Friday, January 30, 2009

My Intelligence is Better Than Your Intelligence!

I happened to stumble across the book Emotional Intelligence sitting on Nathaniel's bookshelf today and commented on it. I have not read it, so take any analysis I have of the book with a giant, massive grain of salt. The premise seems to be that there is this concept, Emotional Intelligence, or EI, that measures, in the words of Wikipedia, "ability, to identify, assess, and manage the emotions of one's self, of others, and of groups." The claim seems to be that it is a better/good/different predictor of "success" than IQ.

I had a conversation with my dad a little while ago in which he made the point that the EI theory is not very sound, and that its only predictors for success are ones which measure factors already known to correlate with "success," such as g.

What is g, you ask? Here you go.

The basic idea seems to be in the second paragraph, in which it talks about how for each specific task, there seemed to be a task-specific component (spatial reasoning, etc.) and some general component that correlates with all of the tests. So a person's performance in math is a combination of his g and his math-specific abilities. Someone with a high g may still do poorly at math, since his math-specific skills may drag him down, but he will do better than someone with an equivalent math score but lower g.

My dad's point, if I remember correctly, was that EQ tests were predictive only insofar as they measured g, which is already known to be predictive of certain kinds of success. Apparently, the tests were equally predictive if the sections of an EQ test which did not measure g were removed.

This is an article (for pay, unfortunately) that says that EQ and IQ together are "a more powerful predictor of 'success' than either measure alone."

I would have to learn more about EQ, IQ, andgbefore making any kind of firm assertion, but as far as I can tell, the concept of g is generally accepted within psychology.

It is an interesting concept, one which I would like to learn more about. Whether EI is really a better and different measurement of success than IQ, what g is, more specifically, and what factors really contribute to intelligence are all interesting areas to pursue. I'll report back with any findings I have.

P.B. (Post Blog) I stumbled across this while looking at stuff and thought it might be interesting.