Putting ‘Emotional Intelligences’ in their place: Introducing the Integrated Model of Affect-related Individual Differences

David Hughes, Thomas Evans

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Citations (Scopus)
36 Downloads (Pure)


Numerous individual differences, models, and measures have been associated with the ‘emotional intelligence’ (EI) label. This paper discusses one of the most pervasive problems regarding EI-related individual differences, namely, the lack of a meaningful theoretical framework. First, drawing upon existing theoretical frameworks, we argue that EI-related characteristics can be considered constituents of existing models of cognitive ability (ability EI), personality (trait EI), and emotion regulation (EI competencies). Second, having differentiated between these perspectives (ability, personality, emotion regulation), we draw upon existing theory and research to build the Integrated Model of Affect-related Individual Differences (IMAID), which provides an initial mechanistic representation that explains how the different EI-related constructs are likely to interrelate and coalesce to influence affective outcomes. In essence, the IMAID is an integrated mediation model in which emotion regulation mediates the effects of ability EI and affect-related personality traits upon outcomes. Viewing EI-related constructs as interrelated extensions of well-established individual difference frameworks clarifies some pervasive misconceptions regarding EI-related characteristics and provides scholars and practitioners with a clear and useful framework theoretical platform ripe for exploration. We conclude by using the IMAID to suggest a theoretically driven agenda for future research.
Original languageEnglish
Article number2155
Number of pages15
JournalFrontiers in Psychology
Publication statusPublished - 14 Nov 2018

Bibliographical note

Copyright © 2018 Hughes and Evans. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

Copyright © and Moral Rights are retained by the author(s) and/ or other copyright owners. A copy can be downloaded for personal non-commercial research or study, without prior permission or charge. This item cannot be reproduced or quoted extensively from without first obtaining permission in writing from the copyright holder(s). The content must not be changed in any way or sold commercially in any format or medium without the formal permission of the copyright holders.


  • Emotional intelligence
  • Individual differences
  • Emotion
  • Intelligence
  • Personality
  • Emotion Regulation


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