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Emotional Intelligence Division

The Emotional Intelligence Division, directed by Marc Brackett, was created at the Zigler Center in 2005 in order to integrate scientific research on emotions and emotion-related skills with traditional research on children’s cognitive and social development and on teacher effectiveness. This division focuses on (a) the theory and measurement of emotional intelligence and emotional literacy, (b) links between emotion-related abilities and the quality of interpersonal relationships, well being, and academic/work performance, and (c) examining whether emotion-based skills training can improve the performance and lives of students and teachers. Much of this research has been extended to different nations, including England, Spain, Croatia, India, and Japan.
Two theoretical frameworks guide the division: the ability model of emotional intelligence (EI), originally conceptualized by Peter Salovey and Jack Mayer, which focuses on the mental capacity to process emotion-laden information to solve problems, and the knowledge-based model of emotional literacy (EL), developed by Marc Brackett, Susan Rivers (Zigler Center graduate), and Marvin Maurer, which focuses on the acquisition of emotion-related skills. Research has shown that EI and EL are associated with success in many areas of life, including academic achievement, social relationships, and work performance among children and adults. Nonetheless, training in this area is not included in most school curricula. To address this educational oversight, Brackett and his colleagues have designed training programs for teachers and administrators as well as elementary and middle school students. These programs are field-tested, evidence-based, and grounded in years of psychological and educational theory.

The overarching goal of the programs is to cultivate knowledge pertaining to five emotion-related skills, including the recognition, understanding, labeling, expression, and regulation of emotion (RULER). The programs for teachers and administrators provide resources to enhance the ability to employ these emotion-related skills at work and in daily life with an emphasis on improving relationships with students and all the various stakeholders in the school community. The programs for students teach social and emotional skills that are vital to healthy development, quality social interactions, and academic success. Specifically, the student programs are designed to enhance vocabulary, comprehension, abstract reasoning, creative writing, critical thinking, self and social awareness, empathy, and problem-solving skills.

The projects undertaken in the Emotional Intelligence Division of the Zigler Center focus on scientific investigations of the effectiveness of the intervention programs as well as the dissemination of program-related information to researchers and school administrators. During the past year, the division has implemented these programs in dozens of schools in the US as well as in England and has begun filming a documentary on the programs, which will serve to inform schools and the community about the research.