The abuse of intelligence tests to achieve political ends is only one facet of the controversy. On the scientific side, the very definition of the term ‘intelligence’ remains contested. There are some scientists who even question the very existence of intelligence, with an underlying belief in the deterministic and behavioural nature of human existence. Since most psychologists believe intelligence to be a fixed quantity, it could induce a sense of helplessness in those scoring low in intelligence tests, with negative implications for self-esteem. Adding fuel to the controversy are such publications as The Bell Curve: Intelligence and Class Structure in American Life by Richard J. Herrnstein and Charles Murray, which attempt to classify society in a hierarchy, with correlations between economic class and higher intelligence. In this context,
“intelligence tests have been used to support nativistic theories in which intelligence is viewed as a qualitatively unique faculty with a relatively fixed quantity. Historically, proponents of nativistic theories have succeeded in persuading those with political power that standardized tests reliably measure intelligence; and these tests have been used to make important decisions about vast numbers of individuals including immigrants, U.S. soldiers during the first World War, normal school children, and the developmentally disabled.” (Schlinger, 2003, p.16)
In recent decades, Daniel Goleman’s seminal work on Emotional Intelligence has shaken up entrenched beliefs about human intelligence. In his popular original work of the same title, Goleman points out that academically brilliant students in school and college do not eventually go on to occupy positions of high office in the academia, corporate world or other professional realms. To the contrary, an individual’s success in professional life is only loosely correlated with his/her scores in school and college. Spurred by the missing factor in this equation, Goleman constructed the concept of Emotional Intelligence as a more potent and valuable aid for success in worldly affairs. The term Emotional Intelligence might seem an oxymoron at first, based on traditional views about the dichotomy of reason and emotion. But what this term suggests is that emotion, as opposed to being antagonistic to reason is in fact a vital component of it. But many standardized tests employed by psychologists and educationalists are inadequate in measuring this more important component in a pupil’s overall personality make-up. (Keith et. al., 2001, p.89)
It is in recognition of the inadequacies in traditional intelligence tests that the Geneva Appraisal Questionnaire was conceived and drawn up in 2002. The BarOn Emotional Quotient Inventory that preceded it was another testing product that was at the forefront of the EI movement. But it should be noted that since EI testing is far more qualitative than IQ tests, there is no consensus among psychologists as to what parameters should be measured and how they should be measured. Also, in addition to the two models “there are many less well known instruments available on-line, many of which claim to produce an Emotion Quotient (EQ) for individuals engaging with the tests, though very few of the instruments include a visible scoring system or the type of information that is required to validate or give credibility to the assessment”. (Wakeman, 2006, p.72)
Till date, the most exhaustive testing model to have come up is the Emotional Intelligence Questionnaire (EIQu), which places “individuals into one of twelve sectors on a polar graph and identifies their strengths and weaknesses on a range of EI factors. It is envisaged that the EIQu will become a significant means of measuring EI for the purposes of psychometric testing, recruitment and educational psychology”. (Wakeman, 2006, p.71) Since EIQu is a recent invention it remains to be seen well how it holds up as a viable method of testing in the future. It is also unknown yet if it will plug the gaps in existing intelligence testing models. EQ tests are also vulnerable to manipulation and dishonesty on part of the examined. Identifying these potential weakness, new psychometric tests are incorporating mechanisms to check for consistency in the answers given by participants.