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Studies into Emotional Intelligence

Updated on May 12, 2010

Emotional Intelligence refers to the processes involved in the recognition, use, understanding, and management of an individuals and others’ emotional state to solve emotion related problems and to regulate behaviour (Mayer & Salovey, 1997). Emotional intelligence is different to general intelligence which relies on ‘cold’/one directional cognitive process. Instead, Emotional Intelligence operates on ‘hot’/multi directional cognitive emotional processes that are important to the individual and the surrounding environment (Abelson, 1963). Basically, this means that emotional intelligence may require greater cognitive processing than general intelligence. For example, an individual asks you a question, “what did you have for breakfast?”, and immediately, the brain will accesses that particular memory and you will say “Corn flakes, coco pops, frosties, etc”. But with emotional intelligence, after the individual asks the question you would ask yourself “why does that person want to know? Did he/she get breakfast? Are they hungry?” and so on. Even though you have already said what you have had to eat, you still may be trying to assess why the question was asked using our emotional intelligence.

Classical studies of emotion view it as an organizing response as it focuses on particular cognitive abilities and the related, subsequent action (Easterbrook, 1959). Leeper (1948) suggested that emotions are mainly motivating forces, and are processes that “arouse, sustain, and direct activity” (p. 17). Supporting and adding to Leeper’s suggestion, Mandler (1975) suggested that emotion also could be seen as a way of directing cognitive activities or feelings.

Emotional intelligence is also a part of Gardener’s (1983) view of social intelligence. However, Gardner referred to it as ‘personal intelligences’, which is divided into inter and intrapersonal intelligence, which includes knowledge about the self and about others.

The ability based model of emotional intelligence views emotions as useful sources of information that help individuals make sense and navigate the social environment (Salovey & Grewal, 2005). The ability based model suggests that individuals can vary in their ability to process emotional information and in their ability to relate emotional processing to wider cognition. This model consists of 4 abilities;

1)      Perceiving Emotion – which refers to the ability to detect and decipher emotions in faces, pictures and voices. This ability makes most other processing of emotional information possible.

2)      Using Emotion – refers to the ability to harness emotion to facilitate various cognitive activities such as thinking or problem solving.

3)      Understanding Emotion – refers to the ability to comprehend emotional language and to appreciate complicated relationships among emotions.

4)      Managing Emotions – refers to the ability to regulate emotions in both ourselves and others.

Another model of emotional intelligence is the Emotional Competencies model (Goleman, 1998). This model focuses on emotional intelligence as being a wide range of motives and skills that drive leadership performance. Similarly to the Ability based model, there are 4 main constructs (Bradberry & Greaves, 2009);

1)      Self-awareness — refers to the ability to read one's emotions and recognize their impact while using gut feelings to guide decisions.

2)      Self-management — involves controlling one's emotions and impulses and adapting to changing circumstances.

3)      Social awareness — refers to the ability to sense, understand, and react to others' emotions while comprehending social networks.

4)      Relationship management — refers to the ability to inspire, influence, and develop others while managing conflict.

Landy (2005) claimed that only a small number of incremental validity studies conducted on Emotional Intelligence has actually demonstrated that it adds little or nothing to the explanation or prediction of some common outcomes. Landy suggested that the possible reason that some studies found small increases in the predictive validity is in fact due to incomplete consideration of alternative explanations.


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    • DeanMcDonnell profile image

      DeanMcDonnell 6 years ago from Ireland

      There's quite a few! here's a google scholar search -->

    • profile image

      rashmi 7 years ago

      Can anyone please tell me where I can find information on the studies conducted on emotional intelligence(on adolescents) from the year 2002?thank you.