The term “emotional ntelligence” (EI) was first proposed as a construct by Mayer and Salovey 1990) although it was popularised by Daniel Goleman (1995).
Many people are familiar with the idea of IQ and EI, (sometimes known as EQ) and is intended to represent a different kind of intelligence to that measured by IQ. In recent years there has been a general acceptance that we have multiple intelligence beyond IQ and EI.
Most therapies and personal development approaches have understood the importance of emotions in helping people to reach their full potential. Much of the academic sources seem to overlook or ignore how understanding emotions has been used in areas such as
humanistic psychology, NLP, gestalt and transactional analysis for many years.
In today’s blog I will stay with the academic approach and we will explore other avenues later.
Salovey et al (2006) describe EI as “the ability to perceive and express emotions, to
understand and use them, and to manage them to foster personal growth”. They
emphasise their model to be competency based rather than a measurement of
The study of EI has divided into two main areas ability models as developed by Salovey et at (2006) and mixed trait-ability models that include (more clearly) personality traits
and characteristics such as Goleman (1995) and Bar-On (Bar-On 2000).
The mixed trait-ability models also refers to the ability to process and use data
gathered emotionally but adds in characteristics and traits such as motivation,
relating to others and optimism (Goldenberg et al 2006).
It could be argued that this model adds value in that it acknowledges the importance of
personality in relation to emotion however some suggest that nothing new has been added in terms of emotional functioning concepts and are not specifically allied to either concepts of emotion or intelligence (Goldenberg 2006).
A number of measures have been developed since 1990 to measure EI, for example:
- Bar-On’s EQ-i
- EIQ Dulewicz and Higgs (2003)
- SSRI Schutte et al (1998)
- Emotional Competence Inventory (ECI)
As part of my MSc in Applied Positive Psychology I produced a paper evaluating the above models. If you would like a copy of this paper please contact me direct at
I will then send you a pdf of the paper. I have not included in my paper any of the emotional intelligence models that have been produced for more commercial use. A number of commercial EI questionnaires have appeared on the market, many of these do not seem to have any research behind them at all. It could be a case of buyer be ware!
Next week I will share with you more details about the Salovey, Meyer and Caruso model. I will start with an overview and then look at each “branch” in more detail over the next few weeks. This will include exploring how we can improve our Emotional Intelligence.