“All learning has an emotional base.” – Plato
What is Emotional Intelligence?
Emotional intelligence (EI) refers to the ability to perceive, control and evaluate emotions. Some researchers suggest that emotional intelligence can be learned and strengthened, while others claim it is an inborn characteristic.
Since 1990, Peter Salovey and John D. Mayer have been the leading researchers on emotional intelligence. In their influential article “Emotional Intelligence,” they defined emotional intelligence as, “the subset of social intelligence that involves the ability to monitor one’s own and others’ feelings and emotions, to discriminate among them and to use this information to guide one’s thinking and actions” (1990).
The Four Branches of Emotional Intelligence
Salovey and Mayer proposed a model that identified four different factors of emotional intelligence: the perception of emotion, the ability reason using emotions, the ability to understand emotion and the ability to manage emotions.
Perceiving Emotions: The first step in understanding emotions is to accurately perceive them. In many cases, this might involve understanding nonverbal signals such as body language and facial expressions.
Reasoning With Emotions: The next step involves using emotions to promote thinking and cognitive activity. Emotions help prioritize what we pay attention and react to; we respond emotionally to things that garner our attention.
Understanding Emotions: The emotions that we perceive can carry a wide variety of meanings. If someone is expressing angry emotions, the observer must interpret the cause of their anger and what it might mean. For example, if your boss is acting angry, it might mean that he is dissatisfied with your work; or it could be because he got a speeding ticket on his way to work that morning or that he’s been fighting with his wife.
Managing Emotions: The ability to manage emotions effectively is a key part of emotional intelligence. Regulating emotions, responding appropriately and responding to the emotions of others are all important aspect of emotional management.
According to Salovey and Mayer, the four branches of their model are, “arranged from more basic psychological processes to higher, more psychologically integrated processes. For example, the lowest level branch concerns the (relatively) simple abilities of perceiving and expressing emotion. In contrast, the highest level branch concerns the conscious, reflective regulation of emotion” (1997).
For decades, a great deal of emphasis has been put on certain aspects of intelligence such as logical reasoning, math skills, spatial skills, understanding analogies, verbal skills, etc. Researchers were puzzled by the fact that while IQ could predict to a significant degree, academic performance and, to some degree, professional and personal success, there was something missing in the equation.
Some of those with fabulous IQ scores were doing poorly in life; one could say that they were wasting their potential by thinking, behaving and communicating in a way that hindered their chances to succeed.
One of the major missing variables in the success equation is emotional intelligence, a concept made popular by the groundbreaking book by Daniel Goleman, based on years of research by numerous scientists such as; Peter Salovey, John Meyer, Howard Gardner, Robert Sternberg and Jack Block, just to name a few.
Examine the following statements and indicate which option best describes or applies to you. After finishing this emotional IQ test, you will receive a brief personalized interpretation of your score that includes a graph and information on the test topic.