Some historical and scientific issues related to research on emotional intelligence



In the past decade, the concept of emotional intelligence (EI) has emerged as a potential new construct for explaining behavioral variance not accounted for by traditional measures of general academic intelligence or personality. EI researchers credit E. L. Thorndike as the first to propose such a construct when he suggested that social intelligence is independent of abstract or academic intelligence. The current paper traces the historical roots of social intelligence and the current scientific status of emotional intelligence. It appears that emotional intelligence, as a concept related to occupational success, exists outside the typical scientific domain. Much of the data necessary for demonstrating the unique association between EI and work-related behavior appears to reside in proprietary databases, preventing rigorous tests of the measurement devices or of their unique predictive value. For those reasons, any claims for the value of EI in the work setting cannot be made under the scientific mantle. Copyright © 2005 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.