Emotional Intelligence: Theories and Experiments

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Emotional Intelligence: Defined

Emotional Intelligence, more commonly known as EQ or EI, describes an individual’s abilities, capacities and skills of perceiving, assessing and managing the personal emotions, emotions of others and even of groups (Mayer, et. al, 1999). Although there are many definitions of emotional intelligence, basically it can be understood as the skill to understand own feelings and emotions. In that regard, different models have been established to define and describe emotional intelligence. One of such models is Mayer and Salovey’s model, which describes emotional intelligence as a form of a social intelligence, which includes the ability to perceive personal emotions and feelings as well as others’, and use such information to define the direction of thoughts and actions. (Mayer, et. al, 1999). According to Mayer and Salovey, EQ is actually composed of four branches which include:

  • Ability to accurately perceive emotions.

Emotions can be considered as signals about important events, which take place in either the internal or external world. It is important to understand personal emotions and the emotions that are experienced by others. Such skill represents the ability to define emotions by their physical state, thoughts, appearance and behaviour. Additional this skill includes the ability to accurately express emotional needs in connection to other people. (Mayer, et. al, 1999).

  • Ability to utilize emotions in facilitating thinking.

The way how feel influences the way we think. Emotions direct our attention toward important events, prepare particular actions and influence the process of thinking. This is the very reason why it is believed that “maintaining a good system of emotional input will enhance one’s ability to think directly towards the matters that are truly important” (“Emotional Intelligence”, 2006). This skill helps to understand how to think more effectively using emotions. By controlling emotions, people can control their perception of the world and solve their problems more effectively.

  • Ability to comprehend and understand the meaning of several emotions.

Emotions are very important particularly when conveying and receiving information (“Emotional Intelligence”, 2006). Emotions are not random events, as they can be called by particular reasons which change according to particular rules. This skill reflects the ability to identify the source of the emotions, classify emotions, identify the link between the words and emotions, interpret the meanings of emotions regarding interrelations, comprehend complex emotions, and realize the transitions from one emotion to another. After identifying the source of the emotions and the possible action that is suitable for such message, the capacity to reason with and about various emotional messages and actions follow through (Mayer, et. al, 1999).

  • Ability to manage emotions.

Whatever emotion that is, it can be managed effectively. Any type of emotion can be managed. As emotions contain information and influence thinking, it is reasonable to consider them during the process of establishing logical chains, solving different tasks, and making decisions when choosing a particular model of behavior. As such, it is important to accept emotions regardless of whether they are desirable or not, and choose a behavior strategy accordingly. Such skill is related to the ability to use the information which is given by emotions, call emotions or keep them away according to their information value or benefits.

Programs/Models Established Related to Emotional intelligence

Several other models of emotional intelligence have emerged in recent years. Goleman based his model on the earlier presentations of Mayer and Salovey, and added to the outlined components several more, such as enthusiasm, insistence, empathy, good moods, optimism and social skills. In such a way, Goleman combined the cognitive skills of Mayer and Salovey with personal characteristics. In such a way, Goleman’s representation of emotional intelligence can be perceived as “a master aptitude, a capacity that profoundly affects all other abilities, either facilitating or interfering with them” (Goleman, 1995, p. 80) In such a way, Goleman argues that emotional intelligence includes the motivations of one’s actions. For example, a person with higher emotional intelligence can be more active, optimistic and achieve own goals easier than the one with lower emotional intelligence. In that sense comparing IQ with EQ can be done in favor of the latter, based on Goleman, as IQ is a stable indicator, which cannot be raised, whereas EQ can, as people emotionally grow and develop practically all their life.

Bar-On (1997) gives a wide interpretation of the term emotional intelligence. Bar-On defines emotional intelligence as non-cognitive skills and competencies which allow the person to successfully manage different life situations. Also like Goleman, Bar-On agreed that emotional intelligence has the predictive ability, specifically suggesting that it can help optimize academic potential and life success (Bar-On & Parker, 2000).

Bar-On outlined five spheres of competencies, which can resemble five components of emotional intelligence; each of these components includes several sub-components, which can be outlined as follows”

  • Intrapersonal skills –realizing own emotions, self-confidence, self-respect, self-actualization, and independence.
  • Interpersonal skills – empathy, interpersonal relations, and social responsibility.
  • Adaptability – flexibility, connection with reality, and managing problems.
  • Stress-management – stress resistance, and impulsivity control.
  • General mood – happiness and optimism.

Goleman (1995) and Bar-On (1997) have theorized that emotional intelligence is “highly related to a variety of social, behavioral, and academic benefits”. However, it should be noted that in the actual setting, there is only a very minimal amount of experiential evidence that exists which would suggest that emotional intelligence contributes to any form of successful living (Bar-On & Parker, 2000). (Bar-On & Parker, 2000)

Additionally, Bar-On developed a questionnaire of emotional intelligence measurement, called EQ-i which consists of 133 items and 15 scales corresponding to the aforementioned components and subcomponents. The Bar-On EQ-i-Youth Version was implemented with the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children-Fourth Edition (WISC-IV) to predict a certain relation of success-academic achievements. Each instrument was administered to a group of 141 students, between the ages of 11 and 17, all from different backgrounds. A multiple regression analysis revealed that the Bar-On Total EQ did not affect the knowledge of the student’s WIAT-II total academic achievement, yet a particular Bar-On sub-component predicted the achievement of the students WISC-IV- FSIQ (Wechsler, 2003) In that sense, it should be noted that the model is based solely on literature and the author’s experience in that field, rather than on empirical data that could confirm the validity of outlining just these sub-components.

Finally, Obiakor’s model focuses on implementing emotional intelligence in the classroom. The basic approach is based on the collaboration between the school curriculum and teacher’s preparation programs. Mentoring while teaching the students the importance of teamwork develops positive models and self-esteem. (Obiakor, 2001) It can be seen that this model is not solely based on emotional intelligence rather than it implements the results of the previous studies in effective learning.

Summarizing the models and the theories of emotional intelligence, it can be seeming that the importance of emotional intelligence cannot be overestimated. As with many other scientific terms, the distinctions between the definition and the description of emotional intelligence only raise the interest in that aspect. Nevertheless, the presented models only represent the most popular views on emotional intelligence, while the number of researchers and theorists devoted to this area is enormous, where it is enough to see the number of reference pages in any of the presented researchers’ works.


  1. Bar-On, R. (1996). The era of the EQ: Defining and assessing emotional intelligence. Poster session presented at the annual convention of the American Psychological Association, Toronto, Canada.
  2. Bar-On. R., & Parker. J. D. (2000). The emotional quotient inventory: Youth version (EQ-i-YV), North Tonawanda, NY: Multi-Health Systems.
  3. “Emotional Intelligence” 2006.
  4. “Emotional Intelligence: Components” 2006.
  5. Goleman, D. (1995). Emotional intelligence. New York: Bantam.
  6. Mayer, J. D., Caruso, D., & Salovey, P. (1999). Emotional intelligence meets traditional standards for an intelligence. Intelligence, 27, 267-298.
  7. Mayer, J. D., & Salovey, P. (1997). What is emotional intelligence? In P. Salovey & D. J. Sluyter (Eds.), Emotional development and emotional intelligence (pp. 3-31). New York: HarperCollins.
  8. Obiakor, Festus E. (2001). Developing emotional intelligence in learners with behavioral Problems: Refocusing special education. Behavioral Disorders, 26, 321-326.

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PsychologyWriting. (2023) 'Emotional Intelligence: Theories and Experiments'. 25 January.


PsychologyWriting. 2023. "Emotional Intelligence: Theories and Experiments." January 25, 2023. https://psychologywriting.com/emotional-intelligence-theories-and-experiments/.

1. PsychologyWriting. "Emotional Intelligence: Theories and Experiments." January 25, 2023. https://psychologywriting.com/emotional-intelligence-theories-and-experiments/.


PsychologyWriting. "Emotional Intelligence: Theories and Experiments." January 25, 2023. https://psychologywriting.com/emotional-intelligence-theories-and-experiments/.