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Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence (YCEI)

Emotions Matter

This belief is the core of our work at YCEI. We conduct research and offer trainings that support people of all ages in developing emotional intelligence skills. We do this work because the well-being and sustainability of our society depends on each of us using our emotions wisely.

As a self-supporting unit within the Yale School of Medicine’s Child Study Center, our research and training is funded primarily through foundation and federal grants, corporate support, training revenue, and philanthropists. Our research is conducted in collaboration with experts in education, psychology, policy, and technology.

Our goal is to design effective approaches for supporting school communities in understanding the value of emotions, teaching the skills of emotional intelligence, and building and sustaining positive emotional climates in homes, schools, and workplaces.

We provide training to educational leaders, teachers, and school staff to support the systemic implementation of SEL (social and emotional learning) and foster those skills in all stakeholders in these communities, including in families and out-of-school time. We test and refine each element of our work, with the goal of leveraging emotions to create healthier and more equitable, innovative, and compassionate communities.


Through both science and practice, we determine how emotional intelligence can make a difference in the lives of children and adults. Our Center’s research in “basic” science has included the role of self-awareness in teacher decision making, the benefits of emotion regulation skills for creativity and adolescent coping, and connections among school climate, teacher engagement, and student academic performance.

We also have tested the impact of RULER. RULER, an acronym for the five skills of emotional intelligence (recognizing, understanding, labeling, expressing, and regulating) is the evidence-based approach to social and emotional learning developed at our Center. Evaluation research shows that RULER fosters a range of behaviors and shifts in school climate that are essential to positive youth development.

Research on the impact of RULER also informs educational practice and policy by demonstrating that emotional intelligence can improve leader, educator, and student outcomes in schools serving pre-K - 12 students. Together, our research deepens our understanding of the benefits of a range of complex feelings across human development and informs both the design and implementation of RULER.

Other specific outcomes among students and adults include:

  • Development of emotion skills
  • Fewer attention and learning problems
  • Greater social and leadership skills
  • Less anxiety and depression
  • Less stress and burnout
  • Better performance in school


Creating Emotionally Intelligent School Communities

In partnership with families and communities, schools play a critical role in supporting the social and emotional development of youth. This goes beyond teaching a set of skills by embedding social and emotional learning (SEL) into every aspect of daily school life. More than 20 years of research shows that SEL helps students achieve more academically and make better decisions.

RULER is a systemic approach to SEL developed at the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence. The Center works with both district-level and preK-12 school-level teams to help them understand the value of emotions, build the skills of emotional intelligence, and create and maintain positive emotional climates with RULER.