Emotional intelligence predicts wise reasoning

Abstract: Emotional intelligence (EI) and wisdom are psychological capacities claimed to be important foundations for positive social interactions, thus promoting human flourishing. Prior theorizations suggest these constructs are related, but there is no empirical evidence for this. Two studies examined the relationship of EI and wisdom, and meta-cognitive and interpersonal mediators. Study 1 was conducted online (N = 99) and focused on meta-cognitive mediators. Study 2 was conducted in person (N = 150) and added interpersonal mediators. Across two studies and different populations, findings showed that only the emotional management branch of EI correlated with wise reasoning. Greater epistemic humility, need for cognition, empathic concern, and perspective taking accounted for this relationship. This suggests that competency in emotion management is important in wise reasoning – recognition of a changing world, self-transcendence, consideration of diverse perspectives, and search for compromise. The EI-wisdom relationship may occur through thoughtful, prosocial consideration of others and their perspectives.

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Schneider, T. R., Nusbaum, H. C., Kim, Y., Borders, M. R., & Ryan, T. J. (2021). Emotional intelligence predicts wise reasoning. The Journal of Positive Psychology, 1-15.