Emotional intelligence

Emotional intelligence describes the ability to correctly recognize, interpret and influence one's own feelings as well as those of others.

Definition / explanation

The term was defined by John D. Mayer and Peter Salovey in 1990. In contrast to the IQ, which measures classic cognitive abilities, emotional intelligence is about correctly recognizing, interpreting and influencing one's own and other people's feelings.

Levels of emotional intelligence

Recognize emotions - First of all, one's own emotions have to be recognized and accepted in order to subsequently understand one's own behavior.

Affect emotions - Another level is influencing one's own feelings. The better one can handle emotions such as fear, anger or disappointment, the better setbacks and stressful situations can be overcome.

Implementing emotions in a controlled manner - Controlled handling of one's own feelings is also necessary in order to achieve long-term goals.

empathy - Another important component of emotional intelligence is empathy. It is understood as the ability to recognize and understand the feelings and behavior of others. Empathy is the basis of every interpersonal relationship, whether private or at work.

Recognize emotional intelligence

People with a high level of emotional intelligence are not only able to assess other people's and their own feelings well, they also have the ability to influence them. You are flexible, self-confident and resilient.

In order to make emotional intelligence measurable, Salovey and Meyer have divided it into four basic areas:

  • Perception of emotions in posture, voice, facial expressions and gestures
  • Knowing about emotions
  • Analysis of emotions
  • Ability to influence emotions

The so-called Mayer-Salovey-Caruso Emotional Intelligence Test (MSCEIT) measures the four described areas with two sub-tests each.

In various tasks, among other things, emotions in faces and landscapes are identified and knowledge about possible changes in emotions is tested.

Although there is also criticism of both the elusive construct of emotional intelligence and the test procedures, it has nonetheless been found that the test quality criteria of the MSCEIT are comparable to conventional intelligence tests.

They measure the EI with the same quality as the intelligence tests measure the IQ.


  • Emotional intelligence is the ability to correctly recognize, interpret and influence one's own feelings as well as those of others
  • Elements are self-perception, self-control, motivation, empathy, social competence and communication skills
  • helpful for personal and professional success
  • Measuring instruments for emotional intelligence are, for example, the MSCEIT
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