Emotional Intelligence is a concept that every psychology student has to have heard of as part of their course on Intelligence and Personality. In short, emotional intelligence refers to the ability to use one’s perception of their own and other’s intelligence for decision making.

Daniel Goleman is a well known researcher of emotional intelligence. Watch a good video here in which he explains what emotional intelligence is
There is an academic debate about whether emotional intelligence is part of intelligence (as a cognitive ability) or part of personality. One of the problems is that Emotional Intelligence is entirely based on self-report, which can be very unreliable. For example, even when people say they are aware of non-verbal messages, they might actually miss most of them. People might also be biased thinking better of themselves than they really are.

The concept of Emotional Intelligence is popular in the business and leadership world. The idea is that good or successful leaders are able to "read" people’s emotions.

The PsyToolkit implementation below is based on the 33-item scale taken from the paper by Schutte and colleagues (1998). It should take at most a couple of minutes to fill in.

It is interesting that there are clear between-group differences (p.173):

  • Women score significantly higher than men

  • On a scale from 33 to 165, women’s average score was 131 and men’s 125

  • Therapists score higher than prisoners and clients in a substance abuse program.

Run the demo

The authors of the test (Schutte et al) state: "The authors permit free use of the scale for research and clinical purposes."(p.172).


This implementation shows that you can use a scale item’s default scoring, and have a few questions with their custom scoring (here used for the reverse scoring of some items).

The survey code for PsyToolkit

Copy and paste this code to your PsyToolkit account if you want to use the scale in your own online research project
scale: agree
- strongly disagree
- disagree
- neither disagree nor agree
- agree
- strongly agree

l: EM_1
t: scale agree
q: Indicate the extent to which each item applies to you using the following scale
- I know when to speak about my personal problems to others.
- When I am faced with obstacles, I remember times I faced similar obstacles and overcame them.
- I expect that I will do well on most things I try.
- Other people find it easy to confide in me.
- {reverse} I find it hard to understand the nonverbal messages of other people.
- Some of the major events of my life have led me to re-evaluate what is important and not important.
- When my mood changes, I see new possibilities.
- Emotions are some of the things that make my life worth living.
- I am aware of my emotions as I experience them.
- I expect good things to happen.
- I like to share my emotions with others.
- When I experience a positive emotion, I know how to make it last.
- I arrange events others enjoy.
- I seek out activities that make me happy.
- I am aware of the nonverbal messages I send to others.
- I present myself in a way that makes a good impression on others.
- When I am in a positive mood, solving problems is easy for me.
- By looking at their facial expressions, I recognize the emotions people are experiencing.
- I know why my emotions change.
- When I am in a positive mood, I am able to come up with new ideas.
- I have control over my emotions.
- I easily recognize my emotions as I experience them.
- I motivate myself by imagining a good outcome to tasks I take on.
- I compliment others when they have done something well.
- I am aware of the nonverbal messages other people send.
- When another person tells me about an important event in his or her life, I almost feel as though I have experienced this event myself.
- When I feel a change in emotions, I tend to come up with new ideas.
- {reverse} When I am faced with a challenge, I give up because I believe I will fail.
- I know what other people are feeling just by looking at them.
- I help other people feel better when they are down.
- I use good moods to help myself keep trying in the face of obstacles.
- I can tell how people are feeling by listening to the tone of their voice.
- {reverse} It is difficult for me to understand why people feel the way they do.

l: score
t: set
- sum $EM_1

l: feedback
t: info
q: The emotional intelligence score ranges from 33 to 165 points.<br>
<b>Your score is {$score}.</b><br>
According to the Schutte et. al (1998) paper, these are population scores in the USA:<br>
<li>Average score of female prisoners = 120
<li>Average score of men = 125
<li>Average score of women = 131
<li>Average score of therapists = 135


  • Schutte, N. S., Malouff, J. M., Hall, L. E., Haggerty, D. J., Cooper, J. T., Golden, C. J., & Dornheim, L. (1998). Development and validation of a measure of emotional intelligence. Personality and Individual Differences, 25, 167–177.