Year : 2021 | Volume
: 19 | Issue : 4 | Page : 278--281
Emotional intelligence – Measurement and practical applications
Harpreet Singh Dhillon1, Shibu Sasidharan2, Gurpreet Kaur Dhillon3, Babitha Manalikuzhiyil4,
1 Department of Psychiatry, Command Hospital, Western Command, Chandimandir, Haryana, India
2 Department of Anaesthesiology and Critical Care, Command Hospital, Western Command, Chandimandir, Haryana, India
3 Department of Pediatrics, Command Hospital, Western Command, Chandimandir, Haryana, India
4 Department of Radiodiagnosis and Imaging, Ojas Alchemist Hospital, Panchkula, Haryana, India
Dr. Harpreet Singh Dhillon
Assistant Professor, Department of Psychiatry, Command Hospital, Western Command, Chandimandir, Haryana
Emotional intelligence (EI) is a social intelligence distinct from academic intelligence and assists us in successfully comprehending complex personal, social, and professional situations. The four components of EI are perceiving, understanding, managing, and using emotions to enable better adaptability and creativity. In this perspective, the authors have examined means to measure EI and its implications across various life situations with special emphasis on the lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The necessity for research into multiple intelligences (cultural, practical, and spiritual) is further discussed in the way forward.
|How to cite this article:|
Dhillon HS, Sasidharan S, Dhillon GK, Manalikuzhiyil B. Emotional intelligence – Measurement and practical applications.Curr Med Issues 2021;19:278-281
|How to cite this URL:|
Dhillon HS, Sasidharan S, Dhillon GK, Manalikuzhiyil B. Emotional intelligence – Measurement and practical applications. Curr Med Issues [serial online] 2021 [cited 2022 May 24 ];19:278-281
Available from: https://www.cmijournal.org/text.asp?2021/19/4/278/331829
Emotional intelligence (EI) is a distinct social intelligence, which lies at the intersection of emotions and intelligence, and is considered essential for successful interpersonal communication, across personal, social, and professional domains. EI is conceptually defined as the ability to perceive and understand emotions, discern them as distinct from each other, assimilate them with the thought, and their regulation and expression within self and others.” The major components can further be explained as:
Perceiving emotions – The ability to correctly identify emotions and discern from one another in self, other's face, language, music, and stories etcUnderstanding and incorporating emotions – The capability to understand and assimilate emotions with intelligence to assist and guide thought processManaging emotions – The ability to amalgamate emotions with language so as to label different emotions as distinct with the capacity to experience and manage different emotions simultaneouslyUsing emotions – The ability to monitor, regulate the expression of emotions in self and others to accomplish better sense of control, enhance creativity and social competence.
EI is a qualitative capacity consisting of multiple domains. However, we do need to measure it because, though intelligence quotient (IQ) tests are fairly accurate in predicting academic success, they are incapable of predicting holistic outcomes in higher education, workplace, and social life. There are three types of tests available for measuring EI.
Ability-based emotional intelligence tests
They are used to measure maximum ability and provide a good indication of individual's ability to understand and process emotions. Mayer–Salovey–Caruso Emotional Intelligence Test (MSCEIT) is the most widely used test and has 141 questions in total with 4 constructs including perceiving emotions; facilitating thought; understanding emotions, and managing emotions. The other ability bases tests are the Situational Test of Emotional Understanding, which measures the ability to appraise and react to complicated emotional situations, and the Situational Test of Emotion Management, which measures emotion management.
Trait-based emotional intelligence test
The trait-based EI measures utilize self-report questionnaires to measure self-rated abilities as well as typical behaviors in emotion-relevant situations. They tend to provide a good prediction of actual practical behaviors across various situations rather than maximum ability and are hence better predictors of work attitudes such as job performance/satisfaction and organizational commitment. Trait Emotional Intelligence Questionnaire is the most commonly used scale consisting of 153 self-report statements measuring four factors – well-being, sociability, emotionality, and self-control.
Mixed/integrative emotional intelligence test
The term mixed EI refers to the comprehensive questionnaire, which measures a combination of social skills, traits, and competencies that overlap with cognitive and personality measures. Emotional and Social Competence Inventory consists of both cognitive ability and personality aspects and focuses heavily on predicting workplace success.
Bar-On Emotional Quotient Inventory (EQ-i) again consists of both cognitive ability and personality aspects with the emphasis on how the personality traits influence a person's general well-being. The EQ-i measures abilities and the potential for performance rather than the performance itself; it is process oriented, rather than outcome oriented.
Nature or Nurture
While some individuals have an innate ability to flex their EQ muscles, is it possible for others to learn and improve the same? Goleman (1998) proposed that unlike IQ, which is inherited, EQ is more amenable to change and can be improved with sustained efforts. This leads us to the argument – is EI influenced by nature or nurture?
The role of nature is supported by the inherent emotionality in which individuals differ in their ability to emote such that some are emotionally fluent and others are not. They experience their feelings clearly, distinctively, and are able to manage their affect better. This empowers them to quickly and effectively control disturbing emotions. The neurological substrate basis can be explained on the model of Alexithymia, in which an individual is unable to appraise and verbally express his emotions. Alexithymia could result from inefficient neural circuitry at the corpus callosum, amygdala, and mirror neurons.
Molecular genetics has revealed polymorphisms in enzymes metabolizing dopamine, transporter genes of serotonin, and brain-derived neurotrophic factor. Oxytocin role has been investigated, but the results are inconclusive. The mental ability model of EI, on the other hand, highlights the role of “;nurture” such that emotionally intelligent people are more likely to have been raised in a nondefensive environment by emotionally sensitive parents. There are cultural differences in the expression of emotions with respect to ethical or moral responsiveness; a culture defined social problem solving, which further supports the “;nurture” theory.
Can we Enhance Emotional Intelligence?
EQ is influenced by both nature and nurture; hence, it is possible to improve our EQ by working on the following specific set of skills:
Self-awareness: It is the ability to recognize, differentiate, and understand your own emotions, and the effect they have on your behavior, thus recognizing your strengths and limitations. You can enhance your self-awareness by practicing mindfulness, constructive feedbacks, or by keeping a journal/diary to reflect on your thoughts on actionsSelf-regulation: After recognizing different emotions correctly, it is important to regulate them, especially the distressing ones, so as to express them appropriately. People who are good at self-regulation stay composed, think clearly, tend to be more flexible and adaptable to new situations. We can enhance self-regulation by finding ways to express difficult emotions, building stress tolerance and cognitive reframing, consciously attending to breathing, relaxing, exercise, movement, self-expression by art, music, dance, writing, etc., all help enhance self-regulationSocial skills: The ability to interact and communicate well with others, whether at home or workplace helps in building meaningful long-term relationships. It is seen that people with superior social skills are better at conflict resolution and collaborate in large groups to boost creativity. Social skills can be improved by engaging in open-ended conversations, active listening, and observing nonverbal cues from the body languageEmpathy: Empathy is the ability to understand how others are feeling without losing objectivity. Empathetic people are sensitive and attentive to emotional cues. We can build empathy by engaging in community work, receiving feedbacks, etc.Motivation: Emotionally intelligent people are intrinsically motivated by the passion and contentment from the task at hand and are not driven by external rewards such as fame, money, recognition, and acclaim. They are optimstic, persistent, and can delay gratification until the goal is achieved. You can work on this skill set by setting small, measurable goals, creating your own routine and rituals.
The predictive value of EI can be improved when it is measured concurrently with other potential confounders such as cognitive and personality assessment tests. The practical application of EI in predicting specific outcomes can be summarized as follows.
Academic performance in children – Trentacosta and Izard (2007) studied 193 kindergarten school children with Assessment of Children's Emotion Skills (ACES) and followed them up to first grade after controlling for confounders (intelligence, attention, and personality variables). A higher score on ACES predicted better overall academic achievement. The current educational system emphasizes strongly on IQ (i.e., solve mathematics, memorize things, and recall them later), while EQ (which makes someone be able to maintain peace with others; be humble, be honest; be responsible; keep to time; respect boundaries) is not given due attention. It is recommended that EI be introduced and imparted from the formative years onward in schools.Sports and EI – The success in competitive sports is achieved by harmonious interaction between cognition and co-ordination, but the passion fuelling competitive sports is often driven by emotions. A meta-analysis studying the effect of EI on performance in sports revealed a small but significant positive relationshipInterpersonal relations – Marriage is considered the most significant event in one's life. Couples with high EI are expected to handle intimate and family relationships in a better manner. Eslami A (2014) reported a significant positive relationship between marital satisfaction and EI. In another study, it was shown that higher EI accords better marital adjustment not only in healthy couples but also in couples distressed with InfertilityMedical education – The medical profession mandates a doctor to master the skill to continue as a lifelong self-directed learner. In addition, EI can help strengthen the doctor–patient therapeutic alliance which is the cornerstone of many chronic conditions, especially psychiatric disorders. Thus, it is recommended that teaching EI should be prioritized alongside the medical educationHuman resource and Corporate Management – With the ever-increasing population on the planet, the human capital can be considered a resource as well as a liability. The increasing globalization and change in the workforce make it compelling to utilize EQ as an essential component in human resources. Rosete (2005, 2009) in an Australian study using MSCEIT could successfully differentiate the better functioning managers from the rest after controlling for personality and cognitive abilities. The successful managers were found to have better communication and co-operation skills. They tend to be better service providers by understanding customers/clients' needs, offering appropriate assistance, and enhancing customer's satisfaction and loyaltyLeadership, Politics, and Social adaptability – Individuals with higher EI tend to have better social competencies with which they can influence others, communicate better, manage conflicts diplomatically, be inspiring leaders, collaborate, build, and sustain long-term bondsMental health – There is growing evidence that mental health and subjective well-being depend on healthy emotion processing. A meta-analysis of 25 studies with a combined sample size of 8520 revealed a significant positive relationship between subjective well-being and EI. Hertel et al. found that deficits in emotion processing ability were associated with major depressive disorder, substance abuse disorder, and borderline personality disorderCOVID-19 pandemic – During the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, studies have shown that despite being adequately aware and acknowledging the need for lockdown to contain the spread of COVID, there was widespread psychological stress. Higher trait EI proved to be protective against the negative emotions of anxiety, fear, and sadness during the COVID-19 pandemicE-commerce and emotional intelligence – The online shopping behavior of consumers can be categorized into rational utilitarian buying or unreasonable compulsive shopping sprees due to impulsive decisions, often to ephemerally tide over a negative emotional state. The trend of online shopping has sky-rocketed during the lockdown imposed during COVID-19 pandemic. It is interesting to note that major E-commerce giants study your personal dispositions and exploit your psycho-emotional states from your birthdays, anniversary, and other dates of personal significance, to sell items which are not of much utility. Zamboni et al. suggested that the unpleasant emotional states significantly increased the online shopping behavior as well time spent online during this recent COVID-19 lockdown. Hence, it is imperative to develop and employ our EI to identify and regulate our emotional states before buying from online sites.
The Way Forward
A simple question – why do we need to split and study a variety of different kinds of intelligences? Howard Gardner (1983) was the first to propose the concept of multiple intelligences (visual/spatial, logical/mathematical, verbal/linguistic, kinesthetic, musical or rhythmic, intrapersonal, interpersonal, and naturalistic). It was criticized for being too broad which included a variety of personality traits, talents, and abilities in addition to intelligence. However, there has been a revival of interest in exploring different types of intelligence such as practical/successful intelligence, cultural, and spiritual intelligences. Sternberg defined practical intelligence as the ability to shape, adapt, and select environments to achieve goals for self, society, and one's culture. Cultural intelligence – people vary remarkably in their capacity to adapt to novel cultures because familiar cues and behavior are generally lacking/modified, and hence, entirely new interpretations need to be constructed. A person who is able to generate such new and appropriate responses quickly and accurately is said to have a high cultural quotient. Spiritual intelligence (Emmons, 2009) is defined as the adaptive use of spiritual information to assist in problem solving and attainment of goals. It has four components – the capability to attain heightened spiritual states, transcendence capacity, the ability to infuse a sense of the sacredness/divinity into everyday activities, and the utilization of spiritual resources to solve problems.
The arduous research in new types of intelligence is justified by the argument that it might provide us with an instrument, which has additional predictive capability than the current measures of intelligence. This can help us to make the best use of human capital available by achieving the “;Goldilocks phenomenon” of matching the most suitable man with the best-suited job to achieve optimal efficiency, psychological well-being, and sustained motivation.
EI is a distinct intelligence and provides a stimulating new area for research of human capacity. As per the existing literature, it does provide an edge in personal, educational, and social achievements in addition to psychological well-being. The good news is that it can be learned and upgraded to improve the outcomes of a variety of daily life scenarios. However, there is a need for further research to advance our understanding of EI and its integration with new intelligences.
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Conflicts of interest
There are no conflicts of interest.
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