Do We Know Emotional Intelligence When We See it? The Social Perception of Emotional Abilities

62 Pages Posted: 12 Dec 2008 Last revised: 18 Aug 2014

See all articles by Hillary Anger Elfenbein

Hillary Anger Elfenbein

Washington University in St. Louis, Olin School of Business

Sigal G. Barsade

University of Pennsylvania - Management Department

Noah Eisenkraft

University of Pennsylvania - The Wharton School

Date Written: December 11, 2008

Abstract

We examine the social perception of emotional intelligence (EI) through the use of observer ratings. Individuals often judge others’ emotional abilities in real-world settings, yet we know little about the properties of such ratings. This paper examines the social perception of EI and tests the hypothesis that close observers in the environment can recognize individual differences in emotional abilities. Three studies test this proposition using real-world colleagues as observers and drawing on data from 2,521 participants. Results indicate significant consensus across these observers about the EI of targets, moderate but significant self-observer agreement, modest but relatively consistent divergent validity across the components of EI, and significant predictive validity of observer ratings in work and task performance domains, even after controlling for cognitive intelligence, personality, trait affect, observer liking, and demographic characteristics. These data provide initial evidence suggesting the social perception of EI is possible. Limitations, future directions, and practical implications are discussed.

Note: This Paper Has Been Revised, and thew new paper appears in SSRN with the title "Do we know emotional intelligence when we see it? The social perception of emotional abilities."

Keywords: emotional intelligence, social perception, observer ratings, self ratings, social relations model, multi-trait multi-method

Suggested Citation

Elfenbein, Hillary Anger and Barsade, Sigal G. and Eisenkraft, Noah, Do We Know Emotional Intelligence When We See it? The Social Perception of Emotional Abilities (December 11, 2008). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1314925 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1314925

Hillary Anger Elfenbein (Contact Author)

Washington University in St. Louis, Olin School of Business ( email )

One Brookings Drive
Campus Box 1133
St. Louis, MO 63130-4899
United States

Sigal G. Barsade

University of Pennsylvania - Management Department ( email )

The Wharton School
Philadelphia, PA 19104-6370
United States

Noah Eisenkraft

University of Pennsylvania - The Wharton School ( email )

3641 Locust Walk
Philadelphia, PA 19104-6365
United States

Register to save articles to
your library

Register

Paper statistics

Downloads
393
Abstract Views
1,789
rank
74,268
PlumX Metrics