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Emotional intelligence

German: Emotionale Intelligenz

1 Definition

In 1993, psychologists Peter Salovey and John D. Mayer proposed "a framework called emotional intelligence as a way of identifying and organizing the specific skills needed to understand and experience emotions most adaptively." [1]

2 Background and development

The term "emotional intelligence" (EI) can be traced back over 40 years but it was made especially popular by the influential book "Emotional Intelligence" by Daniel Goleman[2] and an article published in 1990 (Mayer & Salovey). A plethora of articles and services related to EI have been published from that time on. The first self-assessment questionnaire was developed in 1997 and the first competence tests were introduced 8 years later.

3 Components of EI

There is no consensus on what properties, factors, abilities or skills are part of EI. Most theories and systems include concepts of emotional awareness and regulation, meaning the control of emotions.

Some authors divide EI into the following factors:

  • Self-confidence
  • Self-regulation
  • Self-motivation
  • Empathy
  • Social competence

Another, more widely used concept comprises 15 components which can be divided into four independent factors:

  • Well-being
  • Self-control skills
  • Emotional skills
  • Social skills

4 Measurement

EI is generally measured as an emotional intelligence quotient (EQ). A distinction is made between performance tests (e.g. IQ tests with answers that are right or wrong) and observation of typical reactions. Having made this distinction it must be kept in mind that measurement by self-assessment creates the idea that EI is essentially a character trait, whereas performance tests relate to the concept of EI as a cognitive capacity.

4.1 EI as a personality trait

Some researchers and psychologists hold the opinion that emotional intelligence can never be measured validly and reliably with an objective performance test due to the subjectivity of experiences.

4.2 EI as a part of standard intelligence

Others regard EI as "real" intelligence or rather a skill that can be measured[3]. For this purpose, the MSCEIT (Mayer-Salovey-Caruso Emotional Intelligence Test)[4] can be used. It measures the following four factors:

  • Perception and identification of emotions
  • The use of emotions to support thought processes
  • Understanding emotions
  • Dealing with emotions

Whether or not emotional intelligence is just another personality trait or rather a "real" part of intelligence is at the heart of current scientific debate.[5][6]

5 References

  1. Mayer, John D., and Peter Salovey. "The intelligence of emotional intelligence." Intelligence 17.4 (1993): 433-442.
  2. Goleman, Daniel. Emotional Intelligence. Bantam Books: 1995.
  3. Mayer, John D., et al. "Emotional intelligence as a standard intelligence." (2001): 232.
  4. Mayer, John D., et al. "Measuring emotional intelligence with the MSCEIT V2. 0." Emotion 3.1 (2003): 97.
  5. Roberts, Richard D., Moshe Zeidner, and Gerald Matthews. "Does emotional intelligence meet traditional standards for an intelligence? Some new data and conclusions." Emotion 1.3 (2001): 196.
  6. Joseph, Dana L., and Daniel A. Newman. "Emotional intelligence: an integrative meta-analysis and cascading model." (2010): 54.

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