Is Emotional Intelligence a real and measurable quality?

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Credit: Waldorf School
Credit: Waldorf School

Emotional intelligence, the ability to regulate and perceive emotions, is the subject of much debate amongst scientists and the public alike. 

Whilst most people agree that being able to read other people and control your own feelings are positive characteristics that vary in strength between individuals, objectively defining and measuring these abilities is not easy.

Most of the experts agreed that there is scientific evidence for emotional intelligence. This is because EI scores can predict other measurable outcomes, in a similar way to IQ. High ability EI has been shown to correlate with positive relationships and career success.

Professor Brian Partido, an expert from Ohio State University, explains that “mental health, physical health, and life satisfaction all have been linked to having a high emotional intelligence.”

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Ability EI is measured using tests such as MSCEIT, which uses emotion-based problems to test emotional awareness. Although the test is modelled on the IQ test, it is much more difficult to measure EI scores as often emotion-based questions do not have one correct answer.

Related article:  Are we headed toward developing a super-intelligent AI...that could spin out of control?

The takeaway: There is scientific evidence for the human ability to understand and regulate emotions, but emotional intelligence is not yet clearly defined or easily measured.

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