University of Worcester Worcester Research and Publications

Does Emotional Intelligence have a “Dark” Side? A Review of the Literature

Davis, Sarah K. ORCID: and Rachel, Nichols (2016) Does Emotional Intelligence have a “Dark” Side? A Review of the Literature. Frontiers in Psychology, 7 (1316). pp. 1-10. ISSN Online: 1664-1078

Davis&Nichol_DarkSideEI_FINAL.pdf - Published Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution.

Download (810kB) | Preview


Emotional intelligence (EI) was once touted as the ‘panacea’ for a satisfying and successful life. Consequently, there has been much emphasis on developing interventions to promote this personal resource in applied settings. Despite this, a growing body of research has begun to identify particular contexts when EI does not appear helpful and may even be deleterious to a person, or those they have contact with, suggesting a ‘dark’ side to the construct. This paper provides a review of emergent literature to examine when, why and how trait and ability EI may contribute to negative intrapersonal (psychological ill-health; stress reactivity) and interpersonal outcomes (emotional manipulation; antisocial behaviour). Negative effects were found to operate across multiple contexts (health, academic, occupational) however these were often indirect, suggesting that outcomes depend on pre-existing qualities of the person. Literature also points to the possibility of ‘optimal’ levels of EI – both within and across EI constructs. Uneven profiles of self-perceptions (trait facets) or actual emotional skills contribute to poorer outcomes, particularly emotional awareness and management. Moreover, individuals who possess high levels of skill but have lower self-perceptions of their abilities fare worse that those with more balanced profiles. Future research must now improve methodological and statistical practices to better capture EI in context and the negative corollary associated with high levels.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information:

This document is protected by copyright and was first published by Frontiers. All rights reserved. It is reproduced with permission.
The full-text of the online published article can be accessed via the Official URL.

Uncontrolled Discrete Keywords: emotional intelligence, dark side, psychological health, stress reactivity, emotional manipulation, deception, dark triad, antisocial behavior
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Divisions: College of Business, Psychology and Sport > School of Psychology
Related URLs:
Copyright Info: Open Access journal
Depositing User: Sarah Davis
Date Deposited: 01 Sep 2016 11:52
Last Modified: 07 Apr 2022 04:00

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item
Worcester Research and Publications is powered by EPrints 3 which is developed by the School of Electronics and Computer Science at the University of Southampton. More information and software credits.