EQ Science

EQ Science

What is the science behind emotional intelligence? And why is it an important factor in determining interpersonal compatibility? Keep reading to find out.

IQ & Success: The Gap

Knowing the historical context will help you understand emotional intelligence – so let’s start by learning why scientists felt the need to invent such a concept.

In the 20th century, researchers focused on IQ (intelligence quotient), not EQ (emotional quotient). IQ was conceived at the end of the 19th century and was initially used as a predictor of academic success. As the concept of IQ gained more popularity, it began being used as a predictor not only of academic success but also of professional success.

While it is true that people with a high IQ are more likely to be “successful” at work than people with a low IQ, there is a large gap in the correlation between IQ and success.

Many people with a low IQ are successful, and many people with a high IQ are unsuccessful. If you look at both professional and private achievements, it is even more obvious that IQ alone does not determine success.

Scientists quickly realized this and felt the need to come up with another concept to fill the gap. As you can guess, they would soon figure out it was all about emotional intelligence. Before we explain it in more depth, let’s have a look at some examples of high-IQ people who are unable to achieve professional success despite their superior academic abilities:

  • A highly intelligent manager in a manufacturing company is unable to control her anger when faced with mistakes made by her team. She yells at people, her team fears her, and both she and her team end up being unproductive.
  • A highly intelligent teenager is not able to motivate himself to study for school. Even though he has superior learning abilities, he sits all day in front of his computer playing video games. Ultimately, he achieves no academic success and drops out.
  • A highly intelligent computer programmer is required to work with other programmers on a large project. Even though she has exceptional programming skills, she is unable to communicate effectively with other team members. The results of her work are inferior despite her superior IQ and programming skills.
  • A highly intelligent researcher is promoted to a management position within his research facility. Even though his research skills are excellent, he is very shy and afraid to speak in front of people. With his lack of confidence, he is unable to lead the group, and the overall results of the research facility are disappointing.

In all of these cases, we see examples of individuals with superior IQ who fail to succeed because of problems related to their emotions: lack of self-control, lack of motivation, lack of communication skills, and lack of leadership skills.

Intelligence is not the be-all and end-all – there are many skills unrelated to IQ that are critical to our success. And all of these skills are associated with emotions. This realization led scientists to develop the concept of emotional intelligence and EQ.

History of EQ

The concept of EQ was developed in the 1990s. Before, the sole focus was on IQ, which was first invented around the year 1900.

It was in 1900 that Alfred Binet, one of the founding fathers of the IQ concept, began administering IQ tests to school children. In 1918, the US army started testing all their recruits for IQ. In the following decades, IQ became more and more popular, so much so that it has become a household word.