Define emotional intelligence. Discuss the historical development and components of
CONCEPT OF EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE
The term emotional intelligence can be broken down into two concepts- emotions
and intelligence. If one is asked about emotions in general terms, the first responses
are likely to constitute a perspective on emotions that is inherently restrictive.
Most commonly, emotions are seen to make us inefficient, are a sign of weakness,
a distraction and obstacle to good judgment and decision making. The two
words in the term emotional intelligence can then be seen to contradict each other,
if viewed from this lens. However, modern neuroscience has served to debunk
these myths and highlighted several important functions that emotions serve. We
now know that emotions provide vital feedback and information about our world,
spark creativity, aid decision making, enhance reasoning and strengthen trust and
connection- all of which are crucial if we are to not just function but thrive as
Emotional intelligence (EI) is a set of emotional and social skills that influence
the way we perceive and express ourselves, develop and maintain social
relationships, cope with challenges, and use emotional information in an
effective and meaningful way. Several definitions of emotional intelligence have
been proposed over the years.
HISTORICAL DEVELOPMENT OF EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE
The concept of emotional intelligence has its roots in early psychologists’
conceptualisation of intelligence. Thorndike in 1920 proposed that intelligence
is comprised of three distinct domains or classes: (i) Abstract, analytic or
verbal; (ii) Mechanical, performance and visuo-spatial; (iii) Social or practical.
Thorndike, thus, expanded on the traditional view of ‘intelligence’ as being
purely cognitive by identifying several other kinds of intelligences.
Specifically, his social/practical intelligence component indicates emotional
intelligence aspect. Howard Gardner (1983) further identified eight different
abilities: musical-rhythmic, visual-spatial, verbal- linguistic, bodilykinesthetic,
logical-mathematical, intrapersonal, interpersonal and naturalistic.
Here, the intrapersonal and interpersonal intelligences are related to aspects
of emotional intelligence. Another psychologist, Sternberg (1985) talked about
three types of intelligence such as analytical, creative and practical intelligence.
In all these notions of intelligence, we can see the building blocks of emotional
intelligence – social intelligence, intrapersonal and interpersonal intelligences,
and practical intelligence can all be said to reflect emotional intelligence
COMPONENTS OF EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE