The Role of Culture in Understanding and Evaluating Emotional Intelligence

  • Alex C. HuynhEmail author
  • Harrison Oakes
  • Igor GrossmannEmail author
Part of the The Springer Series on Human Exceptionality book series (SSHE)


The current understanding of emotional intelligence (EI) is flawed and incomplete. In the present chapter, we briefly highlight some of the major controversies surrounding EI, including the lack of agreement on how to define it and measurement inconsistencies. We propose that the key gap in current EI scholarship concerns the lack of awareness of cultural impacts on affective processes that underlie various components of EI abilities. Drawing from prior theoretical models, we overview three components that have been described as encompassing the construct of ability EI: emotion perception, emotion understanding, and emotion regulation. For each of these components, we review the relevant cultural literature and discuss how cultural differences can play a substantial role in our understanding of EI as an overall construct. We conclude by discussing how culture should be incorporated into the application and assessment of EI abilities. Ultimately, we propose that one cannot truly understand and talk about EI without considering the context of culture.


Emotional intelligence Cultural differences Ability model Emotion perception Emotion understanding Emotion regulation 



Work on this chapter was supported by an Insight Grant (435-2014-0685) from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, awarded to Igor Grossmann.


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of WaterlooWaterlooCanada

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