EQ-i 2.0 vs. MSCEIT Part 2

EQ-i 2.0 vs. MSCEIT Part 2

In Part 1 of this post, we looked at the popular EQ-i 2.0 and MSCEIT and highlighted the key differences between the two.

Although the EQ-i 2.0 and the MSCEIT are both EI assessments, they use different methods of measurement because they focus on different aspects of emotional intelligence.

How is it measured?

The EQ-i 2.0 is a 133-item self-report assessment. Using a 5-point Likert scale (from Never/Rarely to Always/Almost Always), the EQ-i 2.0 asks about the frequency with which people performed EI behaviors in the past. In other words, the EQ-i 2.0 uses people’s reports of their past behaviors to identify areas of development and predict future behavior. Because the EQ-i 2.0 asks people for their own opinions, there are no right or wrong answers.

In contrast, the MSCEIT is a 141-item performance assessment that presents people with EI problems and hypothetical scenarios. Because the MSCEIT asks people to solve problems and scenarios that they may not have personally experienced themselves, this assessment uses people’s problem-solving abilities to measure their innate talent or capability for learning emotional intelligence skills. Like other standard intelligence and cognitive tests such as the SAT and Wonderlic, scoring for the MSCEIT identifies “right” and “wrong” answers or “more correct” and “less correct” answers.


Which assessment should you use?

If both the EQ-i 2.0 and the MSCEIT are valid and reliable measures of emotional intelligence, is one better than the other? Are there contexts in which one would be more suited for use? The answers to these questions are: it depends.

Both the EQ-i 2.0 and the MSCEIT can be used in a variety of contexts, including individual and team development, and selection contexts such as hiring and promotion. The key determining factor for deciding which assessment to use is the need of the customer.

For example, you may want to include EI in the battery of assessments that a candidate will complete during a job application process. In this case, because multiple assessments are being administered, time may be the most important determining factor for you. With that in mind, the EQ-i 2.0 may be more ideal because it takes on average 5-8 minutes for people to complete the EQ-i 2.0, as opposed to the 30-45 minutes that people usually need to work through the MSCEIT.

However, if you are most concerned about people altering their responses to make themselves look better during a selection process, then the MSCEIT may seem like a more attractive choice. Because of its performance method to measurement, it is difficult for people to “fake” their responses when responding to MSCEIT items, making this test well-suited for times when, rather than being completely honest, people are more tempted to respond in a specific way because they think it will be beneficial to them.

Something else to consider is that these assessments may be used in conjunction with each other. For example, since the MSCEIT measures people’s capacity to learn EI skills, you can administer the EQ-i 2.0 first to identify specific areas for development, and then administer the MSCEIT to estimate the amount of time and effort the customer will be committing to in the future for developing their EI. Alternatively, the two assessments may be used to build a multi-view picture, allowing coaches and consultants to combine information about a person’s innate and perceived levels of EI.


The key differences that we covered in these two blog posts are summarized in the table below:

Model Trait-based Ability-based
Broad EI concept – traits and social skills Focused EI concept – cognitive aspects
Measurement Self-report – opinions Performance -right/wrong answers
Past behaviours Innate ability/talent
Used for Identifying EI behaviours that people already exhibit/learned Identifying one’s capacity for learning EI skills
Identifying areas for development Identifying the amount of effort needed to learn new EI skills
Gaining insight and predicting future behaviour Gaining insight and predicting future behaviour


To request more information on the EQ-i 2.0 click here. For more information on MSCEIT click here.


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