Introduction To Emotional Intelligence
Since the publication of the bestselling book Emotional Intelligence by Daniel Goleman (1995), the topic of emotional intelligence has popularized. Programs seeking to increase emotional intelligence have been implemented in numerous settings, and courses on developing one’s emotional intelligence have been introduced in universities and organizations. But what exactly is emotional intelligence?
According to Goleman, emotional intelligence (E.I.) refers to the ability to recognize and regulate emotions in ourselves and others (Goleman, 2001).
Peter Salovey and John Mayer initially defined emotional intelligence as:
A form of intelligence that ...view middle of the document...
Each area is further divided into two branches that range from basic psychological processes to more complex processes integrating emotion and cognition
1. PERCEIVING EMOTION. The initial, most basic, area has to do with the nonverbal reception and expression of emotion. Evolutionary biologists and psychologists have pointed out that emotional expression evolved in animal species as a form of crucial social communication. Facial expressions such as happiness, sadness, anger, and fear, were universally recognizable in human beings. Emotions researchers, evolutionary biologists, specialists in nonverbal behavior, and others, have made tremendous inroads into understanding how human beings recognize and express emotions. The capacity to accurately perceive emotions in the face or voice of others provides a crucial starting point for more advanced understanding of emotions.
2. USING EMOTIONS TO FACILITATE THOUGHT. The second area appeared every bit as basic as the first. This was the capacity of the emotions to enter into and guide the cognitive system and promote thinking. For example, cognitive scientists pointed out that emotions prioritize thinking. In other words: something we respond to emotionally, is something that grabs our attention. Having a good system of emotional input, therefore, should helped direct thinking toward matters that are truly important. As a second example, a number of researchers have suggested that emotions are important for certain kinds of creativity to emerge. For example, both mood swings, and positive moods, have been implicated in the capacity to carry out creative thought.
3. UNDERSTANDING EMOTIONS. Emotions convey information: Happiness usually indicates a desire to join with other people; anger indicates a desire to attack or harm others; fear indicates a desire to escape, and so forth. Each emotion conveys its own pattern of possible messages, and actions associated with those messages. A message of anger, for example, may mean that the individual feels treated unfairly. The anger, in turn, might be associated with specific sets of possible actions: peacemaking, attacking, retribution and revenge-seeking, or withdrawal to seek calmness. Understanding emotional messages and the actions associated with them is one important aspect of this area of skill. Once a person can identify such messages and potential actions, the capacity to reason with and about those emotional messages and actions becomes of importance as well. Fully understanding emotions, in other words, involves the comprehension of the meaning of emotions, coupled with the capacity to reason about those meanings. It is central to this group of emotionally intelligent skills.
4. MANAGING EMOTIONS. Finally, emotions often can be managed. A person needs to understand emotions convey information. To the extent that it is under voluntary control, a person may want to remain open to emotional signals so long as they are not too painful, and block out...