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Emotional Intelligence

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


Emotional Intelligence, also called EI and often measured as an Emotional Intelligence Quotient or EQ, describes an ability, capacity, or skill to perceive, assess, and manage the emotions of one's self, of others, and of groups. However, being a relatively new area, the definition of emotional intelligence is still in a state of flux. Some, such as John D. Mayer (2005a) prefer to distinguish emotional knowledge from emotional intelligence, as discussed below.

In 1920, E. L. Thorndike, at Columbia University, (Thorndike 1920), used the term "social intelligence" to describe the skill of getting along with other people. In 1975, Howard Gardner's The Shattered Mind, (Gardner 1975) began the formulation of the idea for "Multiple Intelligences" (he identifies eight intelligences, later two more are added), including both interpersonal intelligence and intrapersonal intelligence. Many psychologists, such as Gardner, believe that traditional measures of intelligence, such as the IQ test, fail to fully explain cognitive ability. (Smith 2002)

The term "emotional intelligence" appears to have originated with Wayne Payne (1985), but was popularized by Daniel Goleman (1995). Research on the concept originated with Peter Salovey and John "Jack" Mayer starting in the late 1980s. In 1990, their seminal paper (1990) defined the concept as an intelligence. Mayer and Salovey continue to research the concept. The term "emotional quotient" seems to have originated in an article by Keith Beasley (1987). There are numerous other assessments of emotional intelligence each advocating different models and measures.

Defining emotional intelligence


The distinction between intelligence and knowledge in the area of cognition (i.e. IQ) is very clear, where generally, psychological research demonstrates that IQ is a reliable measure of cognitive capacity, and is stable over time. In the area of emotion (i.e. EQ) that distinction between intelligence and knowledge is murky. Current definitions of EQ are inconsistent about what it measures: some (such as Bradberry and Greaves 2005) say that EQ is dynamic, it can be learned or increased; whereas others (such as Mayer) say that EQ is stable, and cannot be increased.

Emotional intelligence


Mayer and Salovey and emotional intelligence

They suggested that the capacity to perceive and understand emotions define a new variable in personality. The Mayer-Salovey model defines emotional intelligence as the capacity to understand emotional information and to reason with emotions. More specifically, they divide emotional intelligence abilities into four areas -- in their four branch model:



  1. The capacity to accurately perceive emotions.

  2. The capacity to use emotions to facilitate thinking.

  3. The capacity to understand emotional meanings.

  4. The capacity to manage emotions.

Goleman's five emotional competencies

Extending Gardner's multiple intelligence, Salovey proposed five categories when defining emotional intelligence. And Goleman(1995) adopted Salovey's definition which divides emotional intelligence into the following five emotional competencies:



  1. The ability to identify and name one's emotional states and to understand the link between emotions, thought and action.

  2. The capacity to manage one's emotional states — to control emotions or to shift undesirable emotional states to more adequate ones.

  3. The ability to enter into emotional states (at will) associated with a drive to achieve and be successful.

  4. The capacity to read, be sensitive to, and influence other people's emotions.

  5. The ability to enter and sustain satisfactory interpersonal relationships. (Goleman, 1995)

Measures of Emotional Intelligence


Some researchers believe EI is a cognitive ability just as is IQ (eg, Mayer & Salovey, 2000), while others believe it is a combination of perceived abilities and traits (e.g., Schutte et al. 1998). These opposing views have inspired two separate domains of inventories – ability-based measures, which focus on maximal performance, and mixed-model measures, which focus on typical performance (Mayer, Salovey, & Caruso, 2000; Petrides & Furnham, 2000). Maximal performance is an indication of the best cognitive performance a test-taker can achieve on a test, while typical performance indicates a test-taker’s performance under ordinary test conditions (Dennis, Sternberg, & Beatty, 2000).

Self-report measures of EI


There are several self-report measures of EI. One of the commercial products is called The Emotional Intelligence Appraisal by Bradberry and Greaves (2005c), is administered as a self- or 360-degree assessment of the emotional intelligence skills popularized by Goleman. The Emotional Intelligence Appraisal measures:

  • Personal competence, including:

    • Self-Awareness: Recognizing and understanding your emotions in the moment, as well as your tendencies across time and situation.

    • Self-Management: Using awareness of emotions to manage response to different situations and people.

  • Social competence, including:

    • Social Awareness: Understanding the perspectives of other people including their motivations, their emotions, and the meaning of what they do and say.

    • Relationship Management: Using awareness of one's own emotions and the emotions of others to manage relationships to a successful outcome.


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