A Historical Overview of Emotional Intelligence

Posted by Dr. Nilda Perez in Emotional Intelligence | 0 comments

Emotional Intelligence (EI) has been a source of interest in the world of psychology (Edward Thorndike) and sociology (Charles Darwin and Herbert Spencer) since the 1930’s. Both Thorndike, Darwin and Spencer questioned the intelligence quotient (IQ) convinced that it could not be an accurate evaluation of intelligence. Their belief was that because environment, exposure, culture, education and parents educational level plays a significant role on an individual’s intelligence there will always be a disparity with this intelligence quotient instrument. 

In the 1990’s John D. Mayer, Peter Salovey, David R. Caruso who revisited Thorndike’s theory regarding how increased emotional intelligence serves individuals better than high IQ scores. And there was a sudden revolution to the concept of emotions and intelligence which was coined emotional intelligence.

Mayer and Salovey created a model composed of four branches of emotional intelligence which they identified as the model of four different factors: Perception of emotion, Reasoning through emotions, Understanding as the ability to be cognizant of emotions, and Managing emotions. If an individual is balanced on all branches of emotional intelligence their EQ score is higher. Scores of EQ are evaluated through Reuven Bar-On’s EQ instrument that rates emotional intelligence levels.

It was from this research and this quotient instrument that evaluated emotional intelligence levels that it was learned that those who scored high in emotional intelligence were better able to succeed in their personal and professional lives. People with high scores in EQ succeeded in maintaining a well-balanced life.

Those who obtain optimal EQ scores reached equilibrium in the following areas:

Physical  – maintaining good physical health is important in performing at work, home and play

Emotional – psychological health is very important, dealing with adversities properly, maintaining a positive attitude, being of good character are all important to the emotional health

Social – having healthy relationships both at and outside of work, having relationships that are personally fulfilling, trusting, and a where one can communicate freely by being authentic, where one can freely express ones opinion and share thoughts

Family – having dependable support, unconditional love, an environment that is safe and secure are important to good family health

Spirituality – having a strong spiritual beliefs are a source of strength, hope and faith are core of values that sustain an individual beyond family and society, solid spiritual beliefs are the source of strength in the bad times creating tranquility and harmony

Taking the time to assess your level of emotional intelligence oftentimes reveals where some of your life’s struggles stem from. Although for some individuals, and cultural groups seem to inherently have higher scores on EQ everyone can work towards improvement.

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