Emotional intelligence is a psychological construct that has become exceptionally popular in both the academic and human resources literature. The ability to manage your emotions and those of others has become an increasingly important part of the modern working environment.
The psychological concept of emotional intelligence has been measured using psychometric assessments since the 1990’s. Early theories viewed emotional intelligencelike a cognitive ability; something that can be learned and trained. The Thomas International, Trait Emotional Intelligence Questionnaire (TEIQue), based on Dr. K.V. Petrides’ trait emotional intelligence theory, is a unique assessment that views emotional intelligence as a collection of personality traits.
Early theories focused on the concept of social intelligence (e.g. Thorndike in the 1920’s) before developing further as people started thinking about different types of intelligence, such as Gardner’s (1983) theory of multiple intelligences. Emotional intelligence was first measured as a psychological construct in the early 1990’s before gaining in popularity with business users in the late 90’s and early 00’s.
The theory of emotional intelligence can be divided into two broad categories: emotional intelligence as an ability or as a trait. Ability emotional intelligence assessments use performance tests and tasks to measure an individual’s ability to process and reason from emotional information. Answers are right or wrong. Trait emotional intelligence assessments use self-report questionnaires and measure an individual’s perceptions of their emotional experiences and capacities. There are no right or wrong answers, your responses are reflected back to you in comparison to others.
A very succinct description of trait EI theory, which can successfully accommodate the subjectivity of emotional experience, can be downloaded.