You’ve probably come across the term “emotional intelligence” a few times in your life, but is this even a real thing?
Emotional intelligence is actually the ability to control and sense emotions, and for a long time, it was the subject of debate amongst people and scientists alike. But that’s about to change.
Here is what you need to know.
Emotional Intelligence 101
Emotional intelligence (EI) was described as the ability to express, regulate, and recognize emotions for the first time back in the 1990s. And since then, scientists succeeded in identifying different types of EI.
Prof. Leehu Zysberg, for example, states that the most common types of EI are Ability EI and Trait EI. But, more recently, we came across the well-known Big Five personality traits, which are correlated with the Trait EI. These are:
As for the Ability EI, this is not really a recognized personality trait. Still, it stands for the skill to understand, perceive, and use emotions to do many things.
Some even consider Ability EI a form of intelligence, more similar to IQ. But, then again, such a thing is highly debated.
Do We Have Proof For EI?
Well, that’s where things start to turn interesting. Many scientists agreed that there is actually a scientific proof for EI. How is that?
Apparently, EI scores can foretell other measurable outcomes (again, similar to IQ). For example, high ability EI has been proved to connect with career success and positive feelings and relationships. And that’s not all.
Prof. Carrie Lloyd, an expert from Northcentral University, explains:
“[…] increased EI has a beneficial effect in terms of current depression status; […] for every 1-point increased in the EQ scaled score, the risk of depression decreased by 5 %.”
That means we can totally measure EI, right?
How to Measure EI?
We can measure this type of EI by using some tests dubbed MSCEIT. These use emotion-based issues to test emotional awareness carefully (pretty cool!).
This EI type is measured via self-report tests, similar to personality tests (it rings a bell, right?).
Such tests present some challenges, and you can find out how bad or good you are. But, in fact, things are more complicated.
Tests are somehow easy to guess, so we can’t really trust them. Generally, measuring EI is highly challenging because we still didn’t figure out what EI truly is.
“[…]The answer to this question depends on the definition and measurement of emotional intelligence,” states Prof Igor Grossmann.
So, yes, we have enough proof for our ability to perceive and control emotions, but EI is not yet fully defined and we still need more research. One thing is sure. Scientists are now on the right track to discover the real deal about EI.