Posted on August 25, 2014

Emotional Intelligence Among Black and White Job Applicants

Daniel Whitman et al., Wiley Online, April 23, 2014


The present work examines applicant reactions to a test of emotional intelligence (EI) using an organizational sample of 334 job applicants. Results indicated that Blacks had higher face validity and opportunity to perform perceptions of EI than Whites, but that Whites performed significantly better than Blacks on the EI test. Although exploratory analyses revealed that test performance was positively related to test reactions, we also found that the magnitude of this relationship differed between Blacks and Whites for opportunity to perform perceptions. We discuss our findings by offering practical advice for organizations considering or using a measure of EI for selection and assessment.

[Editor’s Note: It has been known since 1920 that American blacks’ average intelligence is approximately 15 IQ points lower than whites’. In 2002, Richard Lynn advanced the theory that blacks are more psychopathic than whites and that this is one of the factors that accounts for their high rates of crime. Some of the evidence in this paper on emotional intelligence supports Prof. Lynn’s thesis.]

Emotional intelligence is defined by Coleman (2008) as the ability to monitor one’s own and other people’s emotions, to discriminate between different emotions and label them appropriately, and to use emotional information to guide thinking and behavior. This ability is weak in psychopaths, so according to Richard Lynn’s thesis backs would be expected to have lower emotional intelligence than whites. This is what the authors found in a study of 209 black and 125 white applicants for the job of fire fighters, who were tested with the 16-item Wong and Law Emotional Intelligence Scale. Whites scored significantly higher than blacks at 6.41 (Sd 0.51) than blacks (6.14 (Sd 0.81), with the difference equal to approximately a third of a standard deviation (d = .32).]