Emotional Intelligence as an Ability: Theory, Challenges, and New Directions

  • Marina FioriEmail author
  • Ashley K. Vesely-Maillefer
Part of the The Springer Series on Human Exceptionality book series (SSHE)


About 25 years ago emotional intelligence (EI) was first introduced to the scientific community. In this chapter, we provide a general framework for understanding EI conceptualized as an ability. We start by identifying the origins of the construct rooted in the intelligence literature and the foundational four-branch model of ability EI, then describe the most commonly employed measures of EI as ability, and critically review predictive validity evidence. We further approach current challenges, including the difficulties of scoring answers as “correct” in the emotional sphere, and open a discussion on how to increase the incremental validity of ability EI. We finally suggest new directions by introducing a distinction between a crystallized component of EI, based on knowledge of emotions, and a fluid component, based on the processing of emotion information.


Emotional intelligence Ability EI Fluid EI Crystallized EI Emotion information processing Emotion knowledge 



This chapter benefited from the support of the Swiss National Science Foundation (grant no 100014_165605 awarded to Marina Fiori).


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of LausanneLausanneSwitzerland

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