Wednesday 9 December 2015

Multiple emotional intelligence


Although it is fashionable to denigrate conventional intelligence, or at least to doubt that it is capable of being measured accurately, there is a concomitant willingness to believe that multiple intelligence or emotional intelligence are the very real answers to all questions about job performance.

Multiple intelligence is a marketing triumph: it is the sketch of an idea, vague, hard to operationalize, difficult to test, and largely without any empirical support, and thus very popular, particularly among educationalists. It always gets a mention in psychology text books, on the basis that any comforting notion deserves favour. Lack real intelligence? Compensate with multiple intelligence! Since we do not have reliable measurements there is little more we can say about it.

Emotional intelligence is another marketing triumph: it conflates personality with the perception of emotion, the latter being difficult but possible to test, and has some empirical support. The proponents have worked hard to create a psychometric test and to collect data. They point out that they are not just testing personality again, but working on the specific issue of assessing whether there is a specific mental skill involved in understanding the emotions of others. There are such skills.

The big question is: what do these fashionable assessments add to the tried, tested, and widely validated measures of general mental ability? To answer this question we need to consult the Oracle: Jack Hunter, Frank Schmidt and co-workers.

The Validity and Utility of Selection Methods in Personnel Psychology: Practical and Theoretical Implications of 95 Years of Research Findings. (see below)

We also need to look at some methodological issues, and one source is: Oh, I-S., Postlethwaite, B. E., & Schmidt, F. L. (2013). Re-thinking the validity of unstructured interviews: Implications of recent developments in meta-analysis. In D. J. Svyantek, & K. Mahoney (Eds.), Received wisdom, kernels of truth, and boundary conditions in organizational studies. Charlotte, NC: Information Age Publishing. Pp 297 – 329.

This group have established a reputation for careful and very detailed work, such that their procedures have set the standards of best practice. In that spirit, here are some problems with using job selection tests to predict ability to do the job. Those who have already got the job in question are brighter than the applicants, and the incumbents not only have a higher mean but a small standard deviation. They are The Right Stuff, selected within a narrow band of capability (small standard deviation), whereas applicants have a broader range of capability. The predictive power of the test is weakened by this biasing effect of range restriction, and needs to be corrected by disattenuation, and the technique must cover direct and indirect effects.

For example, those who are offered the job probably tick all the boxes: bright, personable, and with experience. Using only a cutoff score on a mental ability test gets one of the criteria, but misses the other two. The correction for direct effects misses some indirect effects.  Furthermore, the brightest and best candidates may get several offers. They may turn down the job in question for a better one, which complicates a simple analysis because a very bright candidate will be registered in the records as “did not get appointed to job” simply because they took up a better option elsewhere.

A technically advanced IRR solution, tested against Monte Carlo simulations provides the best estimate (Hunter et al. 2006) and shows that general mental ability is a better predictor than formerly stated by about 25% in that correlations rise from 0.51 to 0.68.

Hunter, J.E., Schmidt, F.L., & Le, H. (2006). Implications of direct and indirect range restriction for meta-analysis methods and findings. Journal of Applied Psychology, 91, 594 – 612.

Two little asides here: having been properly selected for general mental ability those who have a particular job will not be very easily distinguishable one from another on the basis of a general intelligence test. Intelligence will seem to have “disappeared” because it was the basis of selection, and all that will be left visible will be personality and experience differences. Second observation: job applicants self-select to some degree, so the standard deviation and mean of applicants will probably be higher than that of the general population, and not as low and wide as that general population, so another source of restriction of range, and possible cause of under-estimation of the predictive power of intelligence will have been missed.

Anyway, let us look at a talk given by Frank Schmidt on selection methods for job performance.


Start at the top to find out what works, or at the bottom to see what doesn’t. General Mental Ability is king of the castle, and all else lies in its shadow. Tests of integrity make useful contributions, as do employment interviews, measures of conscientiousness, checks of references, background data and job experience. In the 1% gain category are Years of Education, Interests, Emotional Intelligence, Grade Point Average and Organisation Fit.

If you want to make valid choices without wasting too much time and effort, avoid overlapping predictors and go for those that make useful independent contributions, as shown below:


Remember, a weak predictor can still make a contribution if it provides something not covered by the generally more powerful ones. However, emotional intelligence is not on the list.

Jobs are given to those who can show ability, honesty, conscientiousness, proper references, education and job experience, the respect of their peers, and emotional stability.  According to your tastes this is very dull, or highly reassuring.

Now let me tell you about the multiplicity of my gastro-intestinal intelligence.


  1. Nope mister Turtle or babidi. Is not the dichotomy model " water versus oil". Human intelligence as well every complex and not complex species or beings interact multidimensionally with surround environment. Then make all sense that intelligence can be divided like a pizza graphic. We interact and understand ( or not ) reality via cognition ( and their corresponding complexity), emotion, musically ( and not just doing music but by hearing world ), interpersonal, intrapersonal ( one of the most important ). Intelligence can be unified and divided and both situations are right, but the second look more intimate, specified, than put everyone in the same packet- General intelligence). Intelligence is like a mechanic dispositive, to understand how work you need open its structure.

    Generally, people of psycho-logy mistakes social intelligence with emotional intelligence And
    And as you guys also to do, they believe that just a one type of intelligence can explain a social complexity while social and cognitive factor interaction explain much better why some people just seems to born to be successful and others not.


  2. You're are mistaking ''g'' with ''general intelligence''. ''G'' is fundamentally pattern recognition, the basis, the structure-skull of ''intelligence'', behavior in general. Of course, higher intelligence(s) is (are) a evolution of this pattern recognition but it's not just, for jewsus kraist, answer ''logical' questions in a white paper.


  3. Fascinating stuff, Dr T. I am interested to learn that there is a test for "integrity". Presumably if you fail it you can always go into politics or journalism. Or being a Vice-Chancellor.

    I'm also interested to learn (Table 1) that there is substantial merit in unstructured interviews: a million years ago we were instructed that this was not the case. Tell me, why is Table 1 about 'job performance', and Table 2 about 'training performance'?

    In Table 2 the two types of interviews have been collapsed into one; is that explained by your point about measures that are highly correlated? I wonder what the desirable characteristics of a good job interviewer are.

    I am struck by the irrelevance of experience - really, in what sorts of jobs?

    Can you give us a summary of what matters in 'Biographical data' and 'interests'?

    Anyway thank you for this: much appreciated.

    1. Thanks. Findings on interviews a little complicated, with both structured and unstructured in contention. Key thing is whether the interviewee is really pushed to perform by a questioning interviewer. reference list

  4. Re: the ongoing infatuation with multiple intelligences and with emotional intelligence, as opposed to measurable cognition and personality - "human kind cannot bear very much reality" (Eliot).

    1. Ah, Paolo, if you had attended a good British school, you'd know that one always refers to Eliot as "toilets". Well, my school anyway.

  5. Interviewing the referees - an anecdote

    I have written scores of honest (but necessarily incomplete) references over the years, maybe hundreds; so I know how minimally-helpful references are - given the modern constraints on the procedure (references must be provided on demand, there is no confidentiality, negative comments are taboo etc.).

    But one reference I wrote for a colleague who was applying for an important but entry-level job with an international management consultant/ financial advice firm stood out from the others.

    The appointment was supervised by a 'head hunter' (clearly a very smart and well informed cookie) who phoned me to interview me, line by line, on the reference I had provided; along the lines of "You say he is exceptionally intelligent - how did you reach that conclusion? You said he was reliable - why did you say that?".

    And so on.

    After being grilled for about twenty minutes; I thought I was off the hook - But No! A few days later I had another call during which the head hunter had been checking on my responses and thinking of further questions...

    I'm pleased to say the chap I referenced got the job, so presumably I passed *my* interview.

    But my point is NOT that this is how all jobs should be filled - clearly that is ridiculously impossible; but that this was an example of how to evaluate people for really important jobs, when the people making the appointment are serious about finding someone who is going to be good - and will not mess up and lose millions of dollars.

    My strong impression is that the appointment process for the most senior academics in major universities is, by contrast, much, *much* less rigorous!

    1. Sounds a very good head hunter. Academic interviews are strengthened by the simple requirement that the candidates each give a departmental seminar. That polishes off a large number of unsuitable people, particularly if some teaching is required in their post.

    2. My strong impression is that you are a pathological liar!! ;)


    3. Santoccult is very delusional, a psychotic patient (schizophrenia).

    4. I feel truly pit for this real psychotic patients. Your supposed saviors (sychoartict) are human beasts!!

    5. Fragmented thinking - signs of schizophrenia.

      Dr. Thompson should refer this patient to psychiatrist. Most bloggers have ban this patient from his delusional comments. It is inhumane to let patient run wild.

  6. I wont link it, but colleagues and I have a paper looking at management education textbooks (specifically, organizational behavior). EQ is mentioned far more frequently than is IQ. And, when IQ is referenced, it's often just to criticize it.

    We call IQ the "somebody else's problem" in management education...

  7. What tests of integrity do you recommend? I've hired brilliant people lacking integrity before, and need improved hiring methods in the future.

  8. Could it be that the method of measuring ‘emotional intelligence (EI)’ is of importance, i.e. self report questionnaires vs. actual testing with items that can be given a score? I recently had a blog post on some interesting work from Australia that was published last year (, where the paper can be downloaded and a videotaped lecture can be accessed.

    The authors found that their measure of EI fits well into standard models of intelligence as a second stratum factor. From this perspective, controlling for intelligence will strongly attenuate the predictive validity of EI and make it look unimportant. Taking EI into the hierarchical structure of intelligence will instead make it a valuable indicator of Spearman’s g (what a provoking thouhgt!).

    MacCann, Carolyn; Joseph, Dana L.; Newman, Daniel A.; Roberts, Richard D. Emotional intelligence is a second-stratum factor of intelligence : Evidence from hierarchical and bifactor models. Emotion, Vol 14(2), Apr 2014, 358-374.

    This article examines the status of emotional intelligence (EI) within the structure of human cognitive abilities. To evaluate whether EI is a 2nd-stratum factor of intelligence, data were fit to a series of structural models involving 3 indicators each for fluid intelligence, crystallized intelligence, quantitative reasoning, visual processing, and broad retrieval ability, as well as 2 indicators each for emotion perception, emotion understanding, and emotion management. Unidimensional, multidimensional, hierarchical, and bifactor solutions were estimated in a sample of 688 college and community college students. Results suggest adequate fit for 2 models: (a) an oblique 8-factor model (with 5 traditional cognitive ability factors and 3 EI factors) and (b) a hierarchical solution (with cognitive g at the highest level and EI representing a 2nd-stratum factor that loads onto g at λ = .80). The acceptable relative fit of the hierarchical model confirms the notion that EI is a group factor of cognitive ability, marking the expression of intelligence in the emotion domain. The discussion proposes a possible expansion of Cattell-Horn-Carroll theory to include EI as a 2nd-stratum factor of similar standing to factors such as fluid intelligence and visual processing.

  9. Fascinating. I will look at this in more detail. At first glance the sample size looks a bit low for 3 indicators of 5 and 3 indicators of 3 tests. Far too low for 24 tests, I think

  10. I'm quite surprised about the latest finding on unstructured interviews; it would change what has been teaching and practicing in school and workplace. May I know if this Schmidt's article has been published already? Thanks.

  11. Quite impressive this article offers some great points on how to develop and stay active in case of emotional intelligence. We can understand the human nature is full of feelings and emotions and therefore we can easily trusted, follow, get cheated and many others. But it is really fair to say that we should also maintain a good intelligence to deal with these parts of life in both professional and personal.
    Personal Coach

  12. Emotional Intelligence the term introduced twenty year back has started gaining its due importance nowadays. EQ has emerged as major job skill which many companies are looking for in their employees while hiring rather than IQ. According to a research people with low EQ doesn’t realize what important skills they lack. The people with high EQ are emotionally strong and work while keeping their emotions aside. There are many benefits of working with people high EQ rather than with low EQ, as people people with high EQ can handle pressure in a healthy way , understands to cooperate with others, are the good listeners, are Empathic, set examples for others to follow, make more thoughtful and thorough decision. Working with people with less EQ is generally less rewarding sometimes becomes difficult to work with them. Certain ways have to be followed while handling people with Low EQ. Alan Garvornik who is a successful business leader, innovator and entrepreneur with over 32 years of real life, hands on experience in achieving results has provided evidence-based recommendations for managing that situation when you are working with people having Low EQ.