Monday, December 01, 2008

Emotional intelligence is the future: I ran across a study (Van Rooy et al. 2005. Personality and Individual Differences, 38, 689–700) that found that women, blacks, and Hispanics score higher on the "emotional intelligence scale" or EIS. You know--the test that supposedly measures how well you perceive, understand, and manage emotions.

The authors write that, while the use of general mental ability tests raises adverse impact and legal concerns, businesses can avoid bias by using the EIS in the hiring process. They cite studies reporting that the use of emotional intelligence tests to aid the personnel selection process is on the increase.

It is just too easy to imagine this test becoming a commonplace in human resources departments. A test where women and poor minorities outperform men and whites??!! Give me one of those! Disadvantaged groups getting hired in large numbers without preferences??!!

Teamwork is so important now, and interpersonal skills are so essential in our service economy. It is an intelligence test of sorts, right? Plus, in this age of Oprah, it is just so great to focus on feelings! And if it doesn't help productivity, who cares?!

I can see it all now....


  1. The difficulty is finding a test that has all the necessary politically-correct properties, but which also predicts employment performance.

    So far, the two options are that one can have a usefully-predictive employment test, or a politically correct test - choose one.

  2. Anonymous7:25 AM

    I thought you were going to say that because companies can't do general intelligence testing any more, they would do the emotions testing and then hire the least emotional candidates.

  3. Do you have reason to believe that EQ is uncorrelated with productivity?

  4. I mean even Steve Frickin' Sailer argues that blacks' EQ makes them better salespeople, politicians, etc.

  5. Anonymous1:16 PM

    Non-PC translation:
    Higher EI = 'better at manipulating the system'...and study becomes a self-fulfiling prophecy...

    'The difficulty is finding a test...'should really read: 'The difficulty -for today's Western Society- is finding a test...'


  6. Don't worry guys, we know autistics score badly on EQ tests, so they can't be considered PC because they discriminate against disabled people...

  7. Anonymous3:23 PM

    EQ tests are not valid instruments. Just using the term "EQ" labels a person as less than rigorous.

    Executive Function, or EF, captures many of the personality strengths that EQ attempts to capture. And EF actually has a scientific basis!

    Unfortunately for the Politically Correct Moron Brigades, much of EF is highly heritable, just like IQ. The portion of EF that is trainable has to be trained very early in life.

  8. JA,

    Nobody claims that IQ is the only important predictor of job performance. Follow the Inductivist’s link to Linda Gottfredson site. In some of her papers she notes that IQ is only a mediocre predictor (r = .2 to .5) of performance for jobs of low to medium complexity. She also notes that non-IQ related measures such as “citizenship” and “conscientiousness” can be useful predictors of job performance. The good news about "EQ" for white males of moderate to high IQ is that these tests are probably pretty easy to fake. Just ask, what would Oprah do?

  9. Anonymous6:40 PM

    Ditto what Statsquatch said. Part of the nature of a test is the way it detects wrong thinking through wrong answers. It's harder to make a case that a given emotional response is wrong in the same way that crummy arithmetic or a missed vocab word is wrong.

    If you don't scruple a dishonest answer, you can get "false correct" answer by figuring out what the test-makers want you to say. This is pretty much impossible on IQ tests and SATs and the like - if you can figure out what the test-makers think is correct, you have the correct answer by definition.

    In the online emotional intelligence test I took, I scored much higher on the section that was scored by the computer than on the section that was self-assessed. This is because, as nerdy, low-status male, I have been trained to believe that I lack social skills.

    A lot of smart men are like me. We were following rules before other boys because we understood what they were for, which meant we followed rules against fighting back against bullies, which helped keep our self-esteem down, and so on. We were told that the reason the bullies got away with everything, and we got blamed for everything, was that they bullies had "better social skills", with social skills defined as a lack of interest in getting respect from adults.

    In subjectively assessed situations, nerd performance is lukewarm, as people assess the performance of nerds lower. People will "accidentally" forget who did what, reassigning credit to non-nerds and blame to nerds. Plain English sentences spoken by nerds will be misunderstood, with a few key words "accidentally" misheard so the resulting perceived sentence is the opposite of what was intended, or is grammatically incorrect. It's just the way it is; nerds are not sufficiently apathetic or aggressive to command what passes for respect these days.

    The thing is, these tests are an attempt to objectively do the same thing: keep high-performing, low-self-esteem white and Asian males down. I just don't think it can be done.

  10. Anonymous6:57 PM

    Okay, I'm pretty sure this was the test I took. (Can't retake it, really, since my self-assessment will be off; also, full results cost $7, I think.)

    My score on the self-reported section of the test (i.e., the parts where they ask you if you think you would do or think the right thing) was 81. My score on the ability part of the test (stuff where the computer can mark you wrong, like interpreting the facial expression in a photo) was 117. (I'm pretty sure the means are supposed to be 100 for both.)

    Of course, my written (comp-generated) eval was a joke. "You have excellent emotional integration, but you need to work on your emotional integration, because your self-reported score was so low." Stuff like that.

  11. Anonymous12:27 AM

    There is probably something to it, but it's mostly crap. They always tell me that managers need to be good 'people's persons'.

    In real life though, it ain't the Oprah-kind-of-men who get the job done. It's the Steve Ballmer-Jürgen Schrempp-loudmouths who make the profits.

    EQ important? Yes. But only in sofar as society is built upon a high IQ people infrastructure under it. If that ain't there, well, it don't matter how nice et al you are. You'll end up being poor.

  12. Anonymous6:47 AM

    Amotional Intelligence = More bullshit dreamed up to try and make NAMs look better.

  13. I have some posts on different facets of cognition and conflict between members of different sides of the mental axis here and here.

  14. This comment has been removed by the author.

  15. Anonymous1:29 AM

    Does anyone seriously believe blacks and women are better at getting along with one another than whites? What world do you live in?

    Blacks are notorious for despising each other. Women do a great job faking amity, especially during good times, but under stress they'll stab each other in the back with a visciousness that scares all but the most psychotic males.

  16. Anonymous4:04 PM

    "Women do a great job faking amity, especially during good times, but under stress they'll stab each other in the back with a visciousness that scares all but the most psychotic males."

    I have to agree wholeheartedly with the last part. Women like men to appear brave, but most men are going to be at least cautioned, if not terrified, by the backbiting, fake friendliness, and general seething bitterness that underlies modern/ anonymous/ leftist society. The men who look best in this situation are the men who don't care a fiddle about stodgy conservative things like respect, boundaries, etc.

    It pisses me off so much that modern lefty sociologists think they invented boundaries. They reinvented them after the hippies decided they were too old-fashioned. After the pot smoke from the 60s drifted away, people realized they had forgotten how to behave. I know a family of devout Catholic (i.e., the mom had two babies in her forties, after almost losing one ... a family of nine) where they don't believe in even TALKING about pre-marital sex. (I'm pretty sure all the girls in the family are doing it.) They can't talk about sex, but apparently toilet humor is just fine. It's like they all work at the sewage plant. Otherwise nice people, but the only guys those girls aren't going to scare away are the one with no sense of decorum.

    I'm becoming more and more convinced that the way our boring grandparents wanted us to act is almost EXACTLY the way we should act. There are obvious modern codes of behavior that work too, but those just require more emotional intelligence than most people can muster. To be happy requires dignity. To be dignified requires rules.

  17. Anonymous4:34 PM

    In real life though, it ain't the Oprah-kind-of-men who get the job done.

    Actually, it is. She's a fairly hard-nosed businesswoman and combining that with the ability to deal well with people socially is going to work a lot of the time.

  18. Anonymous5:50 PM

    Last anonymous ... are you sure that Oprah's approach really works for men?


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