Saturday, June 15, 2013

Can Emotional Intelligence Predict Relationship Success?

As a kid I remember taking all kinds of IQ tests. Some of them were pretty annoying, like the pattern recognition ones. I think those ones kept me out of shop classes. Maybe they thought I would hurt myself or something. Others probably got me into AP classes where I had to work harder for the same grades. Whatever.

These days more and more attention is being paid to the concept of emotional intelligence as a predictor of success in certain areas of life. The business world has used it to determine who will make a good employee or associate. The same criteria might be helpful in determining the probability of success in marriage as well.

Emotional Intelligence (EI) is the ability to identify, assess, and control the emotions of oneself, of others, and of groups.

One model (the ability model) posits that there are four abilities connected with EI:
  1. Perceiving emotions – the ability to detect and decipher emotions in faces, pictures, voices, and cultural artifacts—including the ability to identify one's own emotions. Perceiving emotions represents a basic aspect of emotional intelligence, as it makes all other processing of emotional information possible.                                                                                         
  2. Using emotions – the ability to harness emotions to facilitate various cognitive activities, such as thinking and problem solving. The emotionally intelligent person can capitalize fully upon his or her changing moods in order to best fit the task at hand.
  3. Understanding emotions – the ability to comprehend emotion language and to appreciate complicated relationships among emotions. For example, understanding emotions encompasses the ability to be sensitive to slight variations between emotions, and the ability to recognize and describe how emotions evolve over time.
  4. Managing emotions – the ability to regulate emotions in both ourselves and in others. Therefore, the emotionally intelligent person can harness emotions, even negative ones, and manage them to achieve intended goals. 

Psychologist and author Daniel Goleman’s model has five constructs: 
  • Self-awareness -- the ability to know one's emotions, strengths, weaknesses, drives, values and goals and recognize their impact on others while using gut feelings to guide decisions.
  • Self-regulation -- involves controlling or redirecting one's disruptive emotions and impulses and adapting to changing circumstances.
  • Social skill -- managing relationships to move people in the desired direction
  • Empathy - considering other people's feelings especially when making decisions and
  • Motivation - being driven to achieve for the sake of achievement. 

It would seem that the higher the emotional intelligence you have, the more likely you would be able to make positive adjustments within a relationship. Some researchers suggest that it is possible to increase our EI and therefore become more successful (skill building). Nan and I would tend to agree with that assessment since we have worked with many couples who have been able to change their behaviors towards each other, increasing their listening and empathy skills, and curbing their critical communications.

If you would like to take a simple EI assessment, a free one can be found at:

If you are brave enough, post your results in the comment box --

Thanks to Wikipedia for some of the content.

No comments:

Post a Comment