What is Emotional Intelligence ?

Emotional Intelligence is the ability to effectively manage, control and understand one’s emotions. The concept of emotional intelligence is still in its infancy and there is no fixed definition of emotional intelligence. The term “social intelligence” was started to be used to describe the ability to be sociable with other people. It was also felt that the conventional IQ (intelligence quotient) test could not convincingly explain cognitive ability.

Definition of emotional intelligence

There is no fixed and clear definition for emotional intelligence. EQ( emotional quotient) is used to measure emotional intelligence. However, unlike its counterpart concerning intelligence IQ(intelligence quotient), EQ is not consistent but a dynamic value.

The term “emotional intelligence” was popularized by Goleman who divided emotional intelligence into five distinct competencies
1. The ability to identify and name one's emotional state and to understand the link between emotions, thought and action.
2. The capacity to manage one's emotional state — to control emotions or to shift undesirable emotional states to more adequate ones.
3. The ability to enter into emotional state (at will) associated with a drive to achieve and be successful.
4. The capacity to read, be sensitive to, and influence other people's emotions.
5. The ability to enter and sustain satisfactory interpersonal relationships.

According to the model proposed by Mayer-Salovey, emotional intelligence is the ability to understand information pertaining to emotions and to reason with the emotions. The model has four branches which are concerned with the following four areas:
1. The capacity to accurately perceive emotions.
2. The capacity to use emotions to facilitate thinking.
3. The capacity to understand emotional meanings.
4. The capacity to manage emotions.

History of emotional intelligence,

When psychologists were studying intelligence, they originally focused on the cognitive aspects of intelligence, such as, memory and problem-solving. However, soon it was felt that non-cognitive aspects were also significant.

In the 1980 it was proposed that intrapersonal and interpersonal were equal in importance to the intelligence usually measured in IQ tests.

Measurement of emotional intelligence

There is debate on the exact nature of emotional intelligence. Some believe EQ is a cognitive ability like IQ, while others contend that it is a mixture of abilities and characteristics. Consequent to these differing opinions, there are two kinds of measurement; ability based measures which focus on maximal ability and mixed model measures which focus on standard typical ability.

Methods of Measurement of Emotional Intelligence

One of the tests used to measure emotional intelligence is the Bar-On’s EQ-I. This method measures the qualities that enabled some people to be emotionally more well off than others. It was used by the United States Air force to select recruiters, where its success was hailed.

The next instrument to measure emotional intelligence is Multifactor Emotional Intelligence Scale(MEIS). The test works by asking the subject to perform a series of tasks and then assesses the ability to perceive and understand and work with emotion.

The Third model is called the Emotional Competence Inventory (ECI). The ECI is a 360 degree method. People who know the individual rate him on 20 different attributes.

Another popular method is known as the EQ map.

The topic of emotional intelligence is interesting as it is observed that people who are successful in life are those who are emotionally stable, are able to get along with others and are able to think rationally.