DiFabio, R. & Palazzeschi, L. (2009). An in-depth look at scholastic success: Fluid intelligence, personality traits or emotional intelligence? Personality and Individual Differences, 49 (2009) 581 585.
I must confess I am a fan of the construct of emotional intelligence because it bridges the sometimes artificial divide between cognition and affect. It provides a useful framework for understanding the interaction of cognition and affect. Emotions not only influence how we think but also what we think about, which makes them even more powerful than most people would acknowledge.Technorati Tags: psychology, personality, school psychology, education, educational psychology, neuropsychology, emotional intelligence, EI, IQ, Gf.fluid intelligence, IQs Corner
Di Fabio and Palazzeschi’s study is an attempt to validate emotional intelligence as a predictor of school success (teacher rated GPA). Their sample was drawn from senior high school students (mostly girls) in Tuscany. They examined the influence of fluid intelligence (Gf) (Raven’s Advanced Progressive Matrices); personality (Eysenck Personality Questionnaire – Extraversion; Neuroticism & Psychoticism) and two measures of emotional intelligence, one trait based (BarOn Emotional Quotient Inventory - EQi) and the other ability based (Mayer Salovey Caruso Emotional Intelligence Test - MSCEIT) on school success as measured by GPA.
Their results show that emotional intelligence added incremental validity over both fluid intelligence (Gf) and personality as predictors of school success, especially ability based emotional intelligence, with the skill of managing emotions working the best.
Some studies with adults using different outcome measures, such as business success, have also shown the positive predictive power of ability based emotional intelligence, and of managing emotions.
The work of Mark Brackett at Yale also supports the contention that emotional intelligence can contribute to school academic success. Students who undertook a program he designed, achieved higher grades than those who didn’t. He is currently involved in a large, school district wide training program in the UK.
Many school psychologists are involved in whole school, evidence-based, primary prevention programs, but most of these programs have a mental health focus. Programs based on ability based emotional intelligence theory have the added advantage of also improving school grades, something all us wholeheartedly support. School psychologists might also consider a measure of ability based emotional intelligence, as part of an assessment of academic difficulties. Multi Health Systems (MHS), publishers of the MSCEIT has an adolescent version currently in development.