Last updated: July 15, 2019
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The concept of emotional intelligence has proven itself a catalyst to the thinking and planning of educators, foundation officers, and policy makers. It offers a unified way of looking at what had been seen as only loosely related efforts in primary prevention. For example, under this banner, policy makers in one state are seeking to use school-based programs to unify primary prevention efforts in crime, mental health, public health, even with the unemployed–all efforts that had previously been fragmented.

The emotional intelligence competencies are to a greater or lesser extent at cause in problems in all these areas, and to the degree that these skills can be bolstered, they offer a way to lower the risk of problems like family violence or chronic unemployability. Business, too, is seeing practical value in the emotional intelligence idea, which offers a way to think about a key range of skills that make people not just employable but that distinguish highly effective performers from mediocre ones. Thus in this report I discusses the general scope and origin of emotional intelligence also I have discuses the association of IQ and EQ.

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I discuses the overlap of the early-twentieth-century mental-hygiene movement with the contemporary popularity of emotional intelligence. Through the increasing authority of cognitive science and the applied use of behavioural psychology we are faced with a new conception of the moral individual: a self premised as biologically predisposed to make the “right” moral choices if properly educated. I further discuses that “emotional intelligence” reflects a contemporary example of pastoral power: the individual seduced to police his or her emotions in the interest of neoliberal, globalized capitalism.

Also in this report I have discussed the correlation with emotional intelligence and anxiety. Introduction Goleman (1995) discusses recent brain and behavioural research and qualities that mark people who excel in real life those whose intimate relationships flourish and who are stars in the workplace. “Emotional Intelligence,” he says, includes “self-awareness and impulse control, persistence, zeal and self-motivation, empathy and social deftness,” basic capacities needed if individuals are to thrive and if society is to prosper. Goleman, D, 1995). The general Scope and Origin of Emotional Intelligence Understanding the concept of emotional intelligence requires exploring its two component terms, intelligence and emotion. Since the eighteenth century, psychologists have recognized an influential three-part division of the mind into cognition (or thought), affect (including emotion), and motivation (or conation). (Mayer J. D, 1995). The cognitive sphere includes such functions as human memory, reasoning, judgment, and abstract thought.

Intelligence is typically used by psychologists (and those who came before) to characterize how well the cognitive sphere functions. That is, intelligence pertains to abilities such as the “power to combine and separate” concepts, to judge and to reason, and to engage in abstract thought. (Walsh W. B. , & Betz N. E, 1995). Emotions belong to the second, so-called affective sphere of mental functioning, which includes the emotions themselves, moods, evaluations, and other feeling states, including fatigue or energy.

Definitions of emotional intelligence should in some way connect emotions with intelligence if the meanings of the two terms are to be preserved. Recall that motivation is a third sphere of personality. It refers to biological urges or learned goal-seeking behaviour. To the extent that it is involved in emotional intelligence, it should be thought of as secondary. Not everything that connects cognition to emotion, however, is emotional intelligence. Over the past 15 years or so, a great deal of study has been devoted to the mutual interaction of feelings and thought.

This general area of research is called cognition and affect. Emotion is known to alter thinking in many ways–but not necessarily in ways that would make a person smarter. For example, research indicates that moods generally bias people’s thoughts: People in good moods think they are healthier than others, that the economy is improving, and that Paris is a better example of a city than Calcutta. People in bad moods tend to think they are sicker than others, that the economy is getting worse, and that Calcutta exemplifies the present-day urban condition fairly accurately. Mayer J. D. , ; Salovey P, 1995). This mood-biasing effect, termed mood-congruent judgment, occurs when “an affective match between a person’s moods and ideas increases the judged merit, broadly defined, of those ideas. ” (Mayer J. D, 1995). Note that with mood congruent judgment, mood and cognition interact without anyone being more or less smart. The field of cognition and affect also includes studies of emotional self-control, such as when a person buries her anger. Note that this doesn’t necessarily improve the quality of the person’s emotions or intelligence.

It may be smart to be angry at times. Emotional intelligence, as opposed to more general research, should in some way refer to heightened emotional or mental abilities. Although this criterion seems straightforward, some definitions of emotional intelligence don’t really adhere to it. For example, one popular definition of emotional intelligence says it involves “self-control, zeal and persistence, and the ability to motivate oneself. ” (Goleman, D, 1995). This definition focuses on motivational characteristics such as zeal and persistence rather than on emotion.

The concept of a motivational intelligence has been proposed to incorporate such alternative definitions. A slightly abbreviated version of the definition of emotional intelligence is the ability to perceive emotions, to access and generate emotions so as to assist thought, to understand emotions and emotional knowledge, and to reflectively regulate emotions so as to promote emotional and intellectual growth. This definition combines the ideas that emotion makes thinking more intelligent and that one thinks intelligently about emotions. Both connect intelligence and emotion.

EQ and IQ Alfred Binet developed the intelligence test in 1905. In the preface to its Americanized version, the “Stanford-Binet” test was introduced with this vision of its application: “in the near future intelligence tests will bring tens of thousands of these high-grade defectives under the surveillance and protection of society. This will ultimately result in curtailing the reproduction of feeble-mindedness and in the elimination of an enormous amount of pauperism, and industrial inefficiency” (Rose, Steven, R. C. Lewontin, and L. Kamin, 1984).

Thanks to the myth of science’s neutral gaze, standardized tests appear to measure the individual’s pre-existing deficits and degeneracy, hiding the fact that the IQ test itself produces a degenerate population and justifies social stratification necessary to capitalist production. The association of IQ and eugenics is not a thing of the past: Recent debates regarding the bell curve and renewed interest in equating intelligence with biological heredity are evidence that science continues to be applied toward questionable ends. Emotional quotient is billed as the newest measure of intelligence and success.

The cover states in capital letters: “The groundbreaking book that redefines what it means to be smart. ” And the full title is Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQ. Closer examination reveals that emotional intelligence is a neoliberal variation of genetic discourses regarding intelligence. Goleman claims that this new research challenges “those who subscribe to a narrow view of intelligence, [those who argue] that IQ is a genetic given that cannot be changed by life experience, and that our destiny in life is largely fixed by these aptitudes”(Goleman, D, 1995).

The reader may think that Goleman is challenging the ideology of innate intelligence recently reinvoked by such books as The Bell Curve. But he is not challenging genetic theories of innate intelligence quotient. Rather, his concern is that a bell curve argument ignores the more challenging question: What can we change that will help our children fare better in life? One can see the shift from the strictly genetic argument regarding intelligence, to the neoliberal and humanist discourse which instead emphasizes self-control and individual choice.

Emotional intelligence packages marketable solutions for success and self-improvement. Goleman concludes that the difference between those with mediocre IQs who are successful and those with high IQs who fail “lies in the abilities called here emotional intelligence, which include self-control, zeal, and persistence, and the ability to motivate oneself. And these skills, as we shall see, can be taught to children, giving them a better chance to use whatever intellectual potential the genetic lottery may have given them” (Goleman, D, 1995).

Emotional skills enable us to maximize the intellectual potential we have won in the genetic lottery. Intellectual potential has been firmly rooted in genetic inheritance. One can recognize a familiar conservative discourse, in which the individual’s only hope against biology’s determinism is her own bootstraps. The socially constructed environment (e. g. , the market) is instead a natural given. Goleman leaves intact the possibility of genetically-determined IQ and EQ and moves on to the ostensibly liberal question of how parents can help the quality of children’s lives.

The move away from the more conservative discourse of eugenics to caring for our children reflects liberalism’s insidious modes of social control. It is a paternalistic discourse that combines surveillance with caring protection. Unlike an explicit eugenics theory, in the neoliberal version social class is erased and unmentioned. Instead, Goleman’s text teems with descriptions of society falling apart, and good people being hurt as a result of individuals’ temperaments.

However, as with the conservative view of IQ, which roots intelligence in biological heredity, the scientific discourses that authorize this new measurement of the emotional self are centrally founded on neurobiology and the potential for hard-wired morality. The two primary scientific narratives mobilized to discipline the moral citizen for post-industrial capitalism are behavioural psychology and cognitive science. Within the history of the sciences, cognitive science represents a major paradigmatic break from behavioural psychology.

Yet the two sciences share social and economic interests, and emotional intelligence reveals cognitive science’s interest in emotions. The use of cognitive and behavioural scientific discourse to authorize emotional intelligence requires that we ask, What are the implications of these sciences for our conceptions of morality, moral education, citizen development, and globalized workplace? The risks associated with positing a measurable EQ are a concern voiced even in Time. The risks of measuring EQ need to be examined in light of the effects of Edward Thorndike’s reductive application of intelligence testing. According to Dr. Paul McHugh, director of psychiatry at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Goleman’s highly popularized conclusions “will chill any veteran scholar of psychotherapy and any neuroscientist who worries about how his research may come to be applied. ”

While many researchers in this relatively new field are glad to see emotional issues finally taken seriously, they fear that a notion as handy as EQ invites misuse. Goleman admits the danger of suggesting that you can assign a numerical yardstick to a person’s character as well as his intellect” www. brainconnection. om/topics/? main=fa/emotional-intelligence3 In his book, Goleman writes, “Unlike the familiar test for IQ there is, as yet, no single paper-and-pencil test that yields an ’emotional intelligence’ score and there may never be one”. Disturbingly, however, he goes on to describe a version of testing already developed which measures “a person’s actual ability at the task [such as empathy]-for example, by having them read a person’s feeling from a video of their facial expressions. ” In fact this has been measured and studied at the University of California at Berkeley, among other places.

Workplaces have already instituted tests such as those developed by Martin Seligman, administered to prospective employees to gauge their optimism and hence their potential profitability as marketing and salespersons. The final chapters of Emotional Intelligence explicitly make the link between emotional literacy in workplace management and in schools. Emotional intelligence serves capitalism at several levels. If workers and schoolchildren are conversational in emotional literacy, the labor system profits.

Simultaneously the “self-help” industry profits from information commodified and consumed by our own obsession with ourselves. The increasing authority of cognitive science fuels our popular and scholarly fascination with the self as a cybernetic system rather than simply a functionalist organism. Neurological science is systematically attempting to tame emotions, one of the most resistant sites of human and social life. Does it make sense to speak of EQ as the taming of the alien, the colonization of emotion?

We are in the midst of a shift from a climate of rationality to a climate of the cybernetic system which incorporates emotions. The older liberal conception of the free individual self who chooses to follow rules is replaced with the cybernetic self/system whose brain contains a universally common neural pathway that functions as the perceptual apparatus necessary to acquire (neoliberal) social skills and rules. Within these neural discourses about the social world, we find a combination of the rules-based morality rooted in traditional conceptions of the moral person, with the utility-based discourse of skills.

The compulsory educational curricula in emotional literacy, now taught in hundreds of public schools, are in large part behavioural modification programs that employ sociabiological discourses to authorize which emotional behaviours constitute the good citizen. Our futuristic visions may have invoked metaphors of machines and information coding processors, the ultimate in rationalistic dystopias. But the smooth operation of new systems of globalized networks may turn out to rely on a profitable emotional utopia, and on a hard-wired human consciousness defined by virtues of trust and empathy more than ever before.

Emotional intelligence and anxiety Emotional intelligence is an interesting concept because it draws attention to the limitations of IQ and the value of other kinds of abilities and attributes for success in living, including emotional adjustment. However, there are serious problems with the concept that require further consideration. It is important to indicate what is good about the idea and where it needs correction and, most important, to note that it is not emotions that are intelligent or not, but the automatic, preconscious thinking that underlies emotions.

It just adds insult to injury to label someone who has periods of depression or anxiety attacks as emotionally unintelligent. It is quite another matter, however, to attempt to understand the maladaptive, automatic thinking that underlies such emotional reactions. This new way of thinking not only is useful for understanding what has been included under emotional intelligence but also provides a realistic source of hope, as it has direct implications for improving emotional intelligence.

In order for the kind of multifaceted concept of emotional intelligence proposed by Dan Goleman to be scientifically legitimated, it has to be demonstrated that the presumed components of emotional intelligence, such as the ability to discern emotions in others, to feel empathy, to delay gratification, to control one’s own emotions, to exhibit social competence, and to be emotionally well adjusted and not suffer from depression, anxiety attacks, and uncontrolled hostility are, in fact, positively correlated with each other and are best conceived of as a single overall ability with semi-independent components.

It also has to be demonstrated that reliable and valid measures of the components and of the overall construct can be constructed. Nothing like this has yet been attempted, and, until it is accomplished, all we have is unsupported speculation about the existence of an undefined concept referred to as emotional intelligence. Moreover, on a conceptual basis it is difficult to see, for example, how one can defend the inclusion of social competence as a component of emotional intelligence.

Social competence and emotional adjustment are two distinct concepts, and, although related, there is no more basis for including one as a subcategory of the other than the reverse. Certainly, Gottman and Goleman and many others before them have provided impressive evidence that emotional adjustment is extremely important for leading a happy and successful life, including being able to apply one’s intellectual abilities in an efficient and constructive manner.

But because some attributes are important does not mean they should be considered forms of intelligence. Not only is nothing gained, but something is lost by substituting “emotional intelligence” for the more usual term “emotional adjustment. ” What is most reasonably viewed as an unfortunate symptom, such as having anxiety attacks or being depressed, is treated as if it is a form of low ability.


Goleman, D. (1995). Emotional intelligence. New York: Bantam Books. Mayer J. D. (1995). A framework for the classification of personality components”. Journal of Personality, 63 Mayer J. D. , & Salovey P. (1995). “Emotional intelligence and the construction and regulation of feelings”. Applied and Preventive Psychology, 4. Rose, Steven, R. C. Lewontin, and L. Kamin (1984). Not in Our Genes: Biology, Ideology, and Human Nature. London: Penguin Books. Walsh W. B. , & Betz N. E. (1995). Tests and assessment (3rd ed. ). Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall. www. brainconnection. com/topics/? main=fa/emotional-intelligence3