The MSCEIT (pronounced “Mis-keet”) was developed by the originators of the psychological theory of Emotional Intelligence, Professors Peter Salovey (Dean at Yale University) and Jack Mayer (University of New Hampshire), with their colleague Dr David Caruso (Yale University). The MSCEIT is the only published performance measure of Emotional Intelligence abilities.


Research has consistently demonstrated that people are not good estimators of their own or others’ intelligence (e.g., Paulhus, Lysy, & Yik, 1998). There is a paradox in asking people to self-rate their own Emotional Intelligence ability – they need to have enough emotional intelligence to know how emotionally intelligent they are! Similarly, while 360° ratings are very useful indicators of perceptions and behaviour, they are not a useful index of internal, emotional skills. This is particularly true for those in leadership roles, as it has been demonstrated that the inaccuracy of self- and 360°-rated Emotional Intelligence increases the higher the leader’s job level (Sala, 2001).

The MSCEIT directly tests performance instead of asking individuals what their self-rated Emotional Intelligence is. It asks people to solve emotional problems and tests their actual hard emotional intelligence skills. The MSCEIT provides additional data relative to measures of personality, leadership competencies, and cognitive abilities. It provides a unique and useful source of information about a person’s ability to pick up emotional cues, integrate emotions with thinking, motivate and inspire others, effectively strategise about emotionally laden situations (e.g., situations of conflict or low team morale), and manage their own and others’ emotions.


The Mayer, Salovey, Caruso Emotional Intelligence Test Detail

MSCEIT measures the capacity to reason using feelings, and the capacity of feelings to enhance thought. The authors of MSCEIT define emotional intelligence more specifically as the ability to perceive emotions, to access and generate emotions to assist thought, to understand emotions and emotional knowledge, and to reflectively regulate emotions so they promote emotional and intellectual growth. MSCEIT is an ability-based scale that measures how well people perform tasks and solve emotional problems as opposed to relying on an individual’s subjective assessment of their perceived emotional skills.

MSCEIT was developed from an intelligence-testing tradition formed by the emerging scientific understanding of emotions and their function and from the first published ability measure specifically intended to measure emotional intelligence, namely Multifactor Emotional Intelligence Scale (MEIS).

In general, the abilities measured by MSCEIT are distinct in relation to other personality scales, scales of academic intelligence, and other similar tools. That is, no other test or combination of tests captures what MSCEIT measures. Its wide applicability can provide information of value in corporate, educational, clinical, medical, and research settings.

MSCEIT is versatile in business environments; for instance, it can assist in the process of hiring emotionally intelligent, potentially successful personnel, and by making the employee recruitment and selection process more reliable and efficient. MSCEIT can also be used with current employees to evaluate their ongoing level of functioning and well-being, and as a tool for gauging the impact and effectiveness of organisational training.

MSCEIT has the flexibility of being administered individually or to a group. Group administration may be more appropriate if MSCEIT is being used as part of the selection process, as a pre-screening tool or as a team development or leadership tool.

User Qualification

MSCEIT may be easily administered and scored by professionals that adhere to relevant assessment standards. Individuals without formal psychological training and professional affiliations need to be trained and certified to use the MSCEIT by Evidence Based Psychology Pty Ltd. MSCEIT is classified as a B-level instrument, which requires that, as a minimum, the user has completed courses in tests and measurement at a university and/or has completed the MSCEIT certification.


Normative data for MSCEIT is based on data collected from over 50 research sites from diverse geographic locations. The majority of the data came from U.S sites, but several other countries also participated in data collection including Australia, Canada, India, Philippines, Scotland, Slovenia, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Switzerland, and United Kingdom. The normative data for MSCEIT is a compilation of data from three samples. The combined total of these three samples creates a normative base of 5000 respondents, consisting of individuals of both genders who are 17 years of age and older.


Convenient and easy scoring options are available depending on the mode of administration. Scoring options include mail-in or fax-in services for paper and- pencil administrations and online scoring services for MSCEIT Online administrations.

MSCEIT responses are computer scored, allowing for fast generation of all the scores as well as a graphical and textual description of the obtained results. Each scoring option generates an identical report type:

The Personal Summary Report is a 35-page graphical format that yields a Total Emotional Intelligence score as well as two Area scores. There are also four branch scores, and finally, scores for eight individual tasks are reported. A detailed explanation of each of these 15 scores is provided throughout the report. Also included are the results for the Supplemental scores, converted percentile scores, and an item response table. This report is designed to be viewed only by the qualified professional.

Scientific Validation

MSCEIT was developed using rigorous test development procedures. Reliability and validity data provide empirical justification for MSCEIT’s use.

  • Face validity is readily apparent in the tasks employed by the test
  • Content validity is also strong, as the scale items provide a good representation of the Four Branch Model (see page 6)
  • Findings to date point to suitable construct validity and unique predictive validity


MSCEIT is a 141-item performance scale that measures how well people perform tasks rather than asking them for their own assessment of their emotional sensitivity. Responses to MSCEIT represent actual abilities at solving emotional problems; this means that scores are relatively unaffected by self-concept, response set, emotional state, and other confounds. The theory of emotional intelligence is based on several key ideas, and through empirical study and research the Four-Branch Model of emotional intelligence was established. MSCEIT provides 15 main scores: Total EI score, two Area scores, four Branch scores, and eight Task scores. In addition to these 15 scores, there are three Supplemental scores.

These are as follows:

  • Total Emotional Intelligence Score – This score provides an overall index of the respondent’s emotional intelligence.
  • Area Scores – An Experiential Emotional Intelligence score provides an index of the respondent’s ability to perceive emotional information, to relate it to other sensations such as color and taste, and to use it to facilitate thought. A Strategic Emotional Intelligence score provides an index of the respondent’s ability to understand emotional information and use it strategically for planning and self-management.
  • Branch Scores – A Perceiving Emotions score indicates the degree to which the respondent can identify emotion in himself or herself and others. A Facilitating Thinking score indicates the degree to which the respondent can use his or her emotions to improve thinking. An Understanding Emotions score indicates how well the respondent understands the complexities of emotional meanings, emotional transitions, and emotional situations. An Emotional Management score registers how well the respondent is able to manage emotions in his or her own life and in the life of others.
  • Task Scores – These correspond to the eight tasks of MSCEIT. Throughout the Faces Task, the respondent is asked to identify how a person feels based on his or her facial expression. The Pictures Task involves determining the emotions that are being expressed in music, art, and in the environment around the respondent.

The Sensations Task is measured by a task in which the respondent is asked to compare certain emotions to different sensations, such as light, colour, and temperature. The Facilitation Task measures the respondent’s knowledge of how moods interact and support thinking and reasoning. The Blends Task assesses the respondent’s ability to analyse blends of emotions into their parts and, conversely, to assemble simple emotions together with complex feelings.

The Changes Task measures the test taker’s knowledge of emotional “chains”, or how emotions transition from one to another (e.g., how anger can change into rage).

In the Emotion Management Task, the respondent’s ability to incorporate his or her own emotions into decision making is measured. The Emotional Relations Task measures the respondent’s ability to incorporate emotions into decision-making that involves other people.

  • Supplemental Scores – These measures provide additional information to help understand the respondent’s response style.

The Scatter score provides an indication of the amount of fluctuation between a respondent’s Task scores.

The Positive-Negative Bias score provides a measure of an individual’s tendency to respond to pictorial stimuli with either positive or negative emotions.

Readability analysis conducted using the Dale-Chall procedure provides a North American eighth-grade reading level.

Four Branch Model of Emotional Intelligence


  Branch Name Brief Description of  Skills  Involved
Emotional Intelligence Recognising Emotions The ability to perceive emotions in oneself and

others as well as in objects, art, stories, music,

and other stimuli.


Using Emotions The ability to generate, use, and feel emotion as

necessary to communicate feelings or employ

them in other cognitive processes.


Understanding Emotions The ability to understand emotional information,

how emotions combine and progress

through relationship transitions, and to appreciate

such emotional meanings

Managing Emotions The ability to be open to feelings, and to modulate

them in oneself and others so as to

promote personal understanding and growth.