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emotional intelligence

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Ability to monitor one's own and other people's emotions, to discriminate between different emotions and label them appropriately, and to use emotional information to guide thinking and behaviour. The term appeared sporadically in the psychological literature during the 1970s and 1980s, but the concept was first formally defined in 1990 by the US psychologists Peter Salovey (born 1958) and John D. Mayer (born 1953), who later specified four groups of competencies that it encompasses: (a) the ability to perceive, appraise, and express emotions accurately; (b) the ability to access and evoke emotions when they facilitate cognition; (c) the ability to comprehend emotional messages and to make use of emotional information; and (d) the ability to regulate one's own emotions to promote growth and well-being. The following passage from The Nicomachean Ethics by the Greek philosopher Aristotle (384–322bc) is often quoted as an illustration of emotional intelligence: ‘Those who are not angry at the things they should be angry at are thought to be fools, and so are those who are not angry in the right way at the right time, or with the right persons; for such a man is thought not to feel things nor to be pained by them, and, since he does not get angry, he is thought unlikely to defend himself’ (Book 4, Chapter 5, Bekker edition, p. 1126a). Popularized interpretations of emotional intelligence include various other factors such as interpersonal skills and adaptability. Also called social intelligence, especially when focusing on competencies belonging to (a) and (c). See also emotional quotient, intelligence, multiple intelligences, PONS. EI abbrev.

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