Journal of Nonverbal Behavior

, 35:305 | Cite as

Assessing the Ability to Recognize Facial and Vocal Expressions of Emotion: Construction and Validation of the Emotion Recognition Index

  • Klaus R. SchererEmail author
  • Ursula Scherer
Original Paper


Despite extensive research on emotional expression, there are few validated tests of individual differences in emotion recognition competence (generally considered as part of nonverbal sensitivity and emotional intelligence). This paper reports the development of a rapid test of emotion recognition ability, the Emotion Recognition Index (ERI), consisting of two subtests: one for facial and one for vocal emotion recognition. The rationale underlying the test’s construction, item selection, and analysis are described and a major validation study with more than 3,500 professional candidates, providing stable norms, is reported. Additional analyses concern differences for gender, age, and education, as well as correlations with cognitive intelligence and personality factors. Moreover, a separate validation study with a student sample reports the correlations of the ERI with some of the major published tests in this area, demonstrating satisfactory construct validity. Correlations between ERI scores and the position of candidates in the organizational hierarchy suggest that recognition competence might be might contribute to predicting career advancement.


Emotional intelligence Emotional competence Personality Facial/vocal emotion expression Emotion recognition Test development 



The authors gratefully acknowledge important contributions and comments by Paul Ekman, Katja Schlegel, and Olivier Rosset (who programmed the Flash version as part of the Swiss Center of Affectice Science’s web experimentation program).

Supplementary material

10919_2011_115_MOESM1_ESM.doc (390 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOC 390 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Swiss Centre for Affective SciencesUniversity of GenevaGenevaSwitzerland
  2. 2.SIGMA AssessmentGenevaSwitzerland

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