By raising a consciousness of the way one’s emotions react with one’s intellect, Emotional Intelligence Theory seeks to empower people by teaching them how emotions and the psyche work in-tandem to propel a person’s actions. Peter Salovey and John Mayer initially coined the theory in 1990, and it was further established by Salovey, Mayer, and David Caruso in 2000 (Dinh, 2017). In her presentation, Dinh (2017) provides two sources for the definition of Emotional Intelligence: “Emotional Intelligence brings together the fields of emotions and intelligence by viewing emotions as useful sources of information that help one to make sense of and navigate the social environment” (Salovey, P., qtd by Dihn, 2017), and “Emotional Intelligence (EI) refers to the ability to make your emotions work for you by using them in ways that produce the results you want. In essence, you use your emotions to facilitate your performance” (Weisinger, H., qtd by Dihn, 2017).
Dinh (2017) continues by providing examples of how emotions affect reactions, and she points out that while emotional responses are universal (everyone feels pain, sorrow, elation, etc), we all “express them differently”, and with each emotion, “we deal with it differently, and organize it differently”. Ding (2017) explains that there are two principle parts of Emotional Intelligence, and they explain how: Emotions impact results and lifetime performance, while Intelligence helps a person adapt to their environment (Dihn, 2017). There are four branches of EI Theory: Understanding Emotions (self-awareness), Using Emotions (motivation through emotions), Managing Emotions (mood manipulation), and Perceiving Emotions (ability to relate to others, recognize their emotions) (Dinh, 2017).
Dinh (2017) mentions several limitations to Emotion Intelligence Theory. The first is that the concept is vague and can be interpreted, and used, in many different ways (Dinh, 2017). It is difficult to measure intelligence, and it is also difficult to measure any true validity as to its application (Dinh, 2017). Another problematic issue with EI Theory is that the ability to manipulate others’ emotions is fraught with ethical concerns (Dinh, 2017). Additionally, EI Theory may be difficult to utilize in research settings because of these ethical concerns, and the opportunity for distress to research subjects.
In terms of both real world applicability to education and regarding its positive uses, EI Theory has been implemented in some schools as a means to counter bullying and to foster tolerance in students. Researcher Daniel Goleman has lead the way to education implementation of EQ. On his webpage, Goleman (no date) recalls, “in 1995, I outlined the preliminary evidence suggesting that SEL (social and emotional learning) was the active ingredient in programs that enhance children’s learning while preventing problems such as violence. Now the case can be made scientifically: helping children improve their self-awareness and confidence, manage their disturbing emotions and impulses, and increase their empathy pays off not just in improved behaviour but in measurable academic achievement” (Danielgoleman.info). Goleman (no date) has linked SEL with his work in EI Theory to promote emotional and mental well-being in students, as well as in other settings, such as the workplace (Danielgoleman.info).
Regarding research methods, EI Theory is a positivist theory that would most likely use phenomenological methods such as case studies or individual interviews, and these sessions often include having the participants complete emotional intelligence tests, activities, and/or exercise worksheets (businessballs.com). The theory is positivist because it relies on the thought that everybody has universal emotional responses and this universality enables researchers to try to approach how our emotions and intellect may be manipulated to work in particular ways.
Businessballs.com (2017) “Emotional intelligence (EQ)”. <Retrieved from http://www.businessballs.com/eq.htm>
Dinh, Nhung. (21 June, 2017) Presentation on emotional intelligence. ED614. University of Prince Edward Island.
Goleman, Daniel. (n.d) “Info: emotional intelligence”. Daniel Goleman. <Retrieved from http://www.danielgoleman.info/topics/emotional-intelligence/>
StefanieinLA. (n.d.) Stock Photo. Morguefile.com