopes et al., 2003; Saklofske et al.,
are difficult to score because of a lack of agreed 2003; Engelberg and Sjoberg, 2004; Chapman and
consensus. This is one of the reasons why cogni- Hayslip, 2005), with those low on EI scoring higher on
tive ability researchers have either ignored or even loneliness and depression than their peers. For older

14 r 2007 The Authors. Journal compilation r 2007 NAPCE PASTORAL CARE MARCH 2007
adolescents and adults, ability and trait EI are positively numerous different conceptualizations of EI, thus
correlated with actual (observed) and perceived (self- influencing results obtained. For example, the predic-
reported) friendship quality (Lopes et al., 2003; Brack- tion of academic success may be enhanced using
ett, Mayer and Warner, 2004; Lopes, Brackett, Nezlek, measures such as the EQ-i when compared with the
Schutz, Sellin and Salovey, 2004), perceived quality of SSRI, as the former assesses a much larger number of
interaction with the opposite sex (Lopes et al., 2004) components that may be relevant to academic success.
and perceived quality of romantic relationships (Brack- Furthermore, results using instruments such as the
ett, Warner and Bosco, 2005). Given that traditional EQ-i should be interpreted with caution, as such
constructs of intelligence do not usually predict life measures arguably assess facets that are potential
success (see Reiff, Hatzes, Bramel and Gibbon, 2001), correlates as opposed to components of EI, for
these findings demonstrate the importance of the EI example, optimism, happiness. Evidence supporting
construct. the reliability and validity of the EI measure and
whether psychometric properties have been replicated
More importantly, perhaps, for teachers and educators, across diverse population samples should also be
EI has been viewed to be important in predicting considered. Finally, academics should be especially
academic success. However, some studies have found aware of the issues surrounding incremental validity of
that EI is not a strong predictor of academic achieve- EI in predicting academic success over and above IQ.
ment regardless of whether ability or trait EI measures Many research studies either have not looked at IQ as a
are used (Newsome et al., 2000; OConnor Jr. and covariate or when they have, the variance of the EI
Little, 2003; Woitaszewski and Aalsma, 2004). Others factor either does not outperform IQ or works with it to
(Petrides et al., 2004) have found that trait EI, while predict outcome (Petrides et al., 2004). Indeed,
having no influence on Maths and Science perfor- Barchard (2003) argues that although EI (measured
mance, moderates the effects of IQ on English and via trait and ability measures) is associated with
overall GCSE performance (the principal means of academic success, cognitive ability and the personality
assessing pupil attainment at the end of compulsory domain are better at predicting it.
education at 16 years in the United Kingdom).
Can We Teach Emotional Intelligence?
It is perhaps unlikely that broadly defined EI will pre-
dict general academic success, but instead, that specific Given that both trait and ability EI have been linked to
traits and/or abilities may be important. Research life success, it is critical for educators to know whether
supports this view, as trait EI dimensions (intraperson- EI can be changed and how it might develop as it will
al abilities, adaptability and stress management) have undoubtedly fall to them to introduce its education into
been shown to predict academic success among the curriculum. There is currently little research
university students (Lam and Kirby, 2002; Parker, addressing the developmental determinants of EI
Summerfeldt, Hogan and Majeski, 2004b) and among specifically, although there is a plethora of research
younger adolescents (Parker, Creque, Barnhart, Harris, (e.g. Fox, 1994) pertaining to the emotional develop-
Majeski, Wood, Bond and Hogan, 2004a). ment of children. Also, there have been recent
discussions among those in the EI field about how EI
Although there is clear evidence indicating the impor- develops (e.g. Matthews et al., 2002; Zeidner, Roberts
tance of both ability and trait EI for success in life, and Matthews, 2002; Arsenio, 2003; Fox, 2003;
professionals must consider the findings in light of the Matthews, Roberts and Zeidner, 2003).
methodological limitations evident in many of these
studies. For example, potentially confounding variables Early definitions of aspects of emotional development
(e.g. demographic variables, personality, IQ) are often differ from current notions of what constitutes
not controlled for; the use of cross-sectional studies components of EI, but there are many similarities
precludes conclusions regarding the implications of EI between previously investigated aspects of emotional
for future life successes; effect sizes for primary development and EI, enabling researchers to draw
outcomes are often not presented to permit the assess- upon these earlier studies in discussions of the
ment of stability of results across samples, designs and development and stability of EI. Harris (1999) has
analyses (Wilkinson and Task Force on Statistical highlighted the importance of social factors such as
Inference, 1999); and the reliance on convenience attachment status and psychological discourse in the
samples of university students reveals little about the development of childrens emotional understanding;
implications of EI for life/academic success during Scharfe (2000) reports a number of studies (e.g.
critical periods throughout early development and at Malatesta, Culver, Tesman and Shepard, 1989; Mala-
different ages and stages of cognitive maturation. testa-Magai, Leak, Tesman, Shepard, Culver and
Smaggia, 1994) to suggest that the capacity to express
Professionals should also consider findings in light of emotions is affected by maternal expressivity beha-
the EI construct being measured as coverage of primary viour, and researchers such as Cassidy (1994) have
EI components varies across measures. The measures asserted that there is ample evidence suggesting
available to assess trait EI greatly outnumber those that that infant/child temperament, which is to some
assess ability EI, with the former being based on extent determined by genetic factors, determines the

PASTORAL CARE MARCH 2007 r 2007 The Authors. Journal compilation r 2007 NAPCE 15
development (and stability) of differences in the ability included in the school curriculum. These educators
to regulate emotion. have argued that EI can be seen to underlie socio-
emotional learning, which, in essence, is the teaching
In addition to these earlier studies on emotional of social skills and emotional knowledge (Elias, Arnold
development, some recent studies have directly exam- and Steiger-Hussey, 2003; Weare, 2004) so that the
ined how EI might develop. Findings by Jausovec, child becomes more socially competent. We argue
Jausovec and Gerlic (2001) support a genetic compo- elsewhere in this paper that EI is an umbrella term that
nent of EI, as evidenced by different brain activity certainly includes social-cognition, so we would agree
patterns between high EI and average EI individuals. In that the teaching of social cognitive skills will help
support of the influence of family environment on the develop specific aspects of EI. The social-information
development of EI, Tiwari and Srivastava (2004) found processing model, on which most successful pro-
a positive relationship between EI (as assessed by an grammes of socio-emotional learning are based, states
abridged version of the SSRI, a trait EI measure) and that variations in social competence stem from
perceived environmental quality of home and school, differences in the way that children: (1) construe the
for example, living/working area, noise, support by purposes of peer interactions and relationships (in-
parents/teacher, using an Indian sample of school cluding the interpretation of ones feelings about
children. Whether these findings transfer across relationships and the interpretation of other peoples
different cultures is yet to be determined, but what reasons for the social encounter); (2) process informa-
does seem clear is that EI develops as a result of both tion that is present in interpersonal encounters (thus
genetics and life experiences. relying on a childs ability to read their own and other
peoples emotions/non-verbal behaviour) and (3) think
Thus, biological and social influences that influence about themselves, peers and social situations (see
ones EI include: (1) the maturation of the neurological Dodge, 1986; Ladd and Mize, 1986; Rubin and
inhibitory system, which will facilitate the development Krasnor, 1986). Thus, the programmes of socio-
of emotion regulation (Fox, 1994); (2) the influence of emotional learning based on the social-information
the childs temperament on vulnerability to emotional processing model focus on interpersonal cognitions
difficulties (Zeidner, Matthews, Roberts and McCann, (what children think about their peers and how they
2003) and (3) the mediating influences of parental interpret their actions during social interactions) and
interaction on the development of emotional vocabulary intrapersonal cognitions (how children conceived their
and understanding of emotions. Zeidner et al. (2002) own emotions in response to social interactions and
also discuss the possibility of a geneenvironment their actual social skills). So, we can see that because
interaction, whereby genes may influence which envir- ability EI is an umbrella term including social cognitive
onments best foster the development of EI in the child. skills, the teaching of ability EI fits with the teaching
of socio-emotional skills when discussed within the
Determining how EI develops is complicated by the social-information-processing framework (Crick and
delineation of EI as either an ability or trait. For Dodge, 1994), and there is evidence from the United
example, it has been suggested that temperament may States that aspects of socio-emotional learning that are
be more predictive of trait EI models due to its based on this model can be added to the curriculum
relationship with personality (Zeidner et al., 2003). and can have direct effects on the number of successful
Conversely, genetically determined individual differ- social encounters, and the way children manage their
ences (e.g. varying patterns in brain activity) may be a social interactions and emotional worlds (Greenberg,
key developmental pathway for ability EI. If the Kusche, Cook and Quamma, 1995; Battistich, Schaps,
hypothesizing is correct that trait and ability EI co- Watson and Soloman, 1996; Battistich, Soloman,
exist as self-perceived abilities and actual cognitive Watson and Schaps, 1997; Aber, Jones, Brown,
abilities, respectively, the environment, too, will be Chaudry and Samples, 1998). Thus, interventions that
implicated in the development of both types of EI. For help children and adolescents develop socio-emotional
example, in the context of the ability EI framework, skills are likely to have the desired effect of increasing
where actual skills are involved, we would expect these ability EI and hence life success (academic success, life
to be taught within the family and school environment. satisfaction and success in social relationships).
However, trait EI is about a persons perceptions of their
EI and so it involves an individuals own views about Cobb and Mayer (2000) argue that while socio-
their use of EI skills; these views will be influenced emotional learning programmes contain elements
directly by self-beliefs, which will be affected by based on both the ability and trait (Cobb and Mayer
environmental influences and experience. Thus, the refer to these as mixed models) models, such
environment may directly affect trait EI through programmes are most compatible with the trait model.
pathways to self-esteem; ability EI, by contrast, is We disagree here and think that the programmes Cobb
affected directly by the teaching of EI skills to do with and Mayer are referring to are those socio-emotional
perception and management of emotions. programmes that emphasize the development of self-
worth rather than, or as well as, socio-cognitive skills.
Despite the lack of evidence for how EI develops, there We propose that programmes focused on self-worth
are those who argue that its teaching needs to be development are likely to be successful at trait EI

16 r 2007 The Authors. Journal compilation r 2007 NAPCE PASTORAL CARE MARCH 2007
development because of their emphasis on challeng- Nevertheless, it is important to remember that there
ing self-beliefs; interventions that emphasize socio- are problems with the current conceptualization of EI.
cognitive and interactional skills based on the social- Even though there are theoretical and statistical
information processing model are likely to aid in the arguments suggesting that trait and ability EI should
development of ability EI. Thus, we would like to be seen as two separate constructs, this argument is
recommend that either the ability or trait model form likely to continue, given recent evidence that trait and
the conceptual basis of EI programmes, but one must ability EI predict similar life successes. Certainly,
be clear about what one hopes to achieve from additional studies are needed to examine the validity
intervention. There must also be an emphasis on using of ability and trait EI models and their incremental
reliable and valid assessment of programme outcomes, validity for predicting human performance in a variety
which we discussed earlier in this paper. of settings (e.g. academic, social, occupational and
Other Guidelines for the Development,
Education policy makers in the United States and
Implementation and Evaluation of EI Intervention
United Kingdom appear to have rushed to embrace
emotional intelligence, without considering the scien-
Zeidner et al. (2002) proposed a number of guidelines
tific basis of this work. The policies are well-meaning
regarding the development, implementation and eva-
and often executed through promising curricula
luation of programmes designed to address EI in
devoted to socio-emotional learning. However, it has
schools. These include: the need to consider the
been unclear how the policies relate to models of EI.
context in which these programmes should be
Mayer and Cobb (2000) highlight serious problems at
implemented; the integration of programmes into the
their time of writing with policy in the United States
school curriculum; the need to ensure that acquired
not being linked to science. More importantly, they
skills are transferable to other contexts; and the
argued that the policies seemed to have been based on
preparation of those involved (e.g. teachers) in
popularizations of a new area of research that was still
implementing the programmes. While many of these
developing its most basic ideas. Since Mayer and
guidelines are indisputable, whether an EI curriculum
Cobbs article, the research field has moved on and
or intervention based on a trait or ability conceptua-
there are now studies linking ability and trait EI to
lization of EI is the best way forward is a matter that
mental health, social skills and school success. Thus,
remains to be addressed by scientific investigation.
there is now some scientific evidence to back the
However, educators are unlikely to wait until the
policies being implemented in both the United States
scientific community has completed its studies, as they
and United Kingdom.
will want to introduce programmes into schools with
the hope that they might have some beneficial effects.
Nevertheless, there is still one important issue to be
It is up to researchers in education and psychology to
considered. Some US policy makers have implied that
make sure that such programmes become part of the
being emotionally intelligent is about being a good
scientific investigation by making sure the interven-
citizen and Mayer and Cobb argue that the self-report
tions are rigorously evaluated, in relation to the
measures of EI have joined in this search for an all-
different models of EI.
good character. However, Mayer and Cobb point out
that EI is not always about being positive; rather,
Conclusions among other things, it is about getting to grips with
the necessity to cope with, and often fight against, the
There is undoubtedly evidence identifying EI as impoverished side of life (p. 177). The importance of
important in predicting personal and school success, not falling into the trap of seeing EI in terms of good
and this has potential implications for both the US and character is further highlighted by research literature
UK childrens-related agendas. However, educators on Theory of Mind and bullying. Here, it has been
need to be cautious in making claims until more evidenced that people can use their skills in under-
research evidence is available from the scientific standing others to manipulate situations and that a
community. As the concept of EI becomes better good grasp of mental states and emotions of others
understood, it is likely that it will become integrated could be particularly useful in certain kinds of bullying
into educational policy in particular ways. For example, such as spreading rumours and social exclusion
it looks likely that aspects of socio-emotional skills can (Sutton, Smith and Swettenham, 1999a, b; Sutton
be taught, but with increased understanding of both and Keogh, 2000). These ideas represent a challenge to
trait and ability EI, it is likely that researchers will be people working in the field of emotional intelligence,
able to recommend particular teaching approaches to but are also a warning to educators.
help develop key aspects of each EI model. At the
moment, then, the emphasis is on self-worth devel-
opment (trait EI emphasis) and the teaching of socio-
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