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We examine the social perception of emotional intelligence (EI) through the use of observer ratings. Individuals frequently judge others’ emotional abilities in real-world settings, yet we know little about the properties of such ratings. This article examines the social perception of EI and expands the evidence to evaluate its reliability and cross-judge agreement, as well as its convergent, divergent, and predictive validity. Three studies use real-world colleagues as observers and data from 2,521 participants. Results indicate significant consensus across observers about targets’ EI, moderate but significant self–observer agreement, and modest but relatively consistent discriminant validity across the components of EI. Observer ratings significantly predicted interdependent task performance, even after controlling for numerous factors. Notably, predictive validity was greater for observer-rated than for self-rated or ability-tested EI. We discuss the minimal associations of observer ratings with ability-tested EI, study limitations, future directions, and practical implications.
© 2016 American Psychological Association. This paper is not the copy of record and may not exactly replicate the authoritative document published in the APA journal. Please do not copy or cite without author's permission. The final article is available, upon publication, at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/a0038436
emotional intelligence, social perception, observer ratings, self-ratings, ability tests, social relations model
Elfenbein, H. A., Barsade, S. G., & Eisenkraft, N. (2015). The Social Perception of Emotional Abilities: Expanding What We Know About Observer Ratings of Emotional Intelligence. Emotion, 15 (1), 17-34. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/a0038436
Date Posted: 19 February 2018
This document has been peer reviewed.