Emotional Intelligence: Difference between revisions

Emotional Intelligence.jpeg

Intelligence is a complex concept. Gardner[1] proposed a theory of multiple inteliigences in the aim to define 8 types of intelligences. 

  1. Linguistic
  2. Logical- Mathematical
  3. Spatial
  4. Musical
  5. Naturalist
  6. Bodily-Kinesthetic
  7. Interpersonal
  8. Intrapersonal

A person will always posses every one of the eight intelligences but in varying amounts. Each person will have their own unique intelligence profile. 

Emotional intelligence involves the last two intelligences interpersonal, recognising others emotions, and intrapersonal, recognising one’s own emotions

Definition of Emotional Intelligence[edit | edit source]

Emotional Intelligence has various definitions depending on whose research you read. The three key researchers in Emotional Intelligence are Salovey and Mayer, Daniel Goleman and Reuven Bar-On. Each has their own definition as below[2]

Salovey and Mayer – “Emotional intelligence is the ability to perceive emotions, to access and generate emotions so as to assist thought, to understand emotions and emotional knowledge, and to reflectively regulate emotions so as to promote emotional and intellectual growth.” [2]                   


Goleman – “Emotional intelligence is the capacity for recognizing our own feelings and those of others, for motivating ourselves, and for managing emotions effectively in ourselves and others. An emotional competence is a learned capacity based on emotional intelligence that contributes to effective performance at work.”  [2]         


Reuven Bar-On – “Emotional Intelligence is an array of non-cognitive capabilities, competencies, and skills that influence one’s ability to succeed in coping with environmental demands and pressures. “[2]

Emotional intelligence can be split into 5 essential elements[3]

  1. Recognising, understanding and managing the emotions of oneself and of others
  2. Expressing our thoughts
  3. Developing and maintaining social relationships
  4. Coping with challenges
  5. Using emotional information in an effective and meaningful way

Emotional intelligence quotient or EQ is the measure of Emotional Intelligence, 

Importance of Emotional Intelligence[edit | edit source]

Traditionally IQ has always been thought to be very important to achieve success in life. However not all intelligent people are successful. Emotional intelligence is a key factor that contributes to success in not only the workplace but also in social relationships and life in general[2].

A recent systematic review looking at the impact of improving emotional intelligence showed increased emotional intelligence positively affects the following[4] – 

  • Psychological Health 
  • Work performance
  • Teamwork
  • Conflict management
  • Patient satisfaction
  • Coaching Skills
  • Employability and Re-employment 
  • Workplace Incivility 
  • Institutional Climate
  • Job Satisfaction

Emotional Intelligence in Healthcare Professionals[edit | edit source]

Higher levels of emotional intelligence has a protective element against burn-out syndrome in healthcare professionals [5]. Healthcare practitioners with developed emotional intelligence are also better communicators which has been shown to improve patient outcomes [6]. This is especially evident in healthcare practitioners dealing with chronic pain patients where the interventions are focused on empathy, listening and building trust[7]

Conceptual Frameworks of Emotional Intelligence[edit | edit source]

The three main contributors to the Emotional Intelligence body of research have been Salovey and Mayer, Goleman and Bar-On[2]. Each has developed their own conceptual framework of Emotional Intelligence as discussed below. 

Salovey and Mayer (2002)[edit | edit source]

Salovey and Mayer view EQ as something you are born with.[2] EQ is the ability to understand and manage one’s own and others’ thoughts. [8]. They believe that people can improve their EQ but it is limited to the amount of EQ they innately have.[2]

They identify four branches in their conceptual framework. These look at how people identify and control their own emotions and how people’s emotions impact others

  1. Perceiving emotions – identification of emotion in oneself and others
  2. Emotional facilitation of thought – use of emotions to guide thoughts and judgements
  3. Understanding and analysing emotions – accurate identification of emotions and understanding the complexity of inter and intrapersonal emotions
  4. Reflective regulation of emotions – ability to analyse and manage emotions[9][10]

Daniel Goleman (2005)[edit | edit source]

Goleman’s model was developed using a compilation of others research. It has not been researched rigorously in scientific circles, but he is widely published, and his work is very easily understood by lay people.[2]

Goleman developed a model of 18 competencies within 4 clusters of Self-Awareness, Self-Management, Social Awareness and Relationship Management

Golemans Emotional Intelligence Framework

Reuven Bar-On[edit | edit source]

Reuven Bar-On[11] developed his framework, The Bar-On Model of Emotional-Social Intelligence, which was recently updated in 2011. It is by far the most widely researched and utilized framework within Emotional Intelligence circles[2].  This model is based on a multifaceted set of skills, facilitators and competencies that determine how people understand and express themselves, understand and relate to others, and respond to daily situations[8]. Examining an individual’s combined strengths and balances in cognitive, social, personal, physical and inspirational factors can determine one’s current level of performance.[12]

Bar-On Model of Emotional-Social Intelligence
  1. Self-perception 
    1. Self-regard – Respect for oneself, self-confidence 
    2. Self-actualization – Pursuit of meaning, Self-improvement
    3. Emotional Self-awareness – Understanding one’s own emotions
  2. Self-expression 
    1. Emotional Expression – Constructive and accurate expression of emotions
    2. Assertiveness– Communicating feelings and beliefs in a non-offensive way
    3. Independence – Self-directed, free from emotional dependency
  3. Interpersonal  
    1. Interpersonal Relationships – Mutually satisfying relationships
    2. Empathy – Understanding and Appreciating how others feel
    3. Social responsibility – Social consciousness, Helpfulness
  4. Decision making  
    1. Problem Solving – Finding solutions when emotions are involved
    2. Reality Testing – Objective, see things as they really are
    3. Impulse Control – Resist or delay impulse to act
  5. Stress management  
    1. Flexibility – Adapting emotions, thoughts, and behaviours
    2. Stress Tolerance – Ability to cope with stressful situations 
    3. Optimism – Positive attitude and outlook on life 

It is important to note that the ideal is to be balanced within each subscale and not necessarily high in every one. Being very high or very low in a specific subscale can lead to dysfunctional behaviour. 

The table below shows example of dysfunctions that can occur in the Self Perception Composite[3]

Subscale Very High Very Low
Self Regard Overly confident

Thinks they rarely make mistakes



Doubtful of themselves

Self Actualisation May project their ambition on others or be judgmenetal of others lack of ambition Unmotivated or unconcerned with personal growth
Emotional Self- Awareness Hyperfocused on emotional examination Difficulty expressing and understanding emotions

Assessment of  Emotional Intelligence[edit | edit source]

The 2 most widely used tools to measure EQ are the MSCEIT and the EQ-i 2.0.  

“The MSCEIT is like an IQ test, predicting how well someone can learn. The EQ-i is like the SAT, measuring what someone has learned” Jack Meyer, 2012

MSCEIT- The Mayer-Salovey-Caruso Emotional Intelligence Test[edit | edit source]

Based on the Mayer and Saloveys work this test is quite similar to an IQ test with specific measures and right and wrong answers[2]. There are some limitations with this test in how the developers obtained the “right” answers. They used standard populations and the debate is, in research about emotions, can be right and wrong answers. The test is designed to measure ones innate or inborn EQ and as such can indicate someone’s ability to learn EQ skills[2]. Using a four tier approach to testing, the MSCEIT measures ability in perceiving emotions, understanding emotions, managing emotion and facilitating thought. [13]

EQ-i-2.0 – Emotional Quotient Inventory[edit | edit source]

Based on Bar-On’s Model of Emotional-Social Intelligence, the EQi 2.0[2], is probably the most used EQ measure. The EQ-i 2.0 is a self-report measure and the EQ 360 2.0 is a full assessment that looks at how others perceive oneself. 

After completing the EQi 2.0 a report is generated that indicates areas of strengths and weaknesses within each of the 15 skills of Bar-On’s model that can then be addressed. 

Developing or Improving Emotional Intelligence[edit | edit source]

Emotional intelligence comes more naturally to some than others. Unlike IQ, which remains fairly constant throughout life, Emotional Intelligence develops with age[4]. This shows us that it is something that can be learnt. There are many different types of interventions aimed at developing emotional intelligence. The following key components are essential to provide successful interventions aimed at improving Emotional Intelligence [2][4]

  1. They need to be specifically Emotional Intelligence based
  2. They need to be constructed using a specific, clear and well documented conceptual framework (such as the Bar-On Emotional-Social Intelligence Model).
  3. They need to use exercises that are based on scientific evidence

An example of a programme to develop emotional intelligence can be found in the following article

The Effects of an Emotional Intelligence Skills Training Program on Anxiety, Burnout and Glycemic Control in Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus Patients [14]

The following videos show a 3 part interview with Reuvan Bar-On discussing Emotional Intelligence

  1. Davis K, Christodoulou J, Seider S, Gardner HE. The theory of multiple intelligences. 2011
  2. 2.00 2.01 2.02 2.03 2.04 2.05 2.06 2.07 2.08 2.09 2.10 2.11 2.12 2.13 Ackley D. Emotional intelligence: A practical review of models, measures, and applications. Consulting Psychology Journal: Practice and Research. 2016 Dec;68(4):269.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Jason Giesbrecht. Emotional Intelligence Course Slides. Plus2019
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 Kotsou I, Mikolajczak M, Heeren A, Grégoire J, Leys C. Improving emotional intelligence: a systematic review of existing work and future challenges. Emotion Review. 2018:1754073917735902.
  5. Vlachou EM, Damigos D, Lyrakos G, Chanopoulos K, Kosmidis G, Karavis M. The relationship between burnout syndrome and emotional intelligence in healthcare professionals. Health Science Journal. 2016;10(5):1.
  6. Codier E, Codier DD. Could emotional intelligence make patients safer?. AJN The American Journal of Nursing. 2017 Jul 1;117(7):58-62.  
  7. Emanuel EJ, Gudbranson E. Does medicine overemphasize IQ?. Jama. 2018 Feb 20;319(7):651-2.
  8. 8.0 8.1 Gilar-Corbi R, Pozo-Rico T, Sánchez B, Castejón JL. Can emotional intelligence be improved? A randomized experimental study of a business-oriented EI training program for senior managers. PloS one. 2019 Oct 23;14(10):e0224254.
  9. MacCann C, Jiang Y, Brown LE, Double KS, Bucich M, Minbashian A. Emotional intelligence predicts academic performance: A meta-analysis. Psychological bulletin. 2020 Feb;146(2):150.
  10. Ugoani J. Salovey-Mayer Emotional Intelligence Model for Dealing with Problems in Procurement Management. American Journal of Marketing Research. 2020 Sep 7;6(3):28-36.
  11. Bar-On R. The impact of emotional intelligence on subjective well-being. Perspectives in Education. 2005 Jun 1;23(1):41-62.
  12. Bar-On R, Fiedeldey-Van Dijk C. The Bar-On model and multifactor measure of human performance: Validation and application. Frontiers in Psychology. 2022;13.
  13. O’Connor PJ, Hill A, Kaya M, Martin B. The measurement of emotional intelligence: A critical review of the literature and recommendations for researchers and practitioners. Frontiers in psychology. 2019:1116.
  14. Karahan TF, YALÇIN BM. The effects of an emotional intelligence skills training program on anxiety, burnout and glycemic control in type 2 diabetes mellitus patients. Turkiye Klinikleri Journal of Medical Sciences. 2009;29(1):16-24.

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