Emotional Intelligence

What is the emotional intelligence? Historical definition.


Define emotional intelligence would involve a wide number of variables and criteria that involve it. First we have to split of the concepts of form it: intelligence and emotion. On the one hand, the intelligence is the capacity to resolve problems, learn and create new information. By the another side, the emotions are processes psico-physiological that work like indicators of what sucede in our environment (emotional information) for like this take an answer or make an adaptative action chord (processing).

Definition of emotional intelligence.

Therefore, the emotional intelligence is the capacity of processing of the emotional information that serves to adapt our behaviour and mental processes to a determinate situation or context. What greater capacity have to resolve this type of problems, greater emotional intelligence will have.

>> Article related: Basic Emotions: criteria of classification.

Historical evolution of the definition of emotional intelligence.

The emotional intelligence has been a constructo very studied by different researchers and has generated an enormous discussion in this regard. They exist diverse definitions of emotional intelligence since Salovey and Mayer (1990) the referenciaron for the first time in an article called Emotional Intelligence, described like the part of the social intelligence that consisted in the skill to observe the so much ours emotions as the ones of the other to use this information in the resolution of conflicts.

According to Mayer and Salovey (1997), can define the emotional intelligence like “the capacity to perceive, value and express emotions with accuracy, the capacity to access to feelings (or generate them) that facilitate the thought, the capacity to comprise the emotions and the emotional knowledge and the capacity to regulate the emotions promoting the personal and intellectual growth”. It is therefore that in the last years the exert of the people is not so much measured only by his intellectual capacity, measure by his intellectual coefficient, but the emotional capacity plays an important paper, by what have been numerous the studies in this regard and the definitions of this constructo of the personality.

This concept was also entered inside the theory of the multiple intelligences of Gardner (1993). For this author exist eight types of intelligences differentiated in function of the cognitive space used: logical intelligence-mathematical, linguistic, corporal-kinestésica, space, musical, naturalistic, intrapersonal and interpersonal. These two last types of intelligence are those that would define also the meaning of emotional intelligence, on the one hand, the intelligence intrapersonal is the capacity to perceive us to us same and direct our own life by means of constructos like the autodisciplina, the autocomprensión, and the self-esteem. To his time, the interpersonal intelligence would be the capacity to perceive in the other differences in relation to his states of spirit, motivations or temperament.

>> Article related: The theory of the multiple intelligences, of Howard Gardner.

Taking like base these conceptualizaciones previous, arrives  to one of the definitions of emotional intelligence more accepted, the developed by Goleman (1996) that divides it in five components: autoconciencia, autorregulación, automotivación, empathy and social skills. This author defines it like a group of skills that allows us, between other things, take the reins of our emotional impulses, comprise the deepest feelings of our similar and handle kindly our relations.

>> Article related: Components of the emotional intelligence.

More recently, Mayer, Salovey and Caruso (2008) went back to redefine the term emotional intelligence proposing it as a skill of the processing of the emotional information like guide of the thought and the behaviour, as well as a group of autopercepciones situated in the lowest levels of the hierarchy of the personality (Petrides, Pita, & Kokkinaki, 2007).

Profits of the emotional intelligence.

The profits of the emotional intelligence have been contrasted by diverse studies in the last years. SAnd relates positively with constructos of the personality as they are the extraversión, friendliness, emotional stability, opening or consciousness and of negative form with the neuroticismo (Gave Fabio and Saklofske, 2014). This relation also has been studied by Pérez-González and Sánchez-Ruiz (2014), that showed that the emotional intelligence could be considered like an indicator of the general factors of the personality between which include : opening to the experience, responsibility, extraversión, friendliness or the emotional stability.

They exist diverse studies that accredit that the programs of intervention socioemocional improve diverse components of the emotional intelligence such as the interpersonal social skills (Bracket, Rivers Kings and Salovey, 2010) or the resolution of interpersonal problems (Gómez-Pérez et al, 2014).

It builds  your emotional intelligence and multiplies your potential.

>> Article related: The wheel of the emotions, of Robert Plutchik


This article is an extract of the work end of máster titled Effects of the sportive practice in team during the adolescence in the social and interpersonal components of the emotional intelligence, precursor of the labour success, work realiazado by Iván Hammer Martínez in 2017, creator and director of psicopico.com.


Brackett, M., Rivers, S., Kings, M., P. Salovey, P. (2010). Enhancing academic performance and Social and emotional competence with the RULER feeling words curriculum. Learning and Individual Differences, 22 (2). 218–224

Gardner, H. (1993). Frames of Mind: The Theory of Multiply Intelligences. New York: Basic Books

Goleman, D. (1996). Emotional intelligence (4to ed. Edition). Barcelona: Kairos.

I gave Fabio, To., Saklofske, D.H. (2014). Comparing ability and self-report trait emotional intelligence, flow intelligence, and personality traits in career decision. Personality and Individual Differences, 64. 174–178

Mayer, J., Salovey, P, (1990). Emotional intelligence. Imagination, Cognition, and Personality, 9, pp. 185–211

Mayer, J. Salovey, P,  (1997). What is emotional intelligence? P. Salovey, D.J. Sluyter (Eds.), Emotional development and emotional intelligence: Educational implications. New York: Basic Books

Mayer, J., Salovey, P., Caruso, D. (2008). Emotional intelligence. New ability or eclectic traits? American Psychologist, 63(6),503–517 .

Pérez-González, J.C., Sánchez-Ruiz, M.J. (2014). Trait emotional Intelligence anchored within the Big Five, Big Two and Big One frameworks. Personality and Individual Differences, 65. 53-58.


>> Relationated article: La rueda de las emociones, de Robert Plutchik


Iván Pico

Director y creador de Psicopico.com. Psicólogo Colegiado G-5480 entre otras cosas. Diplomado en Ciencias Empresariales y Máster en Orientación Profesional. Máster en Psicología del Trabajo y Organizaciones. Posgrado en Psicología del Deporte entre otras cosas. Visita la sección "Sobre mí" para saber más. ¿Quieres una consulta personalizada? ¡Escríbeme!

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