Introduction to Emotional Intelligence

From the very ancient time, different religions like Hinduism, Buddhism, etc. knew the importance of self-consciousness. Many Hindu texts stress the fact that a person who is self-aware can do his duties in the finest manner without being overly obsessed with the results. Techniques like meditation were practiced by people to become more self-aware and empathetic.

The term Emotional Intelligence (EI) first appeared in 1964 in a research paper by Psychologist Michael Beldoch. Studies were going on in the field of emotional skills. Terms like interpersonal intelligence and intra personal intelligence appeared in some research papers. In 1990 two Psychologists Peter Salovey and John Mayer first formulated the concepts of EI. They described Emotional Intelligence as “the ability to monitor one’s own and other people’s emotions, to differentiate between different emotions and label them properly, and to use emotional information to guide thinking and behavior”.

The term Emotional Intelligence (EI) gained widespread popularity among the public after the publication of Daniel Goleman’s bestselling book ‘Emotional Intelligence – Why it can matter more than IQ’ in 1995. A psychologist and a science reporter, his book establishes with several examples that emotions play a major role in different spheres of life. After that, there have been many works and publications related to emotional intelligence.

Different models of EI

There are different models of EI. Managing emotions can be both art and science. For EI to be an intelligence, there should be some ways to measure EI abilities. Different models have different tests to measure the Emotional Quotient (EQ).

Read:  Work-Life Balance | eBook | AudioBook

Although not flawless, these tests provide some insight into the emotional abilities of people.

1. Ability Model

This model considers EI as a new intelligence. This is the model proposed by Salovey and Mayer. According to this model, EI comprises of four different abilities.

Perceiving Emotions – The ability to identify one’s own emotions and recognize other’s emotions through their facial expressions, the tone of voice, body language, etc. form the basic aspect of EI. A person with low EQ may not be able to understand another person’s emotions from their face and voice.

Using Emotions – The ability to use one’s or other’s emotions to get a job done is very important for success. An emotionally intelligent housemaid might get a salary hike if she had asked for it when the boss is in a good mood. Otherwise, her name may be stricken out from the boss’s good book.

Understanding Emotions –The ability to not only recognize emotions but also to understand the complex relationships between emotions is very important. There might be slight variations between different emotions and sometimes emotions evolve over a period of time. Emotionally intelligent people can appreciate those things.

Managing Emotions – The ability to manage one’s and other’s emotions is the highest level of emotional ability. People with high emotional intelligence can harness emotions, manage and utilize them effectively to get the job done.


In the ability model, EQ tests are similar to conventional IQ tests. The four abilities of a person are tested by giving emotion-based problem-solving scenarios. The answers are compared against that of worldwide respondents, a higher overlap indicating a higher EQ.

Read:  How to Live an Organized Life | eBook | AudioBook

This model is often criticized for the inaccuracy in predicting the performance and emotional skills exhibited in the workplace.


Would you like to read more about this topic? This book might interest you: Art of Emotional Intelligence.