Jeremy Yip and Stéphane Côté have published an interesting new study in Psychological Science. They examined the effect that emotional intelligence had on risk aversion. They found that people with lower levels of emotional intelligence tended to react to "unrelated stressors" by making risk averse choices. Those with higher levels of emotional intelligence were willing to take more risk. Yip tells Knowledge@Wharton: “By identifying the source of their emotions, those with high emotional intelligence realize whether their emotions are irrelevant to the decisions they need to make. As a result, they don’t experience that spillover effect. They might feel anxious, but they don’t let it affect their decision.”
Interestingly, in one of their experiments, they actually induced the subjects to think a bit about what might be causing them anxiety. In that situation, the people with a lower level of emotional intelligence behaved no differently than those with higher levels of emotional intelligence. Côté explains: “By analyzing the source of the emotions and discovering that these
emotions are, in fact, unrelated to the decisions we are making, we may
de-bias our decisions."
As a result of these findings, the authors suggest asking three questions to "de-bias" our decisions in stressful situations: “How do I feel right now? What is causing me to feel that way? And are my feelings relevant to the decision I need to make?”