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Kendra Cherry

What is Emotional Intelligence?

By November 22, 2012

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emotional intelligence

According to John D. Mayer and Peter Salovey, two of the leading researchers on the topic, emotional intelligence (EI) is "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." Interest in emotional intelligence has grown significantly since the 1990s, with research suggesting that good emotional understanding can lead to increased social effectiveness.

What are some of the characteristics of an individual with high emotional intelligence? In a 2004 article, Mayer and his colleagues presented some observations on emotionally intelligent people:

  • Better at perceiving, using, understanding, and managing emotions.
  • Generally more agreeable and open.
  • Less likely to engage in risky behaviors including smoking, drinking, drug abuse, and violence.
  • More positive social experiences.

You can learn more about the history of emotional intelligence, some of the tests developed to measure emotional intelligence, and quotes about emotional intelligences in the following articles:

Photo courtesy Richard Styles

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