NOT AT THE DINNER TABLE: UTILIZING TRAIT AND ABILITY EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE SCORES TO UNDERSTAND POLITICAL OPINION
by Taleen Postian
Abstract – Recent polls have shown that 70% of Americans are angered by the current political landscape. Given the emotional nature of this problem, emotional intelligence (EI) is relevant to addressing this issue. EI is the ability to perceive, regulate, understand, and use emotions to solve problems. Thus, individuals with high EI scores may be pivotal in creating positive political discourse. Data were drawn from an ongoing study where 149 healthy adults completed EI scales to determine their EI skills and completed surveys to measure their political identity and bias. This study explored correlations among the EI and participants’ political identities. Results revealed liberals were shown to have higher Ability EI scores, as opposed to Trait EI scores, while conservatives scored higher in Trait EI scores versus Ability EI. By broadening our understanding of how political preferences relate to EI, our hope is to foster calmer and more constructive communication across American society. Now more than ever, research into the ways Republicans and Democrats emotionally assess social issues is necessary to begin to heal our fractured nation.