4th Annual Scholarship (April 2003)
made to Dr. Elizabeth Austin from Scotland
on the subject of Emotional intelligence and emotional information processing
Report Abstract (430 words):
The relationships amongst emotional intelligence (EI) assessed by questionnaire (trait EI), psychometric intelligence, performance on tasks in which emotional information is processed and performance on non-emotional tasks were studied. In Study 1, 95 participants completed two trait EI measures and also performed several inspection time (IT) tasks involving the processing of both emotional and non-emotional information. An unspeeded emotion-recognition task and an assessment of fluid ability (Raven's matrices) were also included. In Study 2, 50 participants completed an emotion-recognition IT task, a trait EI measure, a verbal ability test (Mill Hill Vocabulary Scale) and the Levels of Emotional Awareness Scale (LEAS), which requires the verbal description of the emotions of oneself and another person in a number of situations.
In Study 1, factor analysis showed that the associations amongst emotion task performance, non-emotion task performance and Raven's score can be accounted for by two correlated factors: a 'speed' factor with high loadings from non-emotional IT task performance scores and Raven's score and an 'emotion' factor with high loadings from emotion task performance scores. Similar results were obtained using structural equation modelling. A composite measure of emotion task performance was found to be significantly positively correlated with an EI subscale assessing the ability to appraise emotions. In Study 2, LEAS score and the emotional IT task score were significantly positively correlated. LEAS score was also significantly positively correlated with an EI appraisal of emotions subscale; this correlation remained significant when verbal ability was controlled for. Performance on the IT task was negatively correlated with an intrapersonal EI scale assessing mood regulation.
The results from Study 1 suggest that performance on emotion-related tasks can be linked to the information-processing approach to psychometric intelligence, with the finding being that there are separate but correlated factors relating to processing speed and emotion task performance. The two studies provided some evidence for associations between trait EI and emotion task performance, an issue which is important in the validation of EI by questionnaire. The effect directions suggest that interpersonal EI (related to emotion perception) is positively associated with task performance, but intrapersonal EI (mood regulation) is negatively associated.
Further work is required to obtain information about the associations of a wider range of performance EI measures with non-emotion task performance and psychometric intelligence in order to establish more clearly how emotional abilities link to intelligence and to general processing-speed. Further studies are also required to establish the patterning of correlations between trait EI and a wider range of performance EI measures in order to obtain more information about this aspect of the validation of trait EI.
Hans and Sybil Eysenck