Emotional intelligence involves four components: Perceiving emotions, using emotions to enable thought, understanding emotions, and managing emotions.
The ability to express and control our own emotions is important as well as our ability to understand, interpret, and respond to the emotions of others. Imagine a world where people couldn’t understand when a friend or loved one was feeling sad or angry. Psychologists refer to this ability as emotional intelligence (EI), and some experts suggest that it can be more important than a mental IQ. Plato said “All learning has an emotional base.”
There are three models of Emotional Intelligence that I will consider: The Ability Model, The Trait Model, and The Mixed Model.
The Ability Model was proposed by Peter Salovey and John D. Mayer and identified the four different factors of EI with the following interpretations of each:
1. Perceiving Emotions: understanding emotions to accurately identify them. This might involve understanding nonverbal signals such as body language and facial expressions.
2. Reasoning with Emotions: using emotions to promote thinking and cognitive activity. Emotions help prioritize what we pay attention and react to; we respond emotionally to things that gain our attention.
3. Understand Emotions: emotions we perceive can carry a wide variety of meanings. The observer must interpret the cause of the emotion and what it might mean.
4. Managing Emotions: Regulating emotions, responding appropriately and responding to the emotions of others are all important aspects of emotional management.
The Trait Model was developed by Donstantin Vasily Petrides. It encompasses behavioral dispositions and self-perceived abilities and is measured by self-report, as opposed to the ability based model which referred to actual abilities, which have been proven highly resistant to scientific measurement. Trait EI should be investigated within a personality framework. An alternative label for the same concept is trait emotional self-efficacy.
Daniel Goleman proposed the Mixed Model. This is a combination of both ability and trait EI. It defines EI as an array of skills and characteristics that drive leadership performance. His model outlines five main EI concepts:
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: 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 decisions
5. Motivation: being driven to achieve for the sake of achievement
Goleman included a set of emotional competencies with each concept of EI. These are not inherent talents, but rather learned capabilities that must be worked on and can be developed to achieve outstanding performances. Goleman theorized that individuals are born with a general EI that determines their potential for learning emotional competencies. His model of EI has been criticized in the research literature as mere “pop psychology.”
The distinction between trait emotional intelligence and ability emotional intelligence was introduced in 2000.1 However, the term became widely known with the publication of Goleman’s book “Emotional Intelligence – Why it can matter more than IQ.” It is to this book’s best-selling status that the term can attribute its popularity.2
Given that EI is illustrated to be malleable, could EI education improve some aspects of our daily lives?