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While it’s interesting to compare Emotional Intelligence (EQ) and Intellectual Intelligence (IQ), it’s also important to realize they are actually related. There is a correlation between IQ and EQ. Someone generally more intelligent may end up being more emotionally intelligent (though not in every case) because someone intelligent is better able to predict the actions, emotions and motivations of others. Other studies have shown that intelligent people are more trusting for the same reasons.

This suggests that emotional intelligence can be “learned” to an extent. While our emotions might be heavily influenced by our genetics and neurochemistry, learning how others act and increasing our memory and attention helps us to improve our EQ.

Measuring emotional intelligence is also possible to get an idea of just how adept anyone is at understanding emotions. Many tests exist however the practicality of each is fairly controversial.

The Three Models of Emotional Intelligence
So, how does one go about measuring such an abstract concept? That depends on who you ask. There are three separate “models” of EQ, each with different views on the topic.

EmojisThe Ability Model
This ability model comes from psychologists Salovey and Mayer who describe EQ purely in terms of “ability.” In this case, it is the ability to “perceive and integrate emotion” and the “capacity to reason about emotion” all with the end goal of enhancing personal growth. It also encompasses the ability to manage emotion, i.e., not fly off the handle at the slightest provocation and to know how to calm others down.

Ability model-based tests are the most similar to IQ tests but, in some cases, the answer is more subjective, though guided by “social norms.”

The Mixed Model
The mixed model introduced by Daniel Goleman suggests that EQ encompasses a vast array of separate skills and competencies but also focuses mostly on leadership. These skills and abilities can generally be broken down into the following items:

  • Self-awareness
  • Self-regulation
  • Social skill
  • Empathy
  • Motivation

However, whether or not “motivation” can be considered an aspect of emotional intelligence is a contentious point. Therefore, the validity of the Mixed Model is called into question, but it remains perhaps the most popular interpretation among businesses due to its focus on leadership skills.

Asian woman with laptopThe Trait Model
The Trait Model from Konstantinos Vasilis Petrides views EQ more as a series of “traits” rather than abilities. This subtle difference suggests a less trainable set of abilities. In fact, this model goes as far as to suggest that Emotional Intelligence itself is a personality trait and should be assessed within larger personality frameworks.

The Trait Model is measured via self-report, which may make it unrealiable, but it has given birth to one of the more popular EQ tests: the Trait Emotional Intelligence Questionnaire.

The moral of the story here is that no theory of EQ is perfect, so you need to use your own EQ when assessing your ability and that of others.


The Journey Within: Measuring Emotional Intelligence
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