Beyond academic excellence: Does ability-based emotional intelligence and personality predict early clinical performance?

Activity: Talk or presentationOral presentation


Over the past decade, admissions committees at various medical schools have sought alternatives to traditional cognitive measures when selecting medical students. With communication skills, empathy, and interpersonal abilities increasingly valued and expected in health care, there has been a shifting focus to consider the emotional intelligence (EI) of applicants. Higher levels of EI have been associated with improved empathy in medical consultations, enhanced doctor-patient relationships and teamwork, improved clinical performance, and greater patient satisfaction. Furthermore, EI has been linked to academic success, social skills, job satisfaction, and improved interpersonal relations. In attempting to reduce emphasis of cognitive measures, Bond University recently incorporated ability-based EI and personality testing in the selection process for the 2018 cohort. The purpose of this study was to explore whether these non-cognitive abilities tested during selection could predict knowledge acquisition and clinical skills in the first year of study. Summary of Work: Applicants who satisfied early screening requirements were invited to complete the MSCEIT and 16PF. Candidates offered a position in the medical program following the interview stage (N = 126) were tracked during their first year of study, with outcomes relating to early clinical (tutor-rated history-taking assessment) and academic performance obtained for analysis. Summary of Results: Preliminary analyses revealed a significant positive relationship between EI levels and overall performance on the history taking assessment (r = .30). Higher EI was also significantly and positively correlated with ratings of communication skills (r = .39) and professional behaviour (r = .22). In terms of personality attributes, a significant inverse relationship was revealed between the 16PF factor ‘abstractedness’ and overall performance (r = -.29). Lower scores on abstractedness were also correlated with higher ratings of communication (r = -.33) and professional behaviour (r = .20). A significant positive relationship between the 16PF factor ‘sensitivity’ and professional behaviour was also revealed (r = .19). Additional results relating to academic performance are currently being analysed and will be presented. Discussion and Conclusions: Our preliminary findings reveal that pre-admission levels of EI were positively associated with performance in a Year 1 history taking assessment, providing early evidence that valuing these non-cognitive abilities in selection may have benefit.

Additional information

Annual Conference in Vienna Austria
PeriodAug 2019
Event titleThe Association for Medical Education in Europe (AMEE) Conference
Event typeConference
LocationVienna, AustriaShow on map
Degree of RecognitionInternational