Although there are hundreds of programs in thousands of schools that claim to enhance some aspect of emotional intelligence (EI), research has yet to show that it can in fact be enhanced. This study used proven behavioral self-modification techniques in semester-long Psychology of Adjustment courses to help undergraduate college students improve their EI. Students used the techniques in their own self-change projects, choosing EI topics such as assertiveness, empathy, self-regard, and emotion management. The course also included instruction on EI, as well as on theory and strategies from rational emotive therapy. Students in the treatment group (n=79) and control group (n=74) took three validated EI tests in the beginning of the semester, and again at the end. In a MANOVA including change scores (pretest scores subtracted from posttest scores) on all three EI tests, the treatment group showed significantly more improvement (F = 3.236, p = .001) than the control group, suggesting their participation in the course contributed to an overall improvement in EI. The treatment group improved significantly more than the control group on some subscales of the Mayer, Salovey and Caruso Emotional Intelligence Test (MSCEIT), the Bar-On Emotional Quotient Inventory (EQ-i), and the Emotional Competence Inventory (ECI). These tests are based on the three more prominent and researched models of EI in the literature. These are encouraging findings for educational programs that seek to improve EI.
Chang, Kelly B.T., "Can We Teach Emotional Intelligence?" (2006). Faculty Publications - Psychology Department. 45.