Emotional Intelligence Essay

1681 words - 7 pages

“All learning has an emotional base”, this quote was said by one of the greatest Greek philosophers Plato. The idea that emotions are the bases of learning is the foundation of emotional intelligence. Emotional intelligence was the term coined by psychologist John Mayer and Peter Salovey. It referred to the ability for an individual to observe, manage and assess their emotions. There were many researchers who believed that individuals could learn and strengthen their emotional intelligence, and others claimed it to be an innate trait that people were born with. Nonetheless both agreed that emotional intelligence was an essential tool needed to make assessments of emotions in one self and in others (Sternberg, 2000, p. 300).
As early as the 1940’s psychologist started to focus more on cognition, they began to research and write more on intelligence and other cognitive aspects, such as problem solving and memory. But it was David Wechsler who started to recognize that there were certain non-cognitive aspects that needed to be taken in to account. Wechsler himself defined intelligence as "the aggregate or global capacity of the individual to act purposefully, to think rationally, and to deal effectively with his environment". Wechsler believed that it was both non-intellective and intellective elements that were important in detecting a person’s ability to succeed in life. And these elements included environmental factors and other personal factors of an individual’s life (Wechsler, 1940, p. 103).
David Wechsler’s work on intelligence had influenced many psychologists to continue research in this field. Like Wechsler, Robert Thorndike was also researching on intelligence. Thorndike, with Saul Stern, attempted to review social intelligence and its three different areas of relation (Thorndike& Stern, 1937, p. 275). The first area included individual’s attitudes and views on society, the second area discussed social knowledge, and the third area focused on social intelligence including individual characteristic traits. Influenced by Thorndike and Stern, another psychologist Howard Gardner (1993) began his research on “multiple intelligence.” The idea of a fixed IQ at birth was something Gardner opposed. He suggested that "intrapersonal" and "interpersonal" intelligences were just as significant as the type of intelligence that was measured by IQ and other related tests. He believed that humans were capable of learning many different models of intelligences if they were given the opportunity to have adequate learning environments (Jones & Nugent, 2009, p. 81).
Gardner’s research on multiple intelligences also included emotional intelligence which was the focus of Peter Salovey’s and John Meyer’s research. Meyer and Salovey defined emotional intelligence as, "the subset of social intelligence that involves the ability to monitor one's own and others' feelings and emotions, to discriminate among them and to use this information to guide...

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