Aug 31 / Iakovos Koukas

Emotional Intelligence and EQ

Emotional intelligence (EI), or else emotional quotient (EQ), is the ability of individuals to perceive, use, understand, manage, and handle emotions. It is the ability to recognize their own emotions and those of others, distinguish between different feelings, use emotional information to guide their thinking and behavior, adjust their emotions to adapt to their environments, communicate effectively, empathize with others, understand the intentions, motivations, and desires of other people, understand oneself, and one's feelings, fears, and motivations, overcome difficulties and prevent conflict. The term emotional intelligence appeared for the first time in a 1964 paper written by Michael Beldoch, but it gained popularity in 1995 with the bestselling book Emotional Intelligence, written by Daniel Goleman.

Goleman's mixed model outlines five primary emotional intelligence constructs: selfawareness (the ability to understand one's emotions, strengths, weaknesses, drives, values, and goals and identify their impact on others), self-regulation (the ability to control or redirect one's disruptive emotions and impulses and to adapt to changing circumstances), social skill (the ability to manage relationships to get along with others and moving people in the desired direction), empathy (the ability to consider other people's feelings when making decisions), and motivation (the ability to be driven to achieve and being aware of what motivates them).

Salovey and Mayer's ability model of emotional intelligence defines EI as "the capacity to reason about emotions, and of emotions, to enhance thinking. It includes the abilities to accurately perceive emotions, to access and generate emotions so as to assist thought, to understand emotions and emotional knowledge, and to reflectively regulate emotions so as to promote emotional and intellectual growth." Their model claims that emotional intelligence includes four types of abilities: perceiving emotions, which is the ability to identify and decode emotions in faces, pictures, voices, and cultural artifacts; and the ability to identify one's own emotions; using emotions, which is the ability to control emotions to ease several cognitive activities, such as thinking and problem-solving; understanding emotions, which is the ability to understand emotion language and to appreciate complex relationships among emotions; and managing emotions, which is the ability to control emotions in ourselves and others and manage emotions to achieve intended goals.

Emotional intelligence tests include the Mayer-Salovey-Caruso Emotional Intelligence Test (MSCEIT), an ability-based test that measures the four branches of Mayer and Salovey's EI model, and the Emotional and Social Competency Inventory (ESCI), which is based on an older instrument known as the Self-Assessment Questionnaire that involves having people who know the individual offer ratings of that person's abilities in several different emotional competencies.

Emotionally intelligent people are more likely to have greater performance and leadership skills at school or work, have a higher income, have greater physical and mental health, communicate more effectively with other people, forge stronger relationships at school, work and in their personal life, and be better connected to other people and the world around them.

There has been criticism on whether emotional intelligence is actual intelligence and whether it has complementary validity over Intelligence Quotient and the Big Five personality model, but analyses have found that measures of emotional intelligence hold some validity even when controlling for Intelligence Quotient and the Big Five Personality Model.