What is Emotional Intelligence?

Darwin often spoke of the emotional expression which was necessary for the survival and adaptation of the species. Since the 1900s, most researchers have emphasized the more cognitive areas of the brain, particularly those that dealt with logic or problem solving.

There is some degree of contention which exists when it comes to properly defining EI. Some define emotional intelligence as the ability to monitor not only your feelings, but those of others. A person with emotional intelligence is able to find a distinction between these feelings, and can use this info to properly guide their actions.

This is an earlier definition, and there has been some confusion which has occurred due to its meaning. In addition to this, the definitions for EI vary since the field is expanding at such a rapid pace.

As of this writing, there are three primary models for EI, and these models are the Trait EI model, the Mixed model EI, and the Ability EI model. The ability based model involves the emotions and their integrations for the facilitation of thought, controlled in a manner which allows for personal growth. The ability based model sees emotions as being an effective way to assist one in functioning properly within a social environment.

The Ability Based Model

The ability based model indicates that people are distinct when it comes to their ability to handle information which is emotional based, as well as their ability to connect their emotions to other phenomenon. Their abilities will generally manifest themselves in specific behaviors which are adaptive.

There are three types of abilities which are associated with this model, and these are the ability to perceive emotions, the ability to use emotions, the ability to handle emotions, and the ability to decipher emotions. The ability based model is often the subject of criticism since it doesn’t appear to have many practical applications.

The Mixed Model EI is quite distinct from ability based model. The mixed model theory views emotions as a set of skills which can allow one to perform as a leader. Some of the factors which are associated with the mix model include self awareness, social awareness, self management, and relationship management.

Self awareness is extremely important because it gives one the ability to analyze their emotions, evaluating the impact they have on others while using these emotions to make critical decisions. Self management involves a person’s ability to control their emotions in such a way that they’re able to react to circumstances which change. Relationship management involves a person’s ability to function with others and manage conflict.

Trait EI Model

The Trait EI Model is defined as a collection of self perceptions which are based on emotion, self perceptions which can be found at the base of one’s personality. In other words, Trait EI deals with the self perception a person has of their own emotional skills.

This type of EI deals a lot with the dispositions associated with behavior, along with those that are self perceived. While the ability based model deals primarily with one’s skills, this model deals with the perception one has of their skills. Having said that, Trait EI must be studied in the context of one’s personality. EI has become the subject of more intensive study in recent years, and advancements in this area will continue to be made.


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