Emotional Intelligence

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Non-cognitive aspects of intelligence. Explanation of Emotional Intelligence. Robert Thorndike ['37], David Wechsler ['40], Howard Gardner ['83], Salovey & Mayer ['90], Daniel Goleman. ['95]



Emotional Intelligence history

When psychologists began to write and think about intelligence, they initially focused on cognitive aspects, such as memory and problem-solving. However, some researchers recognized the importance of non-cognitive aspects early on:

  • Robert Thorndike was writing about social intelligence in 1937,

  • David Wechsler defined intelligence as the aggregate or global capacity of the individual to act purposefully, to think rationally, and to deal effectively with his environment (Wechsler, 1958, p. 7). Already in 1940 Wechsler referred to non-intellective as well as intellective elements (Wechsler, 1940), by which he meant affective, personal, and social factors. Furthermore, already in 1943 Wechsler was proposing that the non-intellective abilities are essential for predicting ones ability to succeed in life.

  • Howard Gardner began to write about multiple intelligence in 1983. He proposed that intrapersonal and interpersonal intelligences and the type of intelligence (typically measured by IQ and related tests) are equally important.

  • Salovey and Mayer actually coined the term emotional intelligence in 1990. They described emotional intelligence as "a form of social intelligence that involves the ability to monitor own and others feelings and emotions, to discriminate among them, and to use this information to guide ones thinking and action" (Salovey & Mayer, 1990). Salovey and Mayer also initiated a research program intended to develop valid measures of emotional intelligence and to explore its significance.

In doing the research for his first book, Daniel Goleman became aware of Salovey and Mayers work in the early 1990s. Being trained as a psychologist at Harvard, where he worked with David McClelland, Goleman wrote the popular bestseller "Emotional Intelligence" (1995), in which he offered the first ' proof'  that emotional and social factors are important.

Five Domains of Emotional Intelligence

Goleman in 1995 agrees with Salovey's Five Main Domains of Emotional Intelligence (p. 43)

  • Knowing one's emotions. Self-awareness, recognizing a feeling while it happens.

  • Managing emotions. The ability of handling feelings so they are appropriate.

  • Motivating oneself. Marshalling emotions in the service of a goal.

  • Recognizing emotions in others. Empathy, social awareness.

  • Handling relationships. Skill in managing emotions in others.

Four domains of Emotional Intelligence

More recently, Goleman favors only Four Domains of EI. The 4 domains have 19 categories, as described in his 2002-book "Primal Leadership". 2 extra categories were added by the Hay Group:

  • Self-awareness (Emotional Self-Awareness. Accurate Self-Assessment and Self Confidence)

  • Self-management (Emotional Self-Control. Transparency (Trustworthiness). Adaptability. Achievement Orientation. Initiative. Optimism. Conscientiousness)

  • Social awareness (Empathy. Organizational Awareness. Service Orientation)

  • Relationship management (Inspirational Leadership. Influence. Developing Others. Change Catalyst. Conflict Management. Building Bonds. Teamwork and Collaboration. Communication)

An important thing to understand is that - according to Goleman - these EI competencies are not innate talents. They are learned abilities.

IQ or EI?

According to some scientists, IQ by itself is not a very good predictor of job performance. Hunter and Hunter (1984) estimated that at best IQ accounts for about 25 percent of the variance. Sternberg (1996) has pointed out that studies vary and that 10 percent may be a more realistic estimate. In some studies, IQ accounts for as little as 4 percent of the variance. In a recent meta-analysis examining the correlation and predictive validity of EI when compared to IQ or general mental ability, Van Rooy and Viswesvaran (2004) found IQ to be a better predictor of work and academic performance than EI. However, when it comes to the question of whether a person will become a "star performer" (in the top ten percent, however such performance is appropriately assessed) within that role, or be an outstanding leader, IQ may be a less powerful predictor than emotional intelligence (Goleman 1998, 2001, 2002).

IQ and EI: pure types

According to Goleman, IQ and EI should not be regarded as competencies with an opposite direction. They are rather separate competencies. People with a high IQ but low EI (or the opposite) are, despite the stereotypes, relatively rare. There is a correlation between IQ and some aspects of EI. The stereotypes (pure types) are:

  • (Pure) High-IQ male. He is typified - no surprise - by a wide range of intellectual interest and abilities. He is ambitious and productive. Predictable and dogged. And untroubled by concerns about himself. He also tends to be critical and condescending. Fastidious and inhibited. Uneasy with sexuality and sensual experience. Unexpressive and detached. And emotionally bland and cold.

  • (Pure) High-EI male. He is socially poised. Outgoing and cheerful. Not prone to fearfulness or worried rumination. He has a notable capacity for commitment to people or causes, for taking responsibility, and for having an ethical outlook. He is sympathetic and caring in his relationships. His emotional life is rich, but appropriate. He is comfortable with himself, others, and the social universe he lives in.

  • (Pure) High-IQ female. She has the expected intellectual confidence. Is fluent in expressing her thoughts. Values intellectual matters. And has a wide range of intellectual and aesthetic interests. She tends to be introspective. Prone to anxiety, rumination, and guilt. And hesitates to express her anger openly.

  • (Pure) High-EI female. She tend to be assertive and expresses her feelings directly. And feels positive about herself. Life holds meaning for her. She is outgoing and gregarious. And expresses her feelings appropriately. She adapts well to stress. Her social poise lets her easily reach out to new people. She is comfortable enough with herself to be playful, spontaneous, and open to sensual experience. She rarely feels guilty, or sinks into rumination.

Assessing and measuring Emotional Intelligence

Instruments used for measuring Emotional Intelligence

  • EQ-I (Bar-On, 1997): a self-report instrument to  assess those personal qualities that enabled some people to possess better emotional well-being than others.

  • Multifactor Emotional Intelligence Scale (Mayer, Caruso, & Salovey, 1998):  a test of ability where the test-taker performs a series of tasks that are designed to assess the persons ability to perceive, identify, understand, and work with emotion.

  • Emotional Competence Inventory (ECI) (Goleman, 1998):  a 360 degree instrument, where people evaluate the individuals within an organization (Individual Feedback Reports). Or the organization as a whole (Work Force Audits). These audits can provide an organizational profile for any size group within the company. The Emotional Competence Inventory works with the 19/21 competencies described above (See under Four Domains of EI).

Book: Daniel Goleman - Emotional Intelligence -

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