Enhancing the Prediction of Emotionally Intelligent Behavior: The PAT Integrated Framework Involving Trait EI, Ability EI, and Emotion Information Processing

Frontiers in Psychology 9 (2018)
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Emotional Intelligence (EI) has been conceptualized in the literature either as a dispositional tendency, in line with a personality trait (trait EI; Petrides and Furnham, 2001), or as an ability, moderately correlated with general intelligence (ability EI; Mayer and Salovey, 1997). Surprisingly, there have been few empirical attempts conceptualizing how the different EI approaches should be related to each other. However, understanding how the different approaches of EI may be interwoven and/or complementary is of primary importance for clarifying the conceptualization of EI and organizing the literature around it. We introduce a theoretical framework explaining how trait EI, ability EI, and emotion information processing – a novel component related to EI recently introduced in the literature (e.g., Fiori and Vesely Maillefer, 2018) – may contribute to effective emotion-related performance and provide initial evidence supporting its usefulness in predicting EI-related outcomes. More specifically, we show that performance in a task in which participants had to infer the mental and emotional states of others, namely a Theory of Mind task, was predicted jointly (e.g., interaction effects) by trait EI, ability EI, and emotion information processing, after controlling for personality and IQ (N = 323). Our results argue for the importance of investigating the joint contribution of different aspects of EI in explaining variability in emotionally laden outcomes.

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