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What Is Emotional Intelligence (EI)?

A Glossary of Terms Useful Here

General Psychological Terms

Personality trait: a relatively consistent characteristic that a person exhibits in different situations. Examples of traits include: emotional intelligence, need for achievement, optimism.

Concepts Related to Emotional Intelligence

Emotional intelligence can be compared and contrasted with a number of other parts of personality. These other parts are distinct from emotional intelligence both conceptually and empirically. That means that each part has a definition that is distinct from emotional intelligence. Moreover, although a person may be high in emotional intelligence, they may be high or low in many of these other characteristics.

Mixed models of emotional intelligence: these models describe a conception of emotional intelligence that includes not only mental abilities related to intelligence and emotion, but also other personality dispositions and traits such as motives, sociability and warmth.

Empathy: including a feeling for others, sympathetic reactions to their feelings, and imaginative involvement in how the other person might be feeling.

Emotional self-efficacy: a person's belief that he or she possesses empathy and assertiveness as well as elements of social intelligence, personal intelligence, and ability emotional intelligence.

Socio-emotional effectiveness: an individual's capacity to navigate the social world in an effective manner, accomplishing his or her goals as needed.

Socio-emotionally effective behavior: the observable acts of the individual the lead to emotional and social effectiveness of interactions with others.

Other Terms Connecting Emotion, Motivation, and Intelligence

Interest: a motivational urge to pursue learning about a topic.

Curiosity: a motivational and emotional urge to explore and understand ideas.

Intrinsic Intellectuality: one term (of several, e.g., need for cognition) that describes a person's generally intellectual orientation.

 

For a more in-depth discussion of these terms, please see:

Mayer, J. D., & Ciarrochi, J. (2006). Clarifying concepts related to emotional intelligence: A proposed glossary. In J. Ciarrochi, J. Forgas, & J. D. Mayer (Eds). Emotional intelligence in everyday life (2nd ed). New York: Psychological Press.