Emotional Intelligence From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


Emotional intelligence (EI) or emotional quotient (EQ) is the capability of individuals to recognize their own, and other people’s emotions, to discriminate between different feelings and label them appropriately, to use emotional information to guide thinking and behavior, and to manage and/or adjust emotions to adapt environments or achieve one’s goal(s).[1] Although the term first appeared in a 1964 paper by Michael Beldoch, it gained popularity in the 1995 book by that title, written by the author, psychologist, and science journalist Daniel Goleman. Since this time Goleman’s 1995 theory has been criticized within the scientific community.

There are currently several models of EI. Goleman’s original model may now be considered a mixed model that combines what have subsequently been modeled separately as ability EI and trait EI. Goleman defined EI as the array of skills and characteristics that drive leadership performance.[2] The trait model was developed by Konstantin Vasily Petrides in 2001. It “encompasses behavioral dispositions and self perceived abilities and is measured through self report”.[3] The ability model, developed by Peter Salovey and John Mayer in 2004, focuses on the individual’s ability to process emotional information and use it to navigate the social environment.[4]

Studies have shown that people with high EI have greater mental health, job performance, and leadership skills although no causal relationships have been shown and such findings are likely to be attributable to general intelligence and specific personality traits rather than emotional intelligence as a construct. For example, Goleman indicated that EI accounted for 67% of the abilities deemed necessary for superior performance in leaders, and mattered twice as much as technical expertise or IQ.[5] Other research finds that the effect of EI on leadership and managerial performance is non-significant when ability and personality are controlled for,[6] and that general intelligence correlates very closely with leadership.[7] Markers of EI and methods of developing it have become more widely coveted in the past decade. In addition, studies have begun to provide evidence to help characterize the neural mechanisms of emotional intelligence.[8][9][10]

Criticisms have centered on whether EI is a real intelligence and whether it has incremental validity over IQ and the Big Five personality traits.[11] Review finds that, in most studies, poor research methodology has exaggerated the significance of EI.[



The term “emotional intelligence” seems first to have appeared in a 1964 paper by Michael Beldoch,[13][14] and in the 1966 paper by B. Leuner entitled Emotional intelligence and emancipation which appeared in the psychotherapeutic journal: Practice of child psychology and child psychiatry.[15]

In 1983, Howard Gardner‘s Frames of Mind: The Theory of Multiple Intelligences[16] introduced the idea that traditional types of intelligence, such as IQ, fail to fully explain cognitive ability. He introduced the idea of multiple intelligences which included both interpersonal intelligence (the capacity to understand the intentions, motivations and desires of other people) and intrapersonal intelligence (the capacity to understand oneself, to appreciate one’s feelings, fears and motivations).[17]

The term subsequently appeared in Wayne Payne’s doctoral thesis, A Study of Emotion: Developing Emotional Intelligence from 1985.[18]

The first published use of the term ‘EQ’ (Emotional Quotient) is an article by Keith Beasley in 1987 in the British Mensa magazine.[19][non-primary source needed][verification needed][citation needed]

In 1989 Stanley Greenspan put forward a model to describe EI, followed by another by Peter Salovey and John Mayer published in the same year.[20]

However, the term became widely known with the publication of Goleman‘s book: Emotional Intelligence – Why it can matter more than IQ[21] (1995). It is to this book’s best-selling status that the term can attribute its popularity.[22][23] Goleman has followed up with several further popular publications of a similar theme that reinforce use of the term.[24][25][26][27][28] To date, tests measuring EI have not replaced IQ tests as a standard metric of intelligence. Emotional Intelligence has also received criticism on its role in leadership and business success.[29]

The distinction between trait emotional intelligence and ability emotional intelligence was introduced in 2000.[30]


Emotional intelligence can be defined as the ability to monitor one’s own and other people’s emotions, to discriminate between different emotions and label them appropriately and to use emotional information to guide thinking and behavior.[1] Emotional intelligence also reflects abilities to join intelligence, empathy and emotions to enhance thought and understanding of interpersonal dynamics.[31] However, substantial disagreement exists regarding the definition of EI, with respect to both terminology and operationalizations. Currently, there are three main models of EI:

  1. Ability model
  2. Mixed model (usually subsumed under trait EI)[32][33]
  3. Trait model

Different models of EI have led to the development of various instruments for the assessment of the construct. While some of these measures may overlap, most researchers agree that they tap different constructs.

Specific ability models address the ways in which emotions facilitate thought and understanding. For example, emotions may interact with thinking and allow people to be better decision makers (Lyubomirsky et al. 2005).[31] A person who is more responsive emotionally to crucial issues will attend to the more crucial aspects of his or her life.[31] Aspects of emotional facilitation factor is to also know how to include or exclude emotions from thought depending on context and situation.[31] This is also related to emotional reasoning and understanding in response to the people, environment and circumstances one encounters in his or her day-to-day life.[31]

Ability model[edit]

Salovey and Mayer’s conception of EI strives to define EI within the confines of the standard criteria for a new intelligence.[34][35] Following their continuing research, their initial definition of EI was revised to “The ability to perceive emotion, integrate emotion to facilitate thought, understand emotions and to regulate emotions to promote personal growth.” However, after pursuing further research, their definition of EI evolved into “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.” [4]

The ability-based model views emotions as useful sources of information that help one to make sense of and navigate the social environment.[36][37] The model proposes that individuals vary in their ability to process information of an emotional nature and in their ability to relate emotional processing to a wider cognition. This ability is seen to manifest itself in certain adaptive behaviors. The model claims that EI includes four types of abilities:

  1. Perceiving emotions – the ability to detect and decipher emotions in faces, pictures, voices, and cultural artifacts—including the ability to identify one’s own emotions. Perceiving emotions represents a basic aspect of emotional intelligence, as it makes all other processing of emotional information possible.
  2. Using emotions – the ability to harness emotions to facilitate various cognitive activities, such as thinking and problem solving. The emotionally intelligent person can capitalize fully upon his or her changing moods in order to best fit the task at hand.
  3. Understanding emotions – the ability to comprehend emotion language and to appreciate complicated relationships among emotions. For example, understanding emotions encompasses the ability to be sensitive to slight variations between emotions, and the ability to recognize and describe how emotions evolve over time.
  4. Managing emotions – the ability to regulate emotions in both ourselves and in others. Therefore, the emotionally intelligent person can harness emotions, even negative ones, and manage them to achieve intended goals.

The ability EI model has been criticized in the research for lacking face and predictive validity in the workplace.[38] However, in terms of construct validity, ability EI tests have great advantage over self-report scales of EI because they compare individual maximal performance to standard performance scales and do not rely on individuals’ endorsement of descriptive statements about themselves.[39]


The current measure of Mayer and Salovey’s model of EI, the Mayer-Salovey-Caruso Emotional Intelligence Test (MSCEIT) is based on a series of emotion-based problem-solving items.[37][40] Consistent with the model’s claim of EI as a type of intelligence, the test is modeled on ability-based IQ tests. By testing a person’s abilities on each of the four branches of emotional intelligence, it generates scores for each of the branches as well as a total score.

Central to the four-branch model is the idea that EI requires attunement to social norms. Therefore, the MSCEIT is scored in a consensus fashion, with higher scores indicating higher overlap between an individual’s answers and those provided by a worldwide sample of respondents. The MSCEIT can also be expert-scored, so that the amount of overlap is calculated between an individual’s answers and those provided by a group of 21 emotion researchers.[37]

Although promoted as an ability test, the MSCEIT is unlike standard IQ tests in that its items do not have objectively correct responses. Among other challenges, the consensus scoring criterion means that it is impossible to create items (questions) that only a minority of respondents can solve, because, by definition, responses are deemed emotionally “intelligent” only if the majority of the sample has endorsed them. This and other similar problems have led some cognitive ability experts to question the definition of EI as a genuine intelligence.[citation needed]

In a study by Føllesdal,[41] the MSCEIT test results of 111 business leaders were compared with how their employees described their leader. It was found that there were no correlations between a leader’s test results and how he or she was rated by the employees, with regard to empathy, ability to motivate, and leader effectiveness. Føllesdal also criticized the Canadian company Multi-Health Systems, which administers the MSCEIT test. The test contains 141 questions but it was found after publishing the test that 19 of these did not give the expected answers. This has led Multi-Health Systems to remove answers to these 19 questions before scoring but without stating this officially.

Other measurements[edit]

Various other specific measures have also been used to assess ability in emotional intelligence. These measures include:

  1. Diagnostic Analysis of Non-verbal Accuracy[31] – The Adult Facial version includes 24 photographs of equal amount of happy,sad, angry, and fearful facial expressions of both high and low intensities which are balanced by gender. The tasks of the participants is to answer which of the four emotions is present in the given stimuli.[31]
  2. Japanese and Caucasian Brief Affect Recognition test[31] – Participants try to identify 56 faces of Caucasian and Japanese individuals expressing seven emotions such happiness, contempt, disgust, sadness, anger, surprise, and fear, which may also trail off for 0.2 seconds to a different emotion.[31]
  3. Levels of Emotional Awareness Scale[31] – Participants reads 26 social scenes and answers their anticipated feelings and continuum of low to high emotional awareness.[31]

Mixed model[edit]

The model introduced by Daniel Goleman[42] focuses on EI as a wide array of competencies and skills that drive leadership performance. Goleman’s model outlines five main EI constructs (for more details see “What Makes A Leader” by Daniel Goleman, best of Harvard Business Review 1998):

  1. Self-awareness – the ability to know one’s emotions, strengths, weaknesses, drives, values and goals and recognize their impact on others while using gut feelings to guide decisions.
  2. Self-regulation – involves controlling or redirecting one’s disruptive emotions and impulses and adapting to changing circumstances.
  3. Social skill – managing relationships to move people in the desired direction
  4. Empathy – considering other people’s feelings especially when making decision
  5. Motivation – being driven to achieve for the sake of achievement.

Goleman includes a set of emotional competencies within each construct of EI. Emotional competencies are not innate talents, but rather learned capabilities that must be worked on and can be developed to achieve outstanding performance. Goleman posits that individuals are born with a general emotional intelligence that determines their potential for learning emotional competencies.[43] Goleman’s model of EI has been criticized in the research literature as mere “pop psychology” (Mayer, Roberts, & Barsade, 2008).


Two measurement tools are based on the Goleman model:

  1. The Emotional Competency Inventory (ECI), which was created in 1999, and the Emotional and Social Competency Inventory (ESCI), a newer edition of the ECI was developed in 2007. The Emotional and Social Competency – University Edition (ESCI-U) is also available. These tools developed by Goleman and Boyatzis provide a behavioral measure of the Emotional and Social competencies.
  2. The Emotional Intelligence Appraisal, which was created in 2001 and which can be taken as a self-report or 360-degree assessment.[44]

Trait model[edit]

See also: Trait theory

Konstantinos Vasilis Petrides (“K. V. Petrides”) proposed a conceptual distinction between the ability based model and a trait based model of EI and has been developing the latter over many years in numerous publications.[30][45] Trait EI is “a constellation of emotional self-perceptions located at the lower levels of personality.”[45] In lay terms, trait EI refers to an individual’s self-perceptions of their emotional abilities. This definition of EI encompasses behavioral dispositions and self-perceived abilities and is measured by self report, as opposed to the ability based model which refers to actual abilities, which have proven highly resistant to scientific measurement. Trait EI should be investigated within a personality framework.[46] An alternative label for the same construct is trait emotional self-efficacy.

The trait EI model is general and subsumes the Goleman model discussed above. The conceptualization of EI as a personality trait leads to a construct that lies outside the taxonomy of human cognitive ability. This is an important distinction in as much as it bears directly on the operationalization of the construct and the theories and hypotheses that are formulated about it.[30]


There are many self-report measures of EI,[47] including the EQ-i, the Swinburne University Emotional Intelligence Test (SUEIT), and the Schutte EI model. None of these assess intelligence, abilities, or skills (as their authors often claim), but rather, they are limited measures of trait emotional intelligence.[45] One of the more comprehensive and widely researched measures of this construct is the Trait Emotional Intelligence Questionnaire (TEIQue), which was specifically designed to measure the construct comprehensively and is available in many languages.

The TEIQue provides an operationalization for the model of Petrides and colleagues, that conceptualizes EI in terms of personality.[48] The test encompasses 15 subscales organized under four factors: well-being, self-control, emotionality, and sociability. The psychometric properties of the TEIQue were investigated in a study on a French-speaking population, where it was reported that TEIQue scores were globally normally distributed and reliable.[49]

The researchers also found TEIQue scores were unrelated to nonverbal reasoning (Raven’s matrices), which they interpreted as support for the personality trait view of EI (as opposed to a form of intelligence). As expected, TEIQue scores were positively related to some of the Big Five personality traits (extraversion, agreeableness, openness, conscientiousness) as well as inversely related to others (alexithymia, neuroticism). A number of quantitative genetic studies have been carried out within the trait EI model, which have revealed significant genetic effects and heritabilities for all trait EI scores.[50] Two recent studies (one a meta-analysis) involving direct comparisons of multiple EI tests yielded very favorable results for the TEIQue.[33][51]

General effects[edit]

A review published in the journal of Annual Psychology found that higher emotional intelligence is positively correlated with:[31]

  1. Better social relations for children – Among children and teens, emotional intelligence positively correlates with good social interactions, relationships and negatively correlates with deviance from social norms, anti-social behavior measured both in and out of school as reported by children themselves, their own family members as well as their teachers.[31]
  2. Better social relations for adults – High emotional intelligence among adults is correlated with better self-perception of social ability and more successful interpersonal relationships while less interpersonal aggression and problems.[31]
  3. Highly emotionally intelligent individuals are perceived more positively by others – Other individuals perceive those with high EI to be more pleasant,socially skilled and empathic to be around.[31]
  4. Better family and intimate relationships – High EI is correlated with better relationships with the family and intimate partners on many aspects.
  5. Better academic achievement – Emotional intelligence is correlated with greater achievement in academics as reported by teachers but generally not higher grades once the factor of IQ is taken into account.[31]
  6. Better social relations during work performance and in negotiations – Higher emotional intelligence is correlated with better social dynamics at work as well as better negotiating ability.[31]
  7. Better psychological well-being.- Emotional intelligence is positively correlated with higher life satisfaction, self-esteem and lower levels of insecurity or depression. It is also negatively correlated with poor health choices and behavior.[31]

Criticisms of theoretical foundation[edit]

Cannot be recognized as form of intelligence[edit]

Goleman’s early work has been criticized for assuming from the beginning that EI is a type of intelligence or cognitive ability. Eysenck (2000)[52] writes that Goleman’s description of EI contains unsubstantiated assumptions about intelligence in general, and that it even runs contrary to what researchers have come to expect when studying types of intelligence:

“[Goleman] exemplifies more clearly than most the fundamental absurdity of the tendency to class almost any type of behavior as an ‘intelligence’… If these five ‘abilities’ define ’emotional intelligence’, we would expect some evidence that they are highly correlated; Goleman admits that they might be quite uncorrelated, and in any case if we cannot measure them, how do we know they are related? So the whole theory is built on quicksand: there is no sound scientific basis.”

Similarly, Locke (2005)[53] claims that the concept of EI is in itself a misinterpretation of the intelligence construct, and he offers an alternative interpretation: it is not another form or type of intelligence, but intelligence—the ability to grasp abstractions—applied to a particular life domain: emotions. He suggests the concept should be re-labeled and referred to as a skill.

The essence of this criticism is that scientific inquiry depends on valid and consistent construct utilization, and that before the introduction of the term EI, psychologists had established theoretical distinctions between factors such as abilities and achievements, skills and habits, attitudes and values, and personality traits and emotional states.[54]Thus, some scholars believe that the term EI merges and conflates such accepted concepts and definitions.

Confusing skills with moral qualities[edit]

Adam Grant warned of the common but mistaken perception of EI as a desirable moral quality rather than a skill, Grant asserting that a well-developed EI is not only an instrumental tool for accomplishing goals, but has a dark side as a weapon for manipulating others by robbing them of their capacity to reason.[55]

Has little predictive value[edit]

Landy (2005)[56] claimed that the few incremental validity studies conducted on EI have shown that it adds little or nothing to the explanation or prediction of some common outcomes (most notably academic and work success). Landy suggested that the reason why some studies have found a small increase in predictive validity is a methodologicalfallacy, namely, that alternative explanations have not been completely considered: