HR Jetpack

Redefining Emotional Intelligence

This video is premium content

Register or sign in to gain access.


Redefining Emotional Intelligence

Lesson Content

In the beginning of the course, I provided a broad definition of emotional intelligence by describing it as pertaining to someone’s competence at perceiving and regulating emotions with the aim to influence his or her own and others’ behaviors.

While that seems straightforward enough, there has been much debate over the last 20 years on how to define emotional intelligence and how to measure it.

Drs. Meyer’s and Salovey’s ability-based model of Emotional Intelligence is described as a set of emotional reasoning abilities that fall under four branches. These four branches are as follows Number 1, Emotional Perception which is the ability to perceive and correctly identify emotions in one’s self and others, number 2, Emotional Understanding. The ability to understand emotional info and how emotions blend together, number 3, Emotional Regulation. The ability to manage emotions in self and influence the emotions of others, and number 4, Emotional Facilitation which is the ability to use emotion to facilitate cognitive activities like thoughts and problem solving. This narrow definition of emotional intelligence with its clearly delineated theoretical model has made it the cornerstone for much of the academic research on Emotional Intelligence theory and measurement.

Now there has been many different definitions of emotional intelligence put forward by scholars and practitioners. However, John Mayer and Peter Salovey’s definition and theoretical model have emerged as the dominant model in published research. It’s clearly the favored model by the top tier academic journals.

There are a few reasons for this.

First, it narrowly defined emotional intelligence to differentiate it from other constructs such as personality traits and theorizes its relationships to both General Mental Ability and emotions. I’ll talk more about what General Mental Ability is in a subsequent lesson.

Second, it clearly specifies only four key variables and how each of these influences Emotional Intelligence making it easier for researchers to study.

Third, this model has withstood the scrutiny of independent researchers’ model fit testing reasonably well. Although some of the supporters acknowledge that there is evidence that a three branch model may be more robust than the four branch model touted by Meyer and Salovey.

Finally, a lot of the published research on Emotional Intelligence cites their 1990 article or references their model in support of it or compares it an alternative model.

Craig Haas


Craig Haas

Dr. Craig Haas is a Management Consultant and Executive Coach at Advantage Performance Group with over 15 years of experience in helping companies select high quality talent and develop leaders.


Craig's Full Bio