correlations (.1 to .3) with a variety of criteria including life satisfaction, social skills and relationships, and coping.

Matthews and his colleagues Richard Roberts and others at ETS have been working on another assessment strategy that relies on situational judgment tests. The researchers are exploring the use of both text-based and video-based scenarios designed to evaluate how well individuals can judge the emotions of a situation. An example of a text-based scenario follows:

Clayton has been overseas for a long time and returns to visit his family. So much has changed that Clayton feels left out. What action would be the most effective for Clayton?

In the video-based format, a clip of an emotive situation is shown, and the test taker is presented with several response options. Matthews presented an example in which a person in a work situation is upset because her office is being moved around, and this has disrupted her work activities. The test taker is presented with four possible responses that the boss might make to address the employee’s complaint. In one response, the boss becomes angry, tells her that the move is important for the firm’s functioning, and that she should simply put up with it. In another, the boss is more empathetic with the employee, recognizes that the employee has some grounds for being upset, and explains the rationale behind the office move. The test taker is instructed to choose the best response. Matthews said that the work is in its early stages, but there seems to be some evidence that the results are predictive of high school GPA, well-being, and social support, even controlling for other factors.

Matthews closed by restating that emotional intelligence remains a nebulous and ill-defined construct. The field has not yet come to consensus on a definition or conceptualization of the construct, and findings from research examining its malleability—that is, the extent to which is it trainable—are inconclusive. While there are multiple strategies for assessing the construct, he thinks they are better suited for research than for any form of high-stakes testing.

The National Academies | 500 Fifth St. N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20001
Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use and Privacy Statement