What is Emotional Intelligence and does it Exist?

The sense to monitor and perceive emotions is Emotional Intelligence, which is the subject of endless debate among scientists and the public. Although most people agree that being able to read others and control your own feelings is a positive characteristic and varies from person to person, these skills are not easy to define and measure objectively. Metafact.io asked 13 psychologists “Is there a scientific basis for emotional intelligence?” Most of the experts said “Yes”.

What is Emotional Intelligence?

The term “emotional intelligence” or EI first appeared in the early 1990s and is defined as the ability to express, control, and perceive emotions.

Since then, many studies have investigated the field and identified different types of EI. Professor Leehu Zysberg, an expert from the Gordon School of Education, explained:

“The most common are EI trait and EI ability. EI Trait is based on self-reported measures, which correspond to and are significantly related to other personality measures (in current research, these are generally the ‘five personality traits).”


The five personality traits are extroversion, kindness, directness, conscientiousness, and neuroticism. Dr. Zysberg went on to say,

“The correlation between EI measures of traits and personality traits is so high that one could claim that EI belongs to one or more branches of the Big Five.”


Another type is, EI ability, which is not considered a personality trait. Rather, it describes the ability to perceive, understand, and use emotions to do different things. EI ability can be viewed as a form of intelligence (such as IQ) rather than a personality trait, although this is very controversial.

What is Emotional Intelligence and does it Exist?

What is the evidence for Emotional Intelligence?

Most experts agree that it has a scientific basis. This is because EI scores can predict other measurable outcomes in a similar way to IQ. High-ability emotional intelligence has been shown to be associated with positive relationships and career success.

Ohio State University expert Professor Brian Partido explained:

“Mental health, physical health, and life satisfaction are associated with high emotional intelligence. Recently, emotional intelligence has been found to be a predictor of academic and clinical performance among dental hygiene students”.


North University expert Professor Carrie Lloyd provided another example:

“In terms of the current state of depression, increasing EI has a beneficial effect. [My] Research has shown that every increase in the EQ score reduces the risk of depression by 5” .This is a very important result because it provides clear evidence that emotional intelligence and depression are closely related in the elderly.”

How is Emotional Intelligence measured?

What is Emotional Intelligence and does it Exist?

Different types of EI are measured in different ways. Trait EI is measured using self-report tests, such as personality tests. The self-report test poses some challenges, as emphasized by Professor Andrew Lane of the University of Wolverhampton:

“Emotional intelligence is difficult to measure; can people report their internal knowledge? If their emotional intelligence is poor, you don’t know what so good it is, but you may realize that good emotional intelligence is desirable because the questionnaire is relatively easy to guess what is being assessed.”

Proficiency EI is measured by a test such as MSCEIT, which uses a question based on emotions to assess emotional awareness Although the test is based on the IQ test, measuring EI scores is much more difficult because emotion-based questions often do not have a correct answer.

Generally speaking, it is very difficult to measure emotional intelligence, especially because we have not yet clearly understood what EI is.

University of Waterloo expert Professor Igor Grossmann concluded:

“The answer to this question depends on the definition and measurement of emotional intelligence. This structure is very complicated, and its measurement is usually based on self-reports, which is often flawed.”

Emotional intelligence is constructed more broadly as An ability to recognize the emotions of oneself and others and adjust one’s own emotions to suit the characteristics of the situation is likely to be true. But its measurement requires expensive methods, and many companies and scholars are unwilling to pay for it.

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