Measures of Emotional Intelligence: Practice and Standards (S.131-132)
When new constructs of individual differences are introduced into psychology scientists are supposed and expected to react fairly skeptically, critically, and conservatively. When new measures are associated with new constructs things get even tougher.
There might be two causes for these defensive routine reactions. First, viewed historically, lay persons did not contribute valuable constructs and measurement instruments to individual differences research, and although it was psychologists investigating the idea of an emotional intelligence (EI) first (Mayer, DiPaolo, & Salovey, 1990), it was popularized-even within psychology-by lay persons (Goleman, 1995, 1998). Second, psychologists feel the need to legitimize why they make such a big fuss about their measures of dispositions of persons (i.e., what makes their personality measures any different from the ad hoc questionnaires in Cosmopolitan magazine).
These routine reactions make good sense in order to avoid false positives when it comes to establishing new constructs and new measures-on the other side there is the threat of being overly cautious and rejecting new ideas and new measures even though they might be worth being further investigated, developed, and used in practical settings. Being overly conservative might cause an unacceptable high rate of false negatives. Slightly simplifying historical events (see Matthews, Zeidner, & Roberts, 2002, for an adequate description) EI intruded the quiet waters of individual differences research, testing, and assessment in the early 1990s (Mayer et al., 1990; Mayer & Salovey, 1993; Salovey & Mayer, 1990) and sparked strong public interest (Goleman, 1995, 1998) in the construct and its measurement subsequently.
This public interest can be considered to be indicative of the demand that is more or less satisfied through measurement instruments developed within the scientific community. Some researchers are investigating the construct to the best of their knowledge and abilities while others turn both thumbs down and direct the construct and associated measures to psychology's unmarked grave of poor ideas. This chapter will first focus on an important distinction between various instruments proposed for the measurement of EI: the assessment of typical versus maximal behavior. Abrief evaluation of EI measures of typical behavior is followed by a more extensive discussion of measures of maximal behavior.
The latter begins with a description of the Mayer-Salovey-Caruso Emotional Intelligence Test (MSCEIT V.2; Mayer, Salovey, Caruso, and Sitarenios, 2002; Mayer, Salovey, Caruso, & Sitarenios, 2003), continues with requirements to classify a measure as an intelligence test, and concludes with a critique and some recommendations for future research.