Emotional Intelligence

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Emotional Intelligence

What is emotional intelligence?

Recent discussions of EI proliferate across the American landscape -- from the cover of Time, to a best selling book by Daniel Goleman, to an episode of the Oprah Winfrey show. But EI is not some easily dismissed "neopsycho-babble." EI has its roots in the concept of "social intelligence," first identified by E.L. Thorndike in 1920. Psychologists have been uncovering other intelligences for some time now, and grouping them mainly into three clusters: abstract intelligence (the ability to understand and manipulate with verbal and mathematic symbols), concrete intelligence (the ability to understand and manipulate with objects), and social intelligence (the ability to understand and relate to people) (Ruisel, 1992). Thorndike (1920: 228), defined social intelligence as "the ability to understand and manage men and women, boys and girls -- to act wisely in human relations." And (1983) includes inter- and intrapersonal intelligences in his theory of multiple intelligences (see Gardner for an interesting interview with the Harvard University professor). These two intelligences comprise social intelligence. He defines them as follows:

Interpersonal intelligence is the ability to understand other people: what motivates them, how they work, how to work cooperatively with them. Successful salespeople, politicians, teachers, clinicians, and religious leaders are all likely to be individuals with high degrees of interpersonal intelligence. Intrapersonal intelligence ... is a correlative ability, turned inward. It is a capacity to form an accurate, veridical model of oneself and to be able to use that model to operate effectively in life.

Emotional intelligence, on the other hand, "is a type of social intelligence that involves the ability to monitor one's own and others' emotions, to discriminate among them, and to use the information to guide one's thinking and actions" (Mayer & Salovey, 1993: 433).

Domains of Emotional Intelligence

According to Salovey & Mayer (1990), EI subsumes Gardner's inter- and intrapersonal intelligences, and involves abilities that may be categorized into five domains:

Self-awareness: Observing yourself and recognizing a feeling as it happens.

Managing emotions: Handling feelings so that they are appropriate; realizing what is behind a feeling; finding ways to handle fears and anxieties, anger, and sadness.

Motivating oneself: Channeling emotions in the service of a goal; emotional self control; delaying gratification and stifling impulses.

Empathy: Sensitivity to others' feelings and concerns and taking their perspective; appreciating the differences in how people feel about things.

Handling relationships: Managing emotions in others; social competence and social skills. Self-awareness (intrapersonal intelligence), empathy and handling relationships (interpersonal intelligence) are essentially dimensions of social intelligence. See the Time magazine piece for an overview of emotional intelligence. Their article basically summarizes Daniel Goleman's Emotional Intelligence book in a few simple pages, interjecting other experts' opinions and pieces of research to lend to a more balanced critique of emotional intelligence. In addition, look st the piece on emotional intelligence from a Hindu newspaper article. It offers a more theoretical and historical perspective on emotional intelligence.

Importance of Emotional Intelligence

Why is emotional intelligence important? Researchers investigated dimensions of emotional intelligence (EI) by measuring related concepts, such as social skills, interpersonal competence, psychological maturity and emotional awareness, long before the term "emotional intelligence" came into use. Grade school teachers have been teaching the rudiments of emotional intelligence since 1978, with the development of the Self Science Curriculum and the teaching of classes such as "social development," "social and emotional learning," and "personal intelligence," all aimed at "raise[ing] the level of social and emotional competence" (Goleman, 1995: 262). Social scientists are just beginning to uncover the relationship of EI to other phenomenon, e.g., leadership (Ashforth and Humphrey, 1995), group performance (Williams & Sternberg, 1988), individual performance, interpersonal/social exchange, managing change, and conducting performance evaluations (Goleman, 1995). And according to Goleman (1995: 160), "Emotional intelligence, the skills that help people harmonize, should become increasingly valued as a workplace asset in the years to come."

Tests of Emotional Intelligence

Although no validated paper-and-pencil tests of emotional intelligence exist, two "fun" versions of emotional intelligence tests have been developed. Test yourself to see how you rate on emotional intelligence with a test from "USA Weekend" or the test from Utne Reader. Because no one has yet to develop a good scale for emotional intelligence, you may want to investigate the Web page on personality, temperament, psychopathology, and emotion scales developed by Albert Mehrabian, professor of psychology at the University of California, Los Angeles. You may be able to piece together a few of these scales for a rough approximation of the dimensions researchers hypothesize characterize emotional intelligence.

Try http://www.helpself.com/iq-test.htm

What do Experts say

Emotions Affect, Mood and Emotions "It is clear, however, that, without the preferences reflected by positive and negative affect, our experiences would be a neutral gray. We would care no more what happens to us or what we do with our time than does a computer." C. Daniel Batson, Laura L. Shaw & Kathryn C. Oleson (Differentiating Affect, Mood, and Emotion: Toward Functionally Based Conceptual Distinctions, 1992) The terms affect, mood, and emotion are used interchangeably throughout much of the literature, without distinguishing between them (Batson, Shaw, & Oleson, 1992: 294). Some of the confusion or lack of clarity may be a result of the overlap among the concepts (Morris, 1992). Some researchers have attempted to distinguish these concepts based on structural differences and functional differences. Schwarz and Clore (1988) differentiated emotion from mood based on structural differences, such as the specificity of the targets (e.g., emotions are specific and intense and are a reaction to a particular event, whereas mood are diffuse and unfocused (George & Brief, 1995; Frijda, 1987; Clark & Isen, 1982) and timing (e.g., emotions are caused by something more immediate in time than moods). Batson and collegues (1992) differentiated mood, affect and emotion based on functional differences, like changes in value state (affect), beliefs about future affective states (mood), and the existence of a specific goal (emotion).

"Affect seems to reveal preference (Zajonc, 1980); it informs the organism experiencing it about those states of affairs that it values more than others. Change from a less valued to a more valued state is accompanied by positive affect; change from a more valued to a less valued state is accompanied by negative affect. Intensity of the affect reveals the magnitude of the value preference." If you are seriously interested in the area of emotion, affect, and/or mood, investigate the Geneva Emotion Research Group. Located at the University of Geneva, this group conducts research in the area of emotions, including experimental studies on emotion-antecedent appraisal, emotion induction, physiological reactions and expression of emotion (including both facial and vocal) and emotional behavior in autonomous agents. The University of Amsterdam's experimental psychology department is conducting research in the area of emotions as well.

The Brain and the Neuropsychology of Emotions Double click on the hot flames for a hot bed of information from The Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology's Cognitive Neuroscience Group at the University of Chicago at Urbana-Champaign. The Cognitive Neuroscience Group is a group of researchers investigating how the brain and emotions work. In additon, if you are interesting in books on neuroscience, and want a little light reading for over the weekend, investigate books from Neuropsychology Central is an on-line resource for everyone interested in the area. The primary objectives of the homepage are:

To describe the importance of neuropsychology as a science of brain and behavior To increase public knowledge of neuropsychology as a branch of practical medicine To indicate the contribution which neuropsychology is making to the neurosciences To act as a resource for the professional and layperson, alike Here's just a sampling of what the page includes:

Neuropsychological Assessment Resources directly related to the assessment of mental function in various neuropsychologically impaired populations.

Brain Imaging Resources covering all aspects of neuroimaging with a special emphasis on functional imaging techniques.

Cognitive Neuropsychology Neuropsychological theory and resources from the cognitive orientation.

Homepages Personal pages of individuals actively pursuing careers in neuropsychology and closely related fields.

Laboratories University and medical school labs dedicated to the study of neuropsychology.

Neuropsychology Central Forum Neuropsychology Central's www discussion group for practitioners, academics, and interested parties.

Newsgroups Professional and support newsgroups closely related to the study of neuropsychology and neuropsychological difficulties.

Professional Organizations Links to organizations and professional conferences.

Publications Printed material available on the internet related to neuropsychology.

General Neuroscience A hodgepodge of interesting and superbly crafted links related to the neurosciences.

Various Psychology Links A great place to jump-off this page and into other worlds of psychology.

Another great resource in neuropsychology comes from Brown University's Department of Psychiatry and Human Behavior's page of neuropsychology links on the World Wide Web. This page is overflowing with information, and is a great starting point for venturing through the neuropsychology world on the Web.

Methods for Researching Emotions The Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology's Cognitive Neuroscience Group at the University of Chicago at Urbana-Champaign proceeds in researching the brain and emotions. On their page they indicate the various methodologies they use to investigate cognition and emotion. Look at all the abstracts of technical reports produced by this group, or select a specific abstract you would like to view by clicking on the abstract number. ml#CNS-94-02">[CNS-94-02] Russell A. Poldrack, On Testing for Stochastic Independence between Memory Tests If you are having problems conceiving a research design appropriate for investigating some aspect of emotion, just contact Geneva Emotion Week conference is being held May 16-19, 1996. The conference has two major themes:

a colloquium focusing on major topics in the psychology of emotion workshops on advanced research methods in the field of emotion And finally, for an interesting little piece similar to the notion of "how NOT to lie with statistics," check out Clay Helberg from the University of Wisconsin Schools of Nursing and Medicine's piece entitled Pitfalls of Data Analysis or in other words How to Avoid Lies and Damned Lies from an applied statistics conference.


Ashforth, B.E. & Humphrey, R.H. (1995). Emotion in the workplace: A reappraisal. Human Relations, 48(2), 97-125. Eysenck, S.B., Pearson, P.R., Easting, G. & Allsopp, J.F. (1985). Age norms for impulsiveness, venturesomeness and empathy in adults. Personality and Individual Differences, 6(5), 613-619.

Gardner, H. (1993). Multiple Intelligences. New York: BasicBooks.

Goleman, D. (1995). Emotional intelligence. New York: Bantam Books.

Greenberg, M.T., Kusche, C.A., Cook, E.T. & Quamma, J.P. (1995). Promoting emotional competence in school-aged children: The effects of the PATHS curriculum. Development and Psychopathology, 7, 117-136.

Mayer, J.D. & Salovey, P. (1993). The intelligence of emotional intelligence. Intelligence, 17, 433-442.

Ruisel, I. (1992). Social intelligence: Conception and methodological problems. Studia Psychologica, 34(4-5), 281-296.

Salovey, P. & Mayer, J.D. (1990). Emotional intelligence. Imagination, Cognition, and Personality, 9(1990), 185-211.

Thorndike, E.L. (1920). Intelligence and its uses. Harper's Magazine, 140, 227-235.

Watson, M. & Greer, S. (1983). Development of a questionnaire measure of emotional control. Journal of Psychosomatic Research, 27(4), 299-305. Williams, W.M. & Sternberg, R.J. (1988). Group intelligence: Why some groups are better than others. Intelligence, 12, 351-377.

Although I will attempt to keep this information accurate, I cannot guarantee the accuracy of the information provided. Copyright ╘ 1996, Cheri A. Young. All rights reserved.