The new White Paper by the Six Seconds EQ Network found that there is a correlation between age and emotional intelligence — but it’s slight and not true for all parts of EQ. Previous research by BarOn and Salovey & Mayer also showed that EQ increases with age. What’s new here is that on the Six Seconds Emotional Intelligence Assessment there were some areas that did not increase.
Researcher Lorenzo Fariselli of Six Seconds Italia (www.6seconds.it) conducted the analysis,
“The finding suggests emotional intelligence is a developing ability; it is likely that accumulated life experiences contribute to EQ.”
The study also challenges many popular beliefs about “with age comes wisdom” and the widespread perception of a “generation gap” in motivation and altruism. The relationship between EQ and age is very slight – meaning there while a majority of older people are higher in EQ, there are many young people with higher EQ scores than their older counterparts. In addition, some of the aspects of EQ can only be developed through training. So in an era where emotional intelligence is a critical competence for success, this finding shows that young people committed to their own development have a edge.
Massimiliano Ghini is President of Six Seconds Italia and a leading authority on using emotional intelligence to improve business results. His hypothesis of the link between “Give Yourself” and age comes from the responsibilities of adulthood:
“For many people, adulthood and aging introduce increased need and opportunity to connect with and lead others – for example engaging a team or developing an organization’s vision. As people age they have more opportunities to practice these skills.”
Again, the link between age and Give Yourself is modest – so age is no guarantee for vision and wisdom.