The past few decades have seen increasing interest in emotion research. Although much remains to be learned, agreement is beginning to emerge regarding the way emotion should be viewed. Emotions provide a unique source of information for individuals about their environment, which informs and shapes their thoughts, actions, and subsequent feelings, and there is a growing view that emotion information can be used more or less intelligently. A notion central to emotional intelligence theory is that individuals differ in their ability to perceive, understand and use emotional information, and this ability significantly contributes to intellectual and emotional well-being and growth.

Emotional intelligence as a concept has prospered, in part, because of the increasing personal importance of emotion management for individuals in modern society. Indeed, researchers have commonly claimed that emotional intelligence predicts important educational and occupational criteria beyond that predicted by general intellectual ability (e. g. Elias & Weissberg, 2000; Fisher & Ashkansy, 2000; Fox & Spector, 2000; Goleman, 1995; Mehrabian, 2000; Saarni, 1999, Scherer, 1997). Furthermore, the chief proponents of emotional intelligence appear to have made strides towards understanding its nature, components, determinants, effect, developmental track, and modes of modification (Matthews, Zeidner & Roberts, 2001) Since Goleman's (1995) best-seller, Emotional Intelligence, popularized the concept, researchers have used an extensive number of attributes or abilities drawn from psychology to define emotional intelligence. Goleman's book contains definitions and descriptions of what he identifies as the five key components of emotional intelligence: knowing emotions, managing emotions, motivating oneself, recognizing emotions in others, and handling relationships.

Goleman attributes varying sets of personality attributes to each component, the final effect being that most of personality is covered by his definitions. Towards the end of his book, he claims "there is an old-fashioned word for the body of skills that emotional intelligence represents: character" (p. 285). As such, variations in the manner with which people think, feel, and act are ostensibly ascribed to differences in "disposition" and "style." The notions of disposition and style however do not accommodate for the flexibility with which people interact with the world, according to Mischel (1990).

In fact, claims by proponents of a trait-based theory of emotional intelligence have yet to produce any serious supportive evidence (Davies, Stankov, & Roberts, 1998; Epstein, 1998; Mayer & Cobb, 2000; Mayer, Salovey, & Caruso. 2000). Mischel argues that people's experiences of the world are selectively constructed, and that the range of potential thoughts, feelings and behaviour's that people engage within and across situations are largely determined by information-processing competencies. Emotional intelligence researchers focus on disposition and style arguably needs therefore to be augmented by a deeper understanding of these competencies if we are to better understand why people behave and respond to affective information in the ways that they do. Exploration of such competencies, when it has deviated from general intelligence, has centered mainly on social problem-solving skills and abilities that are often broadly grouped under the concept of social intelligence. Social intelligence involves understanding how to convince others to do things, how to manage power relationships, and how to manage power relationships, for example (Mayer, Salovey & Caruso, 2000).

Given the rich affective content of social situations and problems, researchers such as Salovey and Mayer (1990) believe that emotional competencies are fundamental to social intelligence. In addition, some investigators (e. g. , Showers and Kling, 1996) believe that people's self-knowledge and inner life is fundamentally influenced by emotional competencies.

In this context, emotional intelligence seems to be more focused than social intelligence. Emotional intelligence relates directly to emotional phenomena, and can similarly be applied to a wide variety of emotional situations and problems entrenched within both interpersonal and intra personal experience (Epstein, 1998; Saarni, 1997; Salovey & Mayer, 1990). There is much criticism from proponents of traditional notions of IQ however, as to the validity and relevance of emotional intelligence (where did those refs go? ? ). The modern interest in emotional intelligence stems from a dialectic in the field of human abilities research that resonates with the same tones as that of the centuries long reason vs. emotion debate. The conflict between reason and emotion The tension between exclusively cognitive views of what it means to be intelligent and broader ones that include a positive role for the emotions can be traced back many centuries.

For centuries, efforts to understand the nature of cognition have been prioritized over efforts to understand the nature of emotion. Although the philosophical forefathers of psychology have been concerned with the nature of emotion since Socrates (469-399 B. C. ), the primary focus has been the pursuit of reason.

Aristotle (384-322 B. C. ) argued that human intellect is "the highest thing in us, and the objects that it apprehends are the highest things that can be known" (1976, p. 328). The importance given to analytic intelligence up to the present day is testament to the enduring popularity of this notion. As well, with few exceptions prior to 19 th century, emotion was branded as a threat to reason, and inferior to cognition.

The stoic philosophers of ancient Greece argued that the idiosyncratic nature of emotion rendered it incapable of contributing to insight and wisdom. Similar views continued to dominate academic thinking into the Renaissance period of 16 th and 17 th centuries of Europe. Descartes (1595-1650) argued that an emotion is one type of "passion", where the passions are distinguished from "clear cognition", and render judgment "confused and obscure" (1649/1989). Kant (1724-1804) further reinforced the distinction between reason on the one hand, and emotions, moods and desires, which he termed "the inclinations", on the other. He dismissed the inclinations as inessential to reason at best and intrusive and disruptive at worst (1793/1953). Later however, philosophers belonging to the Romantic movement of Europe's late 18 th and early 19 th century began to argue that logic alone could not deliver the breadth of insights that were possible when empathy and emotion-guided intuition were incorporated into their thinking (Solomon, 2000).

This shift in thinking is often attributed to the philosophy of David Hume. Hume (1739/1948) argued that reason was in essence a tool of emotion. In his view, the sole function of reason was to interpret the world in terms of facts in order to form inferences useful in achieving the agendas set by emotion. Empirical evidence as to the functional purpose of emotion was only established however, with the publication of Darwin's The expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals (1872/1965). Darwin's research revealed that emotion gives rise to adaptive behaviour's that most species on the planet depend upon for survival, such as when fear generates flight, or when lust or love generates procreation.

As well, he found that emotion confers a survival advantage upon a species, such that it gives rise to a communication system whereby emotions such as fear can be communicated to others, thereby alerting them to a potential threat. Nonetheless, many psychologists of the early and mid 20 th century held to the view that intellect and emotion had opposing purposes (e. g. Schaffer, Gilmer, & Schoen, 1940; Woodworth, 1940), where logical decision-making and accurate information interpretation were deemed to result from intellect, while impulsive decision-making and misinterpretation of information were deemed to result from emotion.

The roots of intelligence research were thus heavily oriented towards an analytic conception, where a rational response to a given situation was judged as intelligent, and an emotional response unintelligent. Emotion within reason The earliest notion that an emotional response can be an intelligent response is attributed by Bar-On (2000), Gardner (1983), and Goleman (1995) to Thorndike's (1920) social intelligence construct. Thorndike's proposed a theory of intelligence that divided an individuals mental capacities into three parts: abstract-scholastic intelligence - the ability to understand and manage ideas; mechanical- intelligence - the ability to understand and manipulate concrete objects, and; social (practical) intelligence - the ability to understand and manage people, and act wisely in social contexts. Standardized measures of social intelligence were developed from this definition in the 1930 s, where the manner and accuracy with which people make social judgments was the focus.

The research polarized by the 1950 s however, into two traditions, an intelligence tradition focused on person perception abilities, and a social psychology tradition focused on the study of social influences that determined person perception. As well, although much interest and effort was applied to conceptualizing and measuring social intelligence, the construct proved extremely elusive. Researchers found it particularly difficult to select or develop criteria that discriminated between general and social intelligence, and consequently validate experimental scales (Kihlstrom & Cantor, 2000). Cronbach's (1960) frequently cited conclusion that social intelligence was unlikely to be defined or able to be measured continued to fuel the pursuit of a singular analytic intelligence until the 1980 s. Around this time, Sternberg (1985) contested the absence of creative and practical aspects of intelligence in mental ability research, arguing that traditional definitions of intelligence were far too narrow.

In a similar vein, Gardner (1983) proposed a theory of multiple intelligences, one of which was intra personal intelligence. This notion of intelligence emphasized one's access to inner feelings, the ability to identify and understand them, to express them, and to use them as a guide for behaviour. Sternberg (2000) also identified numerous criticisms in the intelligence literature which suggested that there were considerable differences in the definitions of intelligence held by psychologists, particularly between cultures. In summing up the conflict between reason and emotion throughout Western history, Payne (1986) argued that persons with strong reason had prevailed while persons with strong emotion had been branded mentally ill, and institutionalized to suppress emotionality. Payne proposed that many of the problems facing society today were the direct result of emotional ignorance: depression, addiction, illness, religious conflict, violence and war. He further suggested that humans have perhaps tried too hard to 'civilize' themselves, trying to deny their their emotional nature along the way.

A decade later, Hernstein and Murray's (1994) book, The Bell Curve, was published with the intention of cementing the central position of analytic intelligence, revealing evidence of its genetically transmitted properties. Contrary to this intention however, their book revived debate about the degree to which environmental circumstances affect intelligence and whether traditional conceptions of intelligence were defined too narrowly. Their book emphasised the notion that the population was normally distributed in intelligence, and that intelligence was hard to change. Some people fell into the low and high ranges of intelligence, while most people fell in the middle. The authors contented that low intelligence accounted for the poverty and joblessness of some groups in society, and that high intelligence accounted for the wealth and career success of others. Intellectual differences between gender, religious, ethnic and racial groups were also reported.

Unsurprisingly, the non egalitarian nature of their research findings prompted a proliferation of research and media publications exhorting ways of being intelligent and successful other than those stipulated by traditional intelligence theory. Emotional intelligence: The rapprochement of reason and emotion Emotional intelligence emerged to encapsulate such notions, extending on the works of Thorndike (1920), Sternberg (1985), and Gardner (1983). As well, unlike the traditional conceptualization of IQ, proponents of the theory suggested that it might also be learned and developed over one's lifetime. It was therefore attributed it with egalitarian qualities that were part of the key to its rise in popularity.

Goleman for instance, claimed in rebuttal to The Bell Curve that emotional intelligence "can be as powerful, and at times more powerful, than IQ", and that "crucial emotional competencies can indeed be learned" (Goleman, 1995, p. 34). In reply, critics argued that the popularity of emotional intelligence as a replacement for general IQ would surmount to a future for intelligence theory where reason and critical thinking mattered little. Great concern was also raised with the lack of empirical research supporting the bold claims about emotional intelligence (Davies, Stankov, & Roberts, 1998). The first empirical model of emotional intelligence was formulated in this climate by Salovey & Mayer (1990). Their model described emotional intelligence as an intelligence in the traditional sense.

That is, as a set of conceptually related abilities pertaining to emotions and the processing of emotional information that are part of and contribute to logical thought and general intelligence. Originally conceived in terms of three core components (appraisal and expression, regulation, and utilization) their theoretical model was revised in lieu of subsequent empirical exploration, and grew to encompass four components: Emotional perception and expression, emotional facilitation of thought, emotional understanding, and emotional management (Mayer & Salovey, 1997; Salovey, Mayer & Caruso, 1999). In short, their model can be interpreted as measuring inter and intra personal interactions that integrate emotion and thought. Their conception has been strengthened by recent neuro scientific research which suggests that emotional responses are a crucial part of rational decision making, and that emotion and cognition are more integrated than previously thought (Damasio, 1995; Le Doux, 1998). The competing models of emotional intelligence that followed Salovey, Mayer & Caruso's work share considerable overlap in both their theoretical content and structure (Bar-On, 1997; Goleman, 1995; Mayer & Salovey, 1997; Schutte, Malouff, Hall, Haggerty, Cooper, Golden & Dornheim 1998). These have been labeled as mixed models because they typically comprise a mixture of abilities, and emotion-related personality traits and dispositions (e.

g. optimism, self-awareness, self-esteem) that have otherwise been described as potential correlates rather than elements of the construct itself (Mayer, Salovey & Caruso, 2000). Mayer, Salovey and Caruso's (1997) ability model is arguably one of the most theoretically advanced, and while they make a strong case for the superiority of an ability model of emotional intelligence, there has been little consensus amongst researchers regarding how best to conceptualize and measure the construct. Bibliography A ssh, S.

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