Emotional Intelligence- Introduction

Emotional Intelligence, RAS 2018, UPSC Paper 4, GS, Ethics

Aristotle wrote about Emotional Intelligence in 325 BC. In 1995, Daniel Goleman wrote the “Emotional Intelligence – Why it can matter more than IQ” which became a best seller and the reason behind popularity of the term Emotional intelligence. In simple terms, Emotional intelligence is the ability to identify and manage your own emotions and the emotions of others.

Emotional Intelligence: Defintion

  • Emotional intelligence (EI), refers to the ability to perceive, control and evaluate emotions of oneself, of others, and of groups. (Mayer & Salovey, 1997).
  • Goleman (1998) defines emotional intelligence as the capacity for recognising our own feelings and those of others, for motivating ourselves, and for managing emotions, well in ourselves and in our relationships.

Models of Emotional Intelligence (EI):

There are three main models of emotional intelligence:

  • Ability model
  • Mixed model
  • Trait model

Ability Model

The Ability model by Peter Salovey and John Mayer perceives EI as a form of pure intelligence. It regards EI as a cognitive ability. As per Mayer and Salovey, EI is the ability:

  • To perceive emotions,
  • To generate emotions to assist thought,
  • To understand emotions
  • To effectively regulate emotions

to promote emotional as well as intellectual growth. Hence, Mayer and Salovey identified four areas (branches) of EI:

  1. Perceiving emotions – the ability to detect and decipher emotions in faces, pictures, voices, and cultural artifacts—including the ability to identify one’s own emotions. Perceiving emotions represents a basic aspect of emotional intelligence, as it makes all other processing of emotional information possible.
  2. Reasoning with emotions – the ability to harness emotions to facilitate various cognitive activities, such as thinking and problem solving. The emotionally intelligent person can capitalize fully upon his or her changing moods in order to best fit the task at hand.
  3. Understanding emotions – the ability to comprehend emotion language and to appreciate complicated relationships among emotions. For example, understanding emotions encompasses the ability to be sensitive to slight variations between emotions, and the ability to recognize and describe how emotions evolve over time.
  4. Managing emotions – the ability to regulate emotions in both ourselves and in others. Therefore, the emotionally intelligent person can harness emotions, even negative ones, and manage them to achieve intended goals.


As the model considers, EI as type of cognitive ability, the EI tests are modeled on ability-based IQtests. The current measure of Mayer and Salovey’s model of EI, the Mayer-Salovey-Caruso Emotional Intelligence Test (MSCEIT) is based on a series of emotion-based problem-solving items.

Mixed Model:

Includes two models:

  • Reuven Bar-On Model
  • EI model by Daniel Goleman

Reuven Bar-On Model

Reuven Bar-On (1988) considered EI in the framework of personality theory, specifically a model of well-being. The model focuses on a range of emotional and social abilities, including the ability to be aware of, understand, and express oneself, the ability to be aware of, understand, and relate to others, the ability to deal with strong emotions, and the ability to adapt to change and solve problems of a social or personal nature (Bar-On, 1997). Bar-On model has five components of EI:

  • Intrapersonal,
  • Interpersonal,
  • Adaptability,
  • Stress management
  • General mood.

This model postulates that EI develops over time and that it can be improved through training, programming, and therapy (Bar-On, 2002).

EI model by Daniel Goleman

The model introduced by Daniel Goleman and focuses on EI as a wide array of competencies and skills that drive leadership performance. Goleman’s model outlines five main EI constructs:

  1. Self-awareness – the ability to know one’s emotions, strengths, weaknesses, drives, values and goals and recognize their impact on others while using gut feelings to guide decisions.
  2. Self-regulation – involves controlling or redirecting one’s disruptive emotions and impulses and adapting to changing circumstances.
  3. Social skill – managing relationships to move people in the desired direction
  4. Empathy – considering other people’s feelings especially when making decisions
  5. Motivation – being driven to achieve for the sake of achievement.

Goleman includes a set of emotional competencies within each construct of EI. Emotional competencies are not innate talents, but rather learned capabilities that must be worked on and can be developed to achieve outstanding performance.

Trait Model:

This model was proposed by Konstantinos Vasilis Petrides (“K. V. Petrides”). He defined the trait model as “a constellation of emotional self-perceptions located at the lower levels of personality.” Trait model is based on an individual’s self-perceptions of their emotional abilities.


  • Trait Model uses personality framework to investigate trait EI.
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