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Challenges and future directions

In the 30 years since Salovey and Mayer (1990) published the first scholarly article on El, the field has expanded with models, measures, and research applications as well as criticisms. The popularity in the general media that was initially created by Goleman (1995) led to various claims of predictive potential for El that was not backed up by empirical research. Mayer, Salovey, and Caruso (2000) worked to correct these misconceptions and addressed the “over-enthusiastic claims” from the media to offer a more balanced view of El as an empirically grounded psychological construct. During this early time period, Zeidner, Matthews, and Roberts (2001) were vocal critics in referring to El as an “elusive” construct as the validation research had not yet reached adequate scientific criteria. They continued their critique in books such as Emotional Intelligence: Science and Myth (Matthews, Zeidner, & Roberts, 2002) and articles such as the “Seven myths about emotional intelligence” (Matthews, Roberts, & Zeidner, 2004).

By 2009, however, Zeidner et al., revised their earlier criticisms in light of the comprehensive reviews of increasing numbers of El studies that did find significant predictive outcomes as well as the measurement tools that had sound psychometric properties. “In the intervening years El has become an established player in modern-day psychological research, appearing as one of the most widely discussed aspects of intelligence in current literature” (Zeidner et al., 2009, p. xiii). In the last decade developing conceptual models have emerged (e.g., the Petrides trait El model and the abilities cascade model), measurement tools have advanced (e.g., MSCEIT, TEIQue, and youth versions) and a score of application research has been published.

Several meta-analyses that synthesize El study outcomes in relation to workplace and to health have been conducted (see Martins, Ramalho, & Morin, 2010; Miao, Humphrey, & Qian, 2017; Schutte, Malouff, Thorsteinsson, Bhullar, & Rooke, 2007). Despite these advances there are still limitations and controversy in the El field. Gong and Jiao (2019) conducted a metaanalysis of several El meta-analytic studies and indicate that effect sizes over the years appear to be decreasing, suggesting that original effect sizes may have been overestimated. El researchers, both in Eastern Europe and globally, face continuing challenges in the areas of conceptualization, measurement, applications, and cultural adaptations. Table 14.2 illustrates seven current issues in the El field, based on selected recommendations by Zeidner et al. (2009). Future research possibilities are suggested by the current authors.

Most of these seven issues in Table 14.2 have been addressed by research studies in this volume, illustrating how these regional researchers are developing and advancing the El field overall. Altaras Dimitrijevic and Jolic Marjanovic (Chapter 3) compare ability and trait measures within a cultural context, addressing issues number 1 (conceptualization) and 7 (cultural specificity). Sergienko, Khlevnaya, Migun, and Osipenko (Chapter 2), Taksic, Mohoric, and Cosic Pilepic (Chapter 4), and Kaliska and Nabelkova (Chapter 5) developed, adapted, or described culturally based ability and trait measures addressing issues number 6 (assessment) and 7 (cultural specificity). Kaliska and Nabelkova (Chapter 5), Heinzova and Kaliska (Chapter 6) and, Birknerova, Zbihlejova, and Frankovsky (Chapter 7) address issues number 2 (related constructs) and number 3 (g-factor) in comparing and delineating El from the related constructs of g-factor intelligence, multiple intelligence, and social intelligence respectively.

Issue number 5, on the context of adaptability, is addressed by all of the application chapters. Pilarik, Szatmar, and Hegediisova (Chapter 8) and Sollarova and Kaliska (Chapter 9) place El traits in the context of adolescent career decision-making processes. Paskova and Kaliska (Chapter 10) examine university students’ achievement motivation. Liubertiene (Chapter 11) and Martyniak and Pellitteri (Chapter 12) examine El competencies and abilities in the context of teacher development. And finally, Kardasheva (Chapter 13) places El traits in the family system. These application studies consider the context of how El could be adaptable and, with regard to their respective countries, inherently support El as useful in the broader Eastern European cultural context.

Issue number 4 (dynamic processes) was not directly addressed by studies in this volume and continues to illustrate less-explored areas of the El field. Some studies outside of Eastern Europe have begun to examine this

258 John Pellitteri and Lada Kaliska

Table 14.2 El issues, current status, and future research possibilities

Issues 1 challenges

Current status

Future research possibilities


How is El


Trait, ability, & competence models are distinct ways of defining El.

Base models in studies on operationalization; Develop new conceptual models


How is El related to other constructs?

El overlaps with several emotion-related concepts and new intelligence model types such as social intelligence, personal intelligence, multiple intelligence, etc.

Refine conceptual distinctions; Examine how El factors interact with related social- emotional factors and other intelligence types


Does El have a g-J'actor or is it a set of related constructs?

Major models (Mayer & Salovey, Bar-On, Petrides) generally consider one factor with subcomponents.

Consider utility of general versus specific factors in research outcomes


What are dynamic processes in El?

El models tend to view abilities or traits as static entities.

Consider models and research that seek to understand dynamic emotional, cognitive, and personality processes


How can criteria for El adaptability or success be determined?

El researchers use various factors to determine if high El relates to adaptability or success in life.

Focus on the influence of specific contexts in studying and applying El principles


What are the best methods for assessing El?

Assessment is tied to theoretical models. Performance and self- report formats have many limitations and lack cultural relevance.

Adapt measures to language and culture;

Consider new methods of assessment that are culturally relevant and applicable to the real world


Is El universal or culturally specific?

Current models/measures do not adequately address the role of cultural factors.

Create new culture- specific measures and applications; Consider El in collectivistic versus individualistic frames

forefront: Ybarra, Kross, and Sanchez-Burks (2014) considered contextual factors in El, Joseph and Newman (2010) explored a cascading model of sequences in El abilities and traits that begin to address context and dynamics, while Shao, Doucet, and Caruso (2014), in examining the cascade process of emotional abilities in a multinational study, proposed that emotional perception is more universal across cultures whereas understanding and regulation tend to be more culture-specific. These more recent studies represent evolutions of El theory and process and can provide direction for future research both within and outside the Eastern Europe region.

Criticisms and limitations in El research can serve as challenges for researchers to advance the El field. The intention of this book has been to explore similarities and differences based on regional characteristics. Certain findings from these respective studies (i.e., distinctions from related intelligence and personality models) parallel results from studies outside the Eastern European region, thus supporting the consideration of universal El principles. However, the collectivistic cultural frame of the Eastern European region, in contrast to the individualistic frames of Western Europe and North America, warrants a different consideration of El conceptualization, measurement, and application. Cross-cultural studies comparing samples from different countries would provide more fine-tuned distinctions and illustrate how El characteristics may be adaptive in unique ways in particular cultures. Overall, El research is just beginning to address the role of contextual factors in assessment and in El application. Together with other authors (Huynh et al., 2018; Taksic, Mohoric, & Holmstrom, 2018) the themes of this volume emphasize the importance of cultural factors and their impacts on various El models. Further development and discussion of El measures, particularly problems of measurement invariance and cross-cultural validation (Karim, 2011), needs to come into consideration both in Eastern European countries and beyond. Hopefully, El researchers of the various countries can find inspiration from this book - either to begin or continue an adaptation process of existing El instruments, to develop their own culture-specific tools to assess El abilities, traits, or competences, or to advance conceptualization and application in their respective cultural contexts.

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