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The Bar-On model of emotional-social intelligence (ESI) - The construct validity of the EQ-i confirms that the Bar-On model is describing ESI

Индекс материала
The Bar-On model of emotional-social intelligence (ESI)
The theoretical foundation of the Bar-On model
Description of the instrument used to develop the Bar-On model (the EQ-i)
The rigorous development of the EQ-i helped create a robust model of ESI
The construct validity of the EQ-i confirms that the Bar-On model is describing ESI
The Bar-On model of ESI predicts various aspects of human performance
The Bar-On model is teachable and learnable
Discussion
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The construct validity of the EQ-i confirms that the Bar-On model is describing ESI

In order to demonstrate that a concept is robust, one must first show that it is actually describing what it was designed to describe. This is usually done by examining its construct validity. There are a number of basic approaches to examining the construct validity of psychometric and conceptual models (Anastasi, 1988). The approach that I have adopted was to simply demonstrate that the EQ-i correlates higher with other measures of ESI than with measures of other constructs such as cognitive intelligence and personality. As will be shown, the findings confirm that the EQ-i has the least amount of overlap with tests of cognitive tests. This is followed by findings indicating a greater degree of overlap with personality tests. And the greatest degree of domain overlap exists between the EQ-i and other ESI measures.

In an effort to examine the divergent construct validity of the Bar-On model, the EQ-i has been concomitantly administered with various measures of cognitive intelligence (including the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale, Progressive Raven Matrix and the General Adult Mental Ability Scale) to a total of 4,218 individuals in six studies (Bar-On, 2004). The results indicate that there is only minimal overlap between the EQ-i and tests of cognitive (academic) intelligence, which was expected in that this instrument was not designed or intended to assess this type of performance. This finding is also confirmed by David Van Rooy and his colleagues (Van Rooy & Viswesvaran, 2004; Van Rooy, Pluta, & Viswesvaran, 2005; D. L. Van Rooy, personal communication from April 2003), who suggests that no more than 4% of the variance of the EQ-i can be explained by cognitive intelligence according to a recent meta-analysis including 10 studies (n>5,000). In addition to shedding light on the construct validity of the Bar-On model and measure of ESI (i.e., what it is and is not describing), these findings indicate that emotional-scoial intelligence and cognitive intelligence are not strongly related and are most likely separate constructs. Not only is this assumption statistically supported by findings presented by me and others (Bar-On, 2004; Van Rooy & Viswesvaran, 2004; Van Rooy et al., 2005), but there is also neurological evidence suggesting that the neural centers governing emotional-social intelligence and those governing cognitive intelligence are located in different areas of the brain. More succinctly, the ventromedial prefrontal cortex12 appears to be governing basic aspects of ESI (Bar-On et al., 2003; Bechara & Bar-On, 2004; Lane & McRae, 2004), while the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex is thought to govern key aspects of cognitive functioning (Duncan, 2001).

Subsequent to submitting their pioneering meta-analysis of emotional intelligence for publication in December 2002, Van Rooy and Viswesvaran expanded the number of studies in their original analysis of the construct validity of emotional intelligence. Their most recent meta-analysis suggests that the degree of overlap between the EQ-i and personality tests is probably no more than 15% based on 8 studies in which more than 1,700 individuals participated (D. L. Van Rooy, personal communication from April 2003). This overlap is smaller than was previously thought and strongly suggests that the EQ-i must be measuring something else other than personality traits. It also makes sense that the EQ-i is not measuring personality traits, because the 15 emotional and social competencies, skills and facilitators that it measures (a) increase almost continuously from childhood to the end of the fourth decade of life as was previously mentioned, and (b) they can also be significantly increased within a matter of a few weeks as a result of training (Bar-On, 2003, 2004); personality traits are simply not as malleable as these competencies, skills and facilitators appear to be. When this small degree of overlap with personality is coupled with the even smaller degree of overlap with cognitive intelligence, the large unexplained variance that remains logically suggests that the EQ-i is measuring something else other than these constructs; and based on what is presented below, I argue that a substantial amount of this unexplained variance in the Bar-On model and measure can be explained by a larger domain overlap which is observed when the EQ-i is correlated with other measures of ESI. More precisely, the degree of significant overlap between the EQ-i and these other measures of ESI is nearly twice as high as that explained by personality and cognitive intelligence combined.

In order to examine the convergent construct validity of the Bar-On model and measure, the correlation between the EQ-i and other ESI instruments was evaluated. In another publication (2004), I have summarized the major findings related to the convergent construct validity of the EQ-i based on 13 studies in which a total of 2,417 individuals participated. These findings indicate that the degree of domain overlap between the EQ-i and other measures of ESI is about 36%, which is substantial whenevaluating construct validity (Anastasi, 1988). When compared with a 4% overlap with IQ tests and a 15% overlap with personality tests, it is obvious that the EQ-i is measuring what these other ESI measures are measuring (i.e., emotional-social intelligence) rather than cognitive intelligence or personality traits.

The above findings suggest that EQ-i possesses good construct validity - i.e., for the most part, this instrument is measuring what it was designed to measure. This suggests that the Bar-On model is a valid concept of ESI in that it is describing key aspects of emotional-social intelligence rather than other psychological constructs such as cognitive intelligence or personality. Empirically demonstrating this point (Bar-On, 2004) is thought to dispel what some psychologists have assumed regarding the Bar-On conceptual and psychometric model and have prematurely concluded based on less extensive and conclusive findings (e.g., Brackett & Mayer, 2003; Matthews et al, 2002; Newsome et al., 2000). Other measures of ESI, such as the ECI and MSCEIT, have not yet examined construct validity as robustly as has been done with the EQ-i on larger and more diverse samples.13

When the findings related to the EQ-i are compared with the actual degree of domain overlap between ability-based measures of ESI and tests of cognitive intelligence as well as personality (Van Rooy & Viswesvaran, 2004; Van Rooy et al., 2005), the accuracy, meaningfulness and usefulness of dichotomously describing these measures as either «mixed» or (non-mixed) «ability» models come into question. On the one hand, the EQ-i overlaps with cognitive intelligence and personality tests no more than 20% while the degree of overlap between the MSCEIT and these types of tests does not exceed 15% (Bar-On, 2004; Van Rooy & Viswesvaran, 2004; Van Rooy et al., 2005; D. L. Van Rooy, personal communication from April 2003). In other words, the vast majority of the variance of both conceptual and psychometric models (80% and 85% respectively) is not explained by personality and/or by cognitive intelligence. Therefore, the «mixed» characteristic used by some (Mayer et al., 2000) to describe some of these models, exists in all such models and measures in that they all overlap with personality traits and cognitive intelligence to some extent, but the actual difference between them within this small degree of overlap does not justify using descriptors such as «mixed» versus «abilities» as a meaningful way of categorizing these models and measures. All models of human behavior are influenced at least to some extent by a «mixed» cross-section of bio-psycho-social predictors and facilitators including biomedical predispositions and conditions, cognitive intelligence, personality, motivation and environmental influences.14