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Intelligence (IQ) vs. Emotional Intelligence (EQ)

Updated on September 29, 2007
EQ or IQ, you can find information on both
EQ or IQ, you can find information on both

"It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change." - Charles Darwin

Apparent in many aspects of human interaction is the notion of "survival of the fittest." In business, government, science, and even personal relationships, the competition for that which is scarce drives humans to find an "edge" over their adversaries. A good indicator of success in the past has been the level of one's intelligence. It was assumed that the relationship between one's IQ and one's success would be positively correlated. In other words, "smarter" individuals were bound to triumph over those less intelligent.

However, what about "book smarts vs. street smarts?" Can an individual with an average IQ be more successful than an IQ genius?

Yes, but only if the individual in question has the higher level of emotional intelligence (EQ); IQ will get you through school, but EQ gets you through life.

Short Definitions

IQ - A number that signifies the relative intelligence of a person; the ratio multiplied by 100 of the mental age as reported on a standardized test to the chronological age. IQ is primarily used to measure one's cognitive abilities, such as the ability to learn or understand new situations; how to reason through a given problem/scenario; the ability to apply knowledge to one's current situations. It involves primarily the neo cortex or top portion of the brain.

  • Over 140 - Genius or almost genius
  • 120 - 140 - Very superior intelligence (Gifted)
  • 110 - 119 - Superior intelligence
  • 90 - 109 - Average or normal intelligence
  • 80 - 89 - Dullness
  • 70 - 79 - Borderline deficiency in intelligence
  • Under 70 - Feeble-mindedness

EQ - A measure of one's emotional intelligence, as defined by the ability to use both emotional and cognitive thought. Emotional intelligence skills include but are not limited to empathy, intuition, creativity, flexibility, resilience, stress management, leadership, integrity, authenticity, intrapersonal skills and interpersonal skills. It involves the lower and central sections of the brain, called the limbic system. It also primarily involves the amygdala, which has the ability to scan everything that's happening to us moment to moment to see if it is a threat. As defined by Dr. Daniel Goleman, the components of emotional intelligence are "simple, yet powerful enough to effect change." Hence, if Goleman and Darwin are to believed, it is emotionally intelligent individuals who are most able to adapt to dynamic environments and therefore most likely to survive (read: succeed).

Examples by comparison of EQ vs. IQ

  • Appealing to emotions to convince someone rather than using facts alone
  • Using your emotions in addition to your cognitive abilities to function rather than relying solely on logic
  • Knowing how and why vs. Knowing what
  • Knowing how to motivate separate individuals as opposed to treating everyone the same way
  • Understanding and controlling your emotions to use them for something vs. Letting your emotions control you because you do not know how to deal with them.

The Components of EQ

Emotional intelligence is measured using 5-major components and 15-subcomponents:

1. Intrapersonal Skills (ability to understand and apply personal emotions)

* Self Regard (ability to accept oneself as basically good)

* Emotional Self Awareness (ability to recognize one's own feelings, which allows us to manage them and make better decisions. It is important to be positive even when challenged because it results in more focused thinking)

* Assertiveness (ability to express feelings, beliefs, and thoughts without becoming antagonistic and uncooperative towards others)

* Independence (ability to be self-directed and self-controlled in ones thinking and actions and to be free of emotional dependency)

* Self Actualization (ability to realizes one's potential)

2. Interpersonal Skills (people skills)

* Empathy (understanding the feelings of others, which enables us to respond appropriately to changes in the emotional climate of others; Significant others, take note)

* Social Responsibility (being a cooperative, contributing, and constructive member of various social groups)

* Interpersonal Relationships (ability to establish and maintain mutually beneficial relationships noted for their intimacy and by the giving & receiving of affection, whether it be as a lover, friend, family member, or loyal employee)

3. Stress Management (ability to handle challenges)

* Stress Tolerance (Ability to handle difficult situations without ‘falling apart')

* Impulse Control (ability to resist or delay an impulse, drive, or temptation to act; controlling the need for "instant gratification")

4. Adaptability (Ability to react quickly, appropriately, and efficiently to change)

* Reality Testing (ability to assess the correspondence between what is experienced and what objectively exists; knowing what you want to do vs. what you actually can do)

* Flexibility (ability to adjust one's emotions, thoughts, and behaviors to changing situations and conditions)

* Problem Solving (ability to identify and define problems as well as to generate and implement potentially effective solutions)

5. General Mood

* Optimism

* Happiness

How can EQ Help?

To be successful and survive in today's society, individuals need to have the necessary communication and organizational skills to make sound decisions and interact with each other. Goleman argues that an individual's success at work is 80 percent dependent on emotional quotient and only 20 percent dependent on intelligence quotient. This is because EQ components are useful in assisting employees with decision-making in areas like teamwork, inclusion, productivity, and communication.

Furthermore, good listening habits and skills are integral components of EQ, and carry the elements of self-awareness and control, empathy and social expertness. When a manager at AT&T Bell Labs was asked to rank his top performing engineers, high IQ was not the deciding factor, but instead how the person performed regarding the answering of e-mails, how good they were at collaborating and networking with colleagues, and their popularity with others in order to achieve the cooperation required to attain the goals. This is just one example of the benefits of high EQ regarding communication skills, time management, teamwork, leadership skills and business acumen. After all, we've often heard of the "genius" with no personality, and the brilliant surgeon with a horrible bed-side manner.

If you'd like to test your emotional intelligence, there are plenty of options available online and at your local library.


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    • Hroylo786 profile image

      Hroylo786 20 months ago from Punchbowl, Hawaii

      And there are people with high eqs and low iqs. While there are vice-a-versa. Still there are a whole slew within the mix. Testing helps people locate and isolate their weakness(es) so they perhaps may improve their lives. Better yet throw sqs into the pot to smell whats really cooking!

    • profile image

      Terrence Kwasha 4 years ago

      People with high IQs generally have higher EQs, as again most mental abilities and acquisition of knowledge stems from intelligence.

    • profile image

      julia och melinda 5 years ago

      vi tycker att detta är otriligt tråkigt så ingen av oss orkade läsa ens 5 rader av texten. gör den intressantare så läser vi! tack

    • mqjeffrey profile image

      mqjeffrey 5 years ago

      Hi Bella, thank you for reading. No, I do not think the two are mutually exclusive. I think, however, that the development of EQ stems from interacting with a variety of people in different social settings. As long as someone is willing to do that, I believe they will adapt and grow emotionally.

    • profile image

      bella 5 years ago

      Do you think high IQ will hinder the development of EQ or vice versa?

    • profile image

      muhammed ALILI 5 years ago


    • profile image

      Terrence Kwasha 5 years ago

      Jay, I am afraid you have grossly misunderstood what I have said. EQ isn't a real thing. IQ is backed up by decades and decades of scientific data pointing out that whenever someone is good at one thing, they are good at others.

      For instance, people with high IQ's are better natural leaders. EQ has no scientific foundation and is primarily used as a measure of tribalistic tendencies - IE that a person doesn't think for themselves very much (and therefore cannot be a leader in the real sense) add little value, and seek to impress others through deceptive means like the use of vague metaphors or emotional manipulation.

    • profile image

      rishabh 5 years ago

      the E.Q. and I.Q. are the examples of personal scores ?

    • profile image

      PK 5 years ago

      You don't need Maslov unless you're an idiot. Maslov is the 90's, forget that guy. EQ is a compensation for low IQ and high IQ doesn't exclude high EQ, so stop kidding yourselves.

    • profile image

      Prashant Kapade 6 years ago

      Yaa that’s true. IQ takes us up to 4th level of Moslows hierarchy of needs. But E Q starts the quest with 5th stage of self actualisation. This is the prime for every living being. Actualisation of me or self centered one & discemineting from this.

    • profile image

      salar 6 years ago

      it was so good . thanks a lot

    • profile image

      Jay 6 years ago

      Terrence Kwasha,

      You write a story about how EQ isn't 'fair' and that it should not matter in a workplace because it's about what you can do.

      But in case you never noticed, companies need leaders ? Your ideal world wold consist out of slaves/drones.. but who is to make them function ? Companies have moral responsibilties towards society. Companies and economy affects people.

      You cannot carry on working just for the sake of doing work when you have low social skills. It's ovbious, smartasses cary out work that we tell them to do.

      You're good workers, let the others lead and make the world a better place by creating solutions. You can then, when it's your turn, make the solution reality.

    • profile image

      Dr. Ali Rahman 6 years ago

      IQ & EQ are both interdependent elements aiming to evaluate individual's response to an event, environment and situation and coping ways out soundly

    • mqjeffrey profile image

      mqjeffrey 6 years ago

      Good question Liza. In my personal opinion, I would say that the EQ of a person would be tested during times of stress and anxiety and perhaps might be the best time to evaluate it. I think EQ is a reflection of an individual's ability to cope with such situations, just as IQ is a reflection of a person's ability to reason through complex problems of logic and spatial reasoning. However, this is again, just my own opinion. Thanks for reading!

    • profile image

      Liza May V Belano 6 years ago

      When do you think is the best time to measure Emotional Intelligence? Would the EQ change when measured at a time of stress or anxiety? Thank you!

    • profile image

      Gururaj 6 years ago

      Thank u for the information.....

    • profile image

      darlene 6 years ago

      loved it! thx a lot!

    • mqjeffrey profile image

      mqjeffrey 6 years ago

      What a thoughtful, well-thought out comment. Thank you for reading. I hope your attitude gets you exactly what you deserve and more in life.

    • profile image

      bsalarm 6 years ago

      So I guess a good brown-noser would be an "EQ" genius, right? What a steaming load of BS. So typical of American culture. Plaster a smile to your face, show up for your $5/hour walmart job and pretend everything is just swell.

      I recommend Barbara Ehrenreich's "Bright-sided How the Relentless Promotion of Positive Thinking Has Undermined America." And while you're at it, go stick your EQ theories up your petoot.

    • profile image

      dung beetle 6 years ago

      non sequitur: Terence Kwasha - protoss or zerg then? hehehe...

    • profile image

      dung beetle 6 years ago

      i've read somewhere (the source escapes me at this time!) that iq is essential for eq to develop (not necessarily suggesting machiavellianism here!), and that eq 'insight' can be considered a form of iq, given that there are now more than 7 types of intelligences identified. 'nature vs nurture'-wise, genetic disposition must exist before nurturing is possible and/or effective. any thoughts and/or comments?

    • profile image

      aireen pardillo 6 years ago

      this article is very helpful. thank you!

    • profile image

      Eureka 6 years ago

      Wow, my brother was right after all!! My mom and I were like, "EQ?! What the hell is that?!?! Rubbish talk!" And so, later I got a little curious and 'googled' EQ. And voila! Found this page, read it and I was blown out of my mind!! Now, I can focus thoroughly on IQ and* EQ. Very important. Love it!! THANK YOU Author!

    • profile image

      raja 6 years ago


    • profile image

      kadesh 6 years ago

      it is reAlly EQ no wonder,.to be competent in this changing wolrd

      not just brain,.but a heart to serve.

    • profile image

      Varsha Choudhary 6 years ago

      Very good article and educative. I like it.

    • profile image

      Bryan~ 6 years ago

      I'm not very much convinced by Daniel's claims.

      Talking about emotional intelligence when the means he conveys his message is via monotonous, boring text which only contains facts is quite ironic, isn't it?

      I know there has yet to be a medium where we can instantly project the pure essence of feelings into people's minds, but until then, I wont be convinced.

    • profile image

      6 years ago

      if you have common sense you probably will also be able to attain the scores that you would like to get on this test regardless if you are a psychopie

    • profile image

      Tamanna 7 years ago

      Really a very good article....

    • profile image

      kim 7 years ago

      i like it..

    • profile image

      steve 7 years ago

      I disagree with aarthi...many narcissitic men have intelligence but low empathy and EQ

    • profile image

      AARTHI 7 years ago


    • profile image

      Christopher 7 years ago

      Its really educative

    • profile image

      lizzeeee 7 years ago

      ka baat hai!!!!

    • mqjeffrey profile image

      mqjeffrey 7 years ago

      Thanks for reading. Unfortunately, other than scholarly articles, there isn't that much information freely available online regarding your empathy/emotional quotient. If you're s student, I recommend searching your school's electronic database. However, I did come across this article in the Guardian, with a scoring guide at the bottom. However, because you scored over 100, I can tell you that you are above the average. Hope this helps,,937442,00....

    • profile image

      verce 7 years ago

      hi my eq result is 119.can u pls tell me where can i get total explanation of this test free?

      thanks in advance

    • Rafini profile image

      Rafini 7 years ago from Somewhere I can't get away from

      I agree with Terrence Kwasha - EQ is used to manipulate those with less favorable social skills (those with a high IQ) in order to 'prove' the worth of those with high EQ to themselves.

    • mqjeffrey profile image

      mqjeffrey 8 years ago

      Thank you everyone for reading and for your thoughtful comments. I have been away from HubPages for too long... (traveling will do that :)

      Again, muchas gracias!

    • profile image

      Rama Gautam 8 years ago

      Great article. EQ is indeed underrated and many think that to have it is a sign of weakness. From my experience, I found that a combination of both would be ideal,but people with higher EQ than IQ are able to function much better, at their workplace.

    • GmaGoldie profile image

      Kelly Kline Burnett 8 years ago from Madison, Wisconsin

      5 stars - thumbs up! Wonderful! I have this bookmarked to link back - thank you for a great Hub!

    • TheWriterIVY profile image

      TheWriterIVY 8 years ago from Savannah

      Excellent Hub - There has for so long been this thought process that ones intelligence is what determines their success but in truth we need to have both intellect as well as an open emotional capacity to truly find happiness. After all, we all view success in different ways and being at peace, at least in my view - is the ultimate success. Great comparisons - Really enjoy your writing.

    • profile image

      DEBBIE 8 years ago

      hello, this really helped for my english essay :D


    • profile image

      srawan kumar 8 years ago

      very excellent

    • profile image

      LEWJ 8 years ago

      Excellent hub. History and daily life bears out that an emotionally sound individual of average intellect can be highly successful while an emotionally unsound individual of high intellectual capability can be a dramatically obvious underachiever. The best case is that of those who are balanced in both areas.

      A good case in point of the balance of EQ with IQ was J. Robert Oppenheimer, who configured, managed and spearheaded the atomic bomb project at Los Alamos. A fine presentation of this example is the movie called "The Day After Trinity", narrated by Paul Frees.

    • profile image

      Dalalrose 8 years ago

      In my opinion EQ is more important to shine our life.

    • Danton Young profile image

      Danton Young 8 years ago

      A much needed comparison, I think most people have heard about IQ but not EQ, nice job.

    • profile image

      Saurav 8 years ago

      Its really amazing. This article has changed my concept about E.Q. Before i was focussing On I.Q only

    • qwark profile image

      qwark 8 years ago

      Hello Majeffrey:


      Every facet of your "Hub" is, of course, only part and parcel of the integral definition of "intelligence."

      If one is honest and and thoughtful, "intelligence" can only be defined in this manner: "intelligence is the ability of a human being to use all the "wisdom" it has gained in life to exist for as long as it's genetic programming will allow."

      The goal of all life is survival. The "intelligent," live to procreate, nurture their young to maturity and then live a healthy life dedicated to enjoying it for as long as "genetics" will allow.

      To attain this goal, all the varied facets which comprise "intelligence" i.e. EQ, must be included.


    • mqjeffrey profile image

      mqjeffrey 8 years ago

      Thank you all for reading!

    • profile image

      Sreelal L S 8 years ago


      This post is one of the best i have ever read on E Q.. Great work...

    • rainshadow profile image

      rainshadow 8 years ago

      I like your postulations. I think they fit in well with recent studies I have seen that document the evolution of emotions. You have excellent information that is backed up by newly verified evidence. Your style of writing is very easy on the eyes as well, I am excited to read more.

    • profile image

      Terrence Kwasha 8 years ago

      IMO the importance of emotional intelligence in many workplaces is a sign of corruption and inefficiency. Whereas IQ is a scientifically sound statistical indicatior of the speed at which people extract information from their surroundings, EQ is just a measure of agreement with some person's ideas on how people should behave. People with low "EQ's" are not incapable of anything - they just refuse to ignore what they uniquely know to be true in favor of "going with the flow".

      It is true that such people can become more efficient at persuading and motivating others using what they know. However, the vasts amount of philisophical knowledge that allow such a person to do this cannot be compared to a person who just "goes with the flow" and maybe tosses around a specious metaphor based argument or 2 and thus avoids confrontation with others this way.

      IMO EQ as described by the author has become important in the workplace because things like truth and efficiency have become less important in the workplace than employee's egos. When considering long established big business, the need for efficiency is replaced by large amounts of capitol to absorb the impact of poor decisions and buyout/implement effective novel ideas engineered by upstart small businesses.

    • metaphysician profile image

      metaphysician 8 years ago

      Daniel Goldman, Emotional Intelligence is a good read for EQ and yet you have pointed out those essense facts there. Thanks.

    • john guilfoyle profile image

      john guilfoyle 8 years ago

      ditto!!!!!!!! I wholeheartedly agree with the aforementioned comment....


    • john guilfoyle profile image

      john guilfoyle 8 years ago

      ditto!!!!!!!! I wholeheartedly agree with the aforementioned comment....


    • Sufidreamer profile image

      Sufidreamer 9 years ago from Sparti, Greece

      Interesting article - too many people are fixated on IQ as the only test of intelligence. EQ is an underrated concept.

    • Bozyslawa profile image

      Bozyslawa 10 years ago

      Emotional intelligence is the outcome of BOTH INHERITED TENDENCIES AND THOSE DEVELOPED BY EXPERIENCE on the basis of the inherited "canvas" on which we paint out own life story. Just as we inherit the colour of eyes, skin, hair, bodily structure and voice, so we inherit the tendencies to "favour" specific emotions which dominate in the family. There are "angry" families, "sad" bitter, jealous, revengeful, helpless, happy, etc. and the inherited material is not equally or evenly explored and exploited by different family members, just as siblings look differently from each other, but with important common features.

      It is, therefore, very important to keep in mind that whatever the underlying "blanket" of family emotions may be pulling and pushing us in certain directions, we also have a chance to control the ways in which we let these influences shape our behaviour and attitudes. We each get a piece of this "emotional blanket" - to deal with at our own responsibility.

    • mqjeffrey profile image

      mqjeffrey 10 years ago

      Thanks for reading. To answer your questions, absolutely; I believe EQ is very important, because it enables individuals to successfully interact with others and be holisitcally healthier as well, due to increased emotional awareness. Now, there are some who prefer solitude, and if that's fine. However, interpersonal communication is essential to today's society, as can be seen in the daily use of mobile phones, IM'ing, e-mail, etc. As a lot of conversations today are not conducted face to face, knowing how to best say something becomes even more important, because you (usually) only get one try.

      As to your second question, I would say that it is a combination of both. Clealrly, we can all learn ways of modifying our behavior through the instruction of others or what we teach ourselves. However, there are certainly those who are more genetically capable of coping with stress and who have that "sixth sense" about others. I would say that developments in emotional awareness and other aspects of EQ are definitely a result of one's experiences as well. The more we interact with others, the better we become at picking up emotional cues. Practice makes perfect, after all.  

    • profile image

      swanzy27 10 years ago

      l have only two question

      1.Do you find EQ to be a useful personality characteristic? Why or why not? belive is genetic or is shaped by experience


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