Identifying Emotional Intelligence and Metacognitive
Awareness among University Students
, Byzova Valentina M.
Perikova Ekaterina I.
Saint-Petersburg University 1,2
The aim of this study was to research the attitude between emotional intelligence and
metacognitive awareness in a group of university students. The participants were 178 students
from the departments of the Psychology and Biology of Saint-Petersburg University. There were
using questionnaire: EmIn Questionnaire by Lyusin D., Metacognitive Awareness Inventory (MAI)
by Schraw G. & Dennison R.S. adapted in Russian by A. Karpov & I. Skityaeva, the Self-organization
of Activity Questionnaire by E. Mandrikova, The differential reflectivity test by D.A. Leontiev and
E. N. Osin. Means, standard deviations, regression, correlation, factor analysis were used to
analyze the data. Results indicated a significant positive correlation between emotional
intelligence (EI) subscales (“Interpersonal EI”, “Intrapersonal EI”, “Emotion Comprehension”,
“Emotion Comprehension”) and metacognitive awareness. The results of multiple regression
analysis using meta-cognition as predicted to subscale “Interpersonal EI” and “Systemic
reflection”. These results mean that the Metacognitive knowledge and Metacognitive regulation
is influenced by the ability to understand and control other people's emotions of the university
students. The strength of the correlation indicates that a generally high level of metacognitive
awareness is related to a high level of emotional intelligence.
This work was supported by RFBR Grant 18-013-00256А.
Keywords: meta-cognition, interpersonal emotional intelligence, reflectivity, self-organization of
Emotional intelligence (hereafter EI) is one of the most recently defined categories of intelligence
in the field of psychology. The popularity of EI research relates to the concept of intelligence (IQ).
Studies of intelligence show that high IQ level by itself could not ensure success in every aspect
of life (Dulewicz & Higgs, 2000). This fact gives an opportunity for EI research. According to the
literature, EI has become one of the major evaluation targets for an individual’s workplace
outcomes including successes and failures. This has been especially valued in business over the
past 20 years. American psychologists Salovey and Mayer were the pioneers in the study of EI
(Hahn at all., 2013). They distinguished EI as the factor of ‘social intelligence’ which has been also
defined as the ability to understand and manage people (Salovey & Mayer, 1990). Nowadays EI
has different definitions in conceptualizing EI, which was analyzed by Gayathri and Meenakshi
(2013). The most popular definition is how an individual manages his/her own emotions and the
emotions of others. Gayathri and Meenakshi (2013) believed the concept of EI needs to be
researched more thoroughly in order to repel the challenges to its efficacy as a concept. The
authors addressed the need for simplified definitions and approaches used to correctly evaluate
the emotional skill set of a person.
In this study, we use the definition, that EI is an ability for management and comprehension
of one’s own and other’s emotions. Lusin (2006, 2014) describe EI, as cognitive ability and does
not include it in a personal structure. Personality traits could influence emotional understanding,
but personality traits are not the components of emotional understanding. EI includes
Interpersonal EI, Intrapersonal EI, Emotion Comprehension, Emotion Management.
The first appearance of the concept of metacognition and its entrance into the field of cognitive
psychology was through the work of John Flavell at the beginning of the 1970s (Flavell, 1976).
Metacognition is defined as an activity of monitoring and controlling one’s cognition (Yong & Fry,
2008). It can further be defined as what we know about our cognitive processes and how we use
these processes in order to learn and remember (Ormrod, 2004). The main function of
metacognition is the regulation of cognitive processes using knowledge of cognitive patterns.
Researchers further conceptualize metacognition by breaking down metacognition into two
subcomponents: metacognitive knowledge and metacognitive regulation (Weinert & Kluwe,
1987; Schraw & Dennison, 1994).
Metacognitive knowledge includes the reflexive understanding of the learning process and the
role of the subject. There are three types of metacognitive knowledge: declarative, procedural
and conditional (Schraw & Dennison, 1994; Schraw & Moshman, 1995). Shraw and Moshman
describe declarative knowledge as “knowledge about things”, procedural knowledge as “know
how to do things” and conditional knowledge as “knowledge about why and when to do
something” (Schraw & Moshman, 1995). Metacognitive awareness (hereafter MA) is needed in
order to have insight into metacognitive functioning at the conscious level (Duffy et al., 2015) The
expression of insight during these life situations reinforces the metacognitive skill.
Kholodnaya identified three levels of mental experience: cognitive, metacognitive and intentional
(Kholodnaya, 2012). According to her, MA is knowledge about self-intelligent and self-cognitive
resources, as a component of a self-determination potential. Rasshchepkina showed that MA is
a component of the self-regulation system of self-determination, as well as a component of
"metacognitive experience" (Rasshchepkina, 2015). Therefore, MA is an individual resource for
self-regulation of actions and decisions
Karpov defines metacognition as the leading form of the reflexive regulation of cognitive activity
(Karpov, 2018). The author suggests that the main function of metacognition is self-regulation,
and the main form of self-regulation is self-organization.
MA allows a person to plan, monitor and control the process of their own cognitive activities
(Schraw & Dennison, 1994). MA is one of the key elements necessary for the development of
student autonomy and independence. The results of the study showed the dependency between
individual metacognitive processes with intelligence (IQ) and learning as well as the dependency
between the level of development of intelligence (IQ) and the structural organization of
metacognitive processes (Wilson & Bai, 2010; Kelly & Ku, 2010).
Statement of the Problem
Practical results of research into MA and EI could be useful in the optimization of learning
activities. Individually, EI and metacognition have appeared in the general literature and have
been described as a mature topic for over 40 years (Torraco, 2005). The studies of Shields (2010)
and Wheatley (1999) explore the integrative relationship between EI and metacognition. The
integrative, review of typology, in particular the synthesis of the literature, identifies a convincing
argument to pursue the need for additional research into the influence of EI and metacognition.
University students use metacognitive strategies and skills, which they gain in High School and
form new ones (Ohtani & Hisasaka, 2018). By the end of their stay at University, students possess
improved self-organization and learning skills, creativity, and practical activities. EI also relates to
stress among students (Arora et al., 2011). Students of the medical university who achieved
higher EI scores were found to experience higher stress during passing “unfamiliar surgical
scenario-tasks” but were also more likely to be able to respond better after the surgical task was
completed than their peers with lower EI (Arora et al., 2011).
Empirical studies have shown that the development of self-regulation and metacognitive abilities
of students is one of the most significant factors affecting academic performance (Sellen et all.,
1997). Students with the high level of MA are more successful in learning activities (Wilson &, Bai,
2010), as well as in decision making in general because they are aware of effective learning
strategies. Despite the enormous information that experience sampling methodology provides
to us, not much is known about how individual differences in EI are reflected in MA.
The study aimed at answering the following question: Is there a significant relationship between
students’ EI and their metacognition?
The population of this study consisted of 178 students enrolled in Saint-Petersburg State
University (SPbU), departments of the Psychology and Biology in the academic
year 2017/2018, and represented the second level of study. A sample of 30 males and 148
females students were chosen from the population with an age range of 18-22 years.
Four instruments were used in the study (A), (B), (C) and (D).
(A) The Russian EI questionnaire (EmIn) developed by Lyusin (2006)
It consists of 46 items with a 4-point Likert scale response format, ranging from “completely
disagree” to “completely agree”. These items form four questionnaire scales: Interpersonal EI
(e.g., “I understand other people’s inner states without words”); Intrapersonal EI (e.g., “I know
what to do to improve my mood”); Emotion Comprehension (e.g., “Often, I can’t find the words
to describe my feelings to my friends”); Emotion Management (e.g., “If I hurt somebody’s
feelings, I don’t know how to restore a good relationship with them”); and Control of Expression
(e.g., “I could control my emotional behavior). The aggregate score of these scales provides the
assessment of General EI. The Cronbach’s alphas of the EmIn scales were reported to range from
0.84 to 0.89 (Lyusin & Ovsyannikova, 2015).
(B) Metacognitive Awareness Inventory (MAI) developed by Schraw and Dennison (1994) and
adapted in Russian by Karpov and Skityaeva (2005)
The MAI consists of 52 items rated on a five-point Likert scale. Both components of metacognition
(metacognitive knowledge and metacognitive regulation) are represented. There is only an MAI
total score of metacognitive awareness in the Russian variant of inventory. Higher scores
correspond to greater metacognitive knowledge and regulation.
The Self-Organization of Activity Questionnaire developed by Mandrikova with the
Purposefulness Index and Rationality Index (Mandrikova, 2007)
The scale is used for diagnosing the maturity of tactical planning and strategic goal-setting skills.
The questionnaire was made on the basis of the Time Structure Questionnaire TSQ (Bond &
Feather, 1988; Feather & Bond, 1983). There are questionnaire scales: “Presence of Purpose”,
"Persistence" scales, “Planning”, "Fixation", “Purposefulness”, "Self-Organization" scales and the
total score of Self-Organization of Activity. The Self-Organization of Activity Questionnaire
consists of 25 items rated on a seven-point Likert scale.
(C) Differential reflexivity test (DTR) constructed by Leontiev and Osin (2014)
This includes a 30-item questionnaire using a 4-point response scale, operationalizing Leontiev’s
3-component model of reflexive processes. According to the model, systemic reflection (a
tendency to look at oneself within the context of situations and life in general) is a productive
form of reflection conducive to dialogue with the world. DTR includes three scales: systemic
reflection; introspection; and quasi-reflection.
In this prospective study, these concepts were examined as integrated concepts of research of
integration between EI and metacognition. All quantitative data were analyzed using IBM SPSS
Statistics for Windows, version 19.
The instruments were presented to the participants in their regular classrooms by the
researchers who explained the purpose and procedures involved and assured the participants of
anonymity, stressing the confidentiality of their responses, which would be used solely for
research purposes. The question booklets were distributed and participants instructed in how to
complete them. On completion, the participants’ responses were scored by the researchers and
entered into the computer for statistical analysis.
At the first stage of the study, we calculated mean values of EI, metacognition, self-organization
of activity and reflexivity. Good scores obtained from all sub-scales of EI, including the
metacognition scale, the self-organization of activity and differential reflexivity.
Table 1. Descriptive Statistics of parameters of EI, metacognition, self-organization of activity and
Control of Expression
Presence of Purpose
Total score of Self-
Note: * EmIn scoring ranges: Interpersonal EI: 42,9±6,72. Intrapersonal EI: 42,2±8,25. Emotion
Comprehension: 43,1±7,14. Emotion Management: 42,0±7,63. Control of Expression: 10,1±3,14.
* MAI scoring ranges: 197,12±31,27
* DTR: Systemic reflection: 39,58±5,15. Introspection: 25,11±5,68. Quasi-reflection: 27,39±5,69.
* The Self-Organization of Activity Questionnaire: Planning: 17,1±5,71. Purposefulness:
32,8±7.04. Persistence 21,2±5,89. Fixation 20±5,47. Self-Organization±8,53±4,48. Presence of
Purpose 8,90±2,87. Total score of Self-Organization of Activity 108,5±17,3.
To explore the relationship between EI, metacognition, self-organization of activity and reflexivity
the correlation coefficients (Pearson’s rank) were calculated and demonstrated in table 2.
Table 2. Correlation between EI, metacognition self-organization of activity and reflexivity
Table 2 shows that all components of EI (intrapersonal EI, interpersonal EI, emotion
comprehension, emotion Management) are positively related to the reflection, purposefulness
and MA (p≤0.005) and negatively related to the quasi-reflection (p<0.05).
Table 3 shows the results of multiple regression analysis using metacognition as predicted to EI.
Table 3. Results of regression analyses predicting scores of metacognition EI
EI, self-organization of
activity and reflexivity
Interpersonal EI of
The results given in table 3 showed that the interpersonal EI, quasi-reflection and systemic
reflection were significant predictors of MA (R²=0.175, F=4.277, p=0.05). These results were
supported by the close moderate correlation between the third variables (r=0.671).
Approximately 17.8% of the variance of the student’s emotional knowledge was accounted for
Table 4. Factor analysis: rotated factor matrix
Total score of Self-Organization of Activity
Control of Expression
Kaiser-Meyer-Olkin Measure of Sampling Adequacy. 0,604
Bartlett's Test of Sphericity Approx. Chi-Square 2317,162
Factor analysis led to the identification of some latent variables (factors) which explain the links
between the questionnaires. After a varimax rotation, the 3 extended factors can be labels as
follows: emotional self-control and self-awareness; self-organization of activity; interpersonal EI,
The first-factor includes the scale of EI, MA, and scale of self-organization of activity
(“Purposefulness”). The second factor refers to scales of Self-Organization of Activity: „Total score
of Self-Organization of Activity“, „Planning”, “Fixation”, “Purposefulness”, “Self-Organization”.
The third factor is a binary scale “Interpersonal EI” – “Intrapersonal EI”. Finally, scales of
Differential reflexivity test have formed factor Reflexivity.
The concept of metacognition was introduced by Flavell in 1976 and his definitions of the main
elements of the concept are still in use (Kelly & Ku, 2010; Martinez & Davalos, 2016; Mahasneh
2014). Data about the relationship between metacognition and emotion are unfortunately
limited and focused almost exclusively on psychopathology and medicine (Matthews & Wells,
2004; Wells, 2000; Weng et al., 2011). The primary aim of this research was to investigate the
interconnection between EI and metacognition of university students. The results indicated that
all EI components are related positively to MA.
Results of our study mean that a generally higher level of MA, systemic reflection and
purposefulness are related to a higher level of EI. The process by which an individual manages
his/her own emotions and the emotions of others is often accompanied by a host of additional
or second order thoughts relevant for perceiving, metacognition and self-organization. A higher
level of quasi-reflection is associated with lower levels of EI.
Metacognition thoughts can play an important role in understanding psychological processes
relevant to EI. Our findings matched up with other results (Alavinia & Mollahossein, 2012) which
found a positive relationship between learners’ EI and their use of metacognitive strategies.
Sharei et al (2012) found that metacognition and EI contribute significantly to the prediction of
problem-solving ability. Our results are comparable with Pluzhnikov’s theoretical conception
which describes EI like a metacognitive ability: “EI is a special metacognitive ability, which consists
of a hierarchy of organized abilities of perception, understanding, and regulation of emotions in
different life situations” (Pluzhnikov, 2010).
The indicator of MA revealed a connection with the scales of self-organization of activity, which
could mean that MA has a function which reflects its role in the target self-regulation.
Understanding one’s own goals and setting them in accordance with the available opportunities
helps one to achieve results (Perikova & Bysova, 2018).
Results of our study mean that the regulation, monitoring, and control of cognitive activities are
influenced by the EI of university students.
From a theoretical standpoint, the following line of research is suggested for the future: (a) The
university needs to intensify its role in increasing the effectiveness of students’ metacognition
skills through training programs. (b) The researchers are recommended to conduct further
studies in a different university.
This paper was supported by RFBR Grant 18-013-00256А.
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