Written by Alexis Mitchell UNCC ‘18
Emotional intelligence is defined as a subset of social intelligence. Social intelligence can be broadly defined as our ability to get along with others and getting them to cooperate with you. Simplistically put, people skills. Furthermore, emotional intelligence is defined by Peter Salovey and John D. Mayer as the “ability to monitor one’s own and others’ feelings and emotions, to discriminate among them, and to use this information to guide one’s thinking and actions” (1990, p. 189).
Mayer and Salovey have created a model to conceptualize emotional information. Components of this model include: appraising and expressing emotions in the self and others, regulating emotion in the self and others, and using emotions in adaptive ways (1990).
Emotionally intelligent individuals possess skills regarding appraising and expressing emotions by accurately and quickly perceiving and responding to their own emotions, as well as better expressing those emotions to others. The individual perception and accuracy of one’s own emotions are considered necessary skills for adequate social functioning (Salovey & Mayer, 1990).
The regulation of emotion is included in the construct of emotional intelligence because it may lead to more adaptive and reinforcing mood states. Emotionally intelligent individuals may be able to enhance their own and others’ moods through regulation and may be able to manage emotions in a way that can motivate others.
Individuals differ in their ability to harness their own emotions in order to solve problems. This makes mood and emotion two important components in an individual’s ability or inability to solve problems. The sorts of problems people identify and the way they frame them can be affected by whether they are emotionally intelligent or not. For example, an emotionally intelligent individual may be more creative in problem solving, incorporate emotional considerations when choosing alternative solutions, and in general, be more respectful and considerate to the experience of others, despite their internal experiences.
To provide a summation, people who have developed skills related to emotional intelligence understand and express their own emotions, recognize emotions in others, regulate affect, and use moods and emotions to motivate adaptive behaviors (Salovey & Mayer, 1990).
Emotional intelligence assists in an individual’s emotional growth, communication skills, emotion regulation, and overall well-being with the potential to positively affect others as well.