Academic journal article International Journal of Linguistics

The Relationship between Iranian EFL Learners' Emotional Intelligence and Their Performance on TOEFL/PBT

Academic journal article International Journal of Linguistics

The Relationship between Iranian EFL Learners' Emotional Intelligence and Their Performance on TOEFL/PBT

Article excerpt


The present study elaborated the relationship between Iranian higher intermediate EFL learners' Emotional Intelligence (EI) and their performance on TOEFL/PBT. Advancement in emotional traits and self-awareness about ones likes and dislikes might increase motivation in learners. Furthermore, most English instructors, who prepare their students for TOEFL test, may emphasize more on their students' EI just as their capabilities in English skills. The participants in this study (104 males and females) were selected from Islamic Azad University (Tehran, Mashhad, and Bojnord Branches), Payam-e-Noor University (Bojnord Branch), Guilan University; Shahid Beheshti University; and Iran University of Science and Technology, regardless of their major, age, and gender. Participants took a TOEFL/PBT and the Bar-On EQ questionnaire. Results indicated a significant and positive relationship between EQ and scores on TOEFL/PBT.

Keywords: Emotional Intelligence (EI), Intelligent Quotient (IQ), Bar-On Questionnaire

1. Introduction

The study is inspired by what the researchers believe to be one of the recent and growing areas in learning languages. Compared with Intelligent Quotient (IQ) which has been defined by many scholars since ancient time, Emotional Quotient (EQ) has just been introduced by Daniel Goleman in 1995. Although emotions of human being were the center of attention in other fields such as art and literature, it has just been accepted in the educational environment. Besides, it is not still under use thoroughly and it is not known to all the people.

Emotional Intelligence (EI) has been defined by its father, Goleman (no date) as "...abilities such as being able to motivate oneself and persist in the face of frustrations; to control impulse and delay gratification; to regulate one's moods and keep distress from swamping the ability to think ; to empathize and to hope" (p.34). The current study tries to find any kind of relationship between the total scores of EQ and TOEFL/PBT of a person as well as their subcategories.

2. Literature Review

2.1 General Scope and History of Intelligence

The concept of intelligent first identified by Spearman (1904) as Dickens (2007) stated: Spearman (1904) first popularized the observation that individuals who do well on one type of mental task also tend to do well on many others. For example, people who are good at recognizing patterns in sequences of abstract drawings are also good at quickly arranging pictures in order to tell a story, telling what three dimensional shapes drawn in two dimensions will look like when rotated, tend to have large vocabularies and good reading comprehension, and are quick at arithmetic. This pattern of moderate to strong positive correlations across the whole spectrum of mental abilities led Spearman to hypothesize the existence of a general mental ability similar to the common notion of intelligence. (p.1)

According to Schaie (2001), in spite of variety in the definitions for intelligence, most agree that intelligence has to do with the related capacities of: "i.) Learning from experience. ii.) Adapting to ones environment" (p.2). IQ is grounded in various factors; among these, congenital factors were always known as the most important elements. The literature on IQ heritability is huge and controversial. But according to Schaie (2001) IQ is innate. He adds:

Heritability in IQ has been estimated between 0.50 and 0.72 (= 50% - 72% of variability is due to genes). The best evidence comes from twin studies (i.e. Bouchard, 1984) - IQ of identical twins reared apart (even in very different circumstances) correlate almost as high as those of identical twins reared together-Honzik (1957) showed almost no correlation between IQ of adopted children and IQ of their adoptive parents. (p.4)

Despite the importance of heredity, environmental conditions are made a big change in IQ scores. "Children reared under conditions of little human contact can show huge improvements (30-50 IQ points) after being placed in normal environments" (ibid, p. …

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