Friday, October 07, 2011

The Jekyll and Hyde of emotional intelligence

Côté et al. make some observations about emotional smarts:
Does emotional intelligence promote behavior that strictly benefits the greater good, or can it also advance interpersonal deviance? In the investigation reported here, we tested the possibility that a core facet of emotional intelligence—emotion-regulation knowledge—can promote both prosocial and interpersonally deviant behavior. Drawing from research on how the effective regulation of emotion promotes goal achievement, we predicted that emotion-regulation knowledge would strengthen the effects of other-oriented and self-oriented personality traits on prosocial behavior and interpersonal deviance, respectively. Among individuals with higher emotion-regulation knowledge, a first study noted that moral identity exhibited a stronger positive association with prosocial behavior in a social dilemma [i.e. the study confirmed the authors' prediction that there is an association between moral identity and prosocial behavior in a social dilemma, this association being stronger among individuals with high emotion-regulation knowledge]. A second study found that the positive relation between Machiavellianism and interpersonal deviance was stronger when emotion-regulation knowledge was high rather than when it was low, thus pointing out the dark side of emotion-regulation knowledge.

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