The positive psychology of emotional intelligence


Emotional intelligence is contextualized historically and defined as a set of four interrelated abilities focused on the processing of emotional information. These four abilities involve (a) perceiving emotions, (b) using emotions to facilitate cognitive activities, (c) understanding emotions, and (d) managing emotions in oneself and other people. Emotional intelligence is best measured as a set of abilities using tasks rather than self-judgment scales. When emotional intelligence is measured in this way it shows discriminant validity with respect to “cognitive” intelligence, personality traits, and social desirability, which is generally not the case for self-judgment measures. The ability-based measure of emotional intelligence most often used in research is the Mayer-Salovey-Caruso Emotional Intelligence Test (MSCEIT), a reliable instrument that is associated with positive outcomes in social situations, families, educational settings, and the workplace. Promising interventions designed to improve emotional intelligence have been developed for school children and managers. The effectiveness of these interventions needs to be evaluated systematically.



Publication Date


Journal Title

The Oxford Handbook of Positive Psychology (2 ed.)


Oxford University Press

Document Type