The phrase "emotional intelligence" may seem like a contradiction. Usually we define intelligence as, "the faculty of thought and reason; something that we associate with our mind”. We then define emotions as subjective, something that comes from our heart, literally or figuratively. With some recent publications, new definitions of emotional intelligence have stretched beyond the scientific model. Popular authors in dozens of ways now define emotional intelligence as a list of personality characteristics such as empathy, motivation, persistence, warmth and social skills. These can be referred to as "mixed models" as they mix together diverse parts of personality.

Also, the popular models of emotional intelligence imply that we can predict important life outcomes using a diverse list of variables which, for the most part, is of course correct. But, the truth about such lists is that they contain variables beyond what is meant by the terms "emotion" or "intelligence," or what reasonable people would infer from the phrase "emotional intelligence." Such popular models are using a catchy new name to sell worthy, old-fashioned personality research and prediction.

One position on which both the popular and scientific treatments do concur is that emotional intelligence extends our comprehension of what it means to be "smart". It means that within those who are labeled "romantics," "highly sensitive" or "bleeding hearts," serious information processing is in fact taking place.


I believe the identification of such emotional processing is powerful enough to advance a psychological examination. For that reason, I have decided to videotape four individuals’ responses to questions about the four main areas of emotional intelligence.

The nature of this interview isn't necessarily scientific, just as understanding emotional intelligence isn’t scientific, per se. As some have attempted to devise a test to measure this elusively understood psychological skill, it is infinitely difficult to quantitatively gauge a persons grasp of emotional intelligence.

In this study, I was looking to explore the candid remarks from a small sampling of people. This project is a precursor to a more exhaustive study of emotional intelligence.

Goleman, Daniel. Working with Emotional Intelligence, Bantam 2000