Over the years, the concept of intelligence has remained a controversial topic that elicits diverse views from the public and scholars from different fields. The point of controversy revolves on the precise definition of the term intelligence, approaches and parameters, which are employed to measure intelligence and other intellective elements. This topic has attracted the attention of many scholars, especially in the discipline of psychology who have proposed numerous theories of intelligence and employed a psychometric approach to conduct empirical studies on human intelligence. In an attempt to unravel this puzzle and provide a precise definition of the term intelligence, most psychologists had to study humans and observe animals in different settings and compared the intelligence abilities of humans and animal. For instance, Wolfgang Kohler is accredited as one of the researchers and psychologists who pioneered the study of apes’ intelligence and compared it with human intelligence. As a result, many psychologists and researchers defined intelligence in different ways, but they acknowledge that intelligence involves the mental or cognitive ability to think abstractly, solve problems, reason logically, plan, internalize complex ideas and learn from experiences. In essence, human intelligence reflects the wider spectrum of how individuals employ their experiences and cognitive abilities to comprehend their immediate environment, learn and survive.
In the same breath, individual psychologists such as David Wechsler, Alfred Binet and Howard Gardner made significant contribution in this topic and gave their own definitions. David Wechsler defines intelligence as the global or cumulative capacity of an individual to engage in logical and rational thinking, act in a goal-directed manner and comprehend the immediate environment. In his account, Alfred Binet defines intelligence as one’s ability to possess and apply the analytical and practical skills to adapt to different situations. Binet’s sentiments and assertions are echoed by Howard Gardner who defines intelligence as the mental capacity to employ analytical skills and mental competences to solve problems (Fiori & Antonakis, 2012). Based on this assertion, it is clear that most psychologists agree that the term intelligence is defined differently, but they acknowledge that there are two types of intelligence namely; cognitive intelligence and emotional intelligence. Empirical studies have affirmed that cognitive intelligence and emotional intelligence are essential for human survival, but they are different in their definitions and applicability in life.
Cognitive intelligence mainly focuses on the ability to think rationally, reason and engage in local arguments, plan, behave in a goal-directed manner and employ experiences to comprehend the environment and solve problems. Empirical studies affirm that traditional cognitive intelligence is anchored on the abilities and functions of one’s brain to reason and think logically in an anticipation to understand or make sense of one’s immediate environment-that is referred as “toga thinking”. In most cases, researchers use intelligence quotient, denoted as (IQ) to measure individuals’ analytical and intellectual abilities, visual, mathematical, spatial and verbal skills. To achieve this goal, psychologists administer intelligence tests, which measure different intellective elements and cognitive abilities.
On the other hand, emotional intelligence is the ability of to access and perceive emotions to enhance rationally thinking and to understand and manage emotions to enhance intellectual and emotion stability and growth (Andrews, 2003). In other words, emotional intelligence is the ability to internalize, understand and control an individual’s emotions and emotions of other people so that to adapt and cope effectively with environmental challenges. Unlike in cognitive intelligence where psychologists employ IQ to measure traditional cognitive intelligence level, researchers employ emotional quotient denoted as (EQ) to measure emotional intelligence in people. There are several emotional intelligence tests, which psychologists administer in their studies, but they commonly use the emotional quotient-1 test (EQ-1).
Documented studies have revealed that emotional intelligence is important and applicable in different situations, especially in the workplace, home life and personal life. In most cases, many managers and employees are unable to interact and relate effectively with their colleagues and deliver at the workplace because they lack emotional intelligence; an aspect that is essential in coping, understanding and addressing work-related challenges. Today, most employees and managers are stressed because they are required to tackle challenging tasks, increase their productivity and cope with the emerging trends in the business environment. Despite this shortfall, researchers affirm that the ability of the employees and managers to understand and manage their emotions effectively is a tenet of emotional intelligence that promotes efficiency, productivity and accountability at the workplace. Empirical studies reveal that employees and managers who have high level of emotional intelligence are able to integrate the concept of empathy to influence others, promote productivity and internalization of emotional competences. Robert (2005) found out that the ability of the manager to understand the feelings and emotions of the employees enables the manager influence behaviors, actions and feelings of others positively thus enhancing productivity and morale at the workplace (Maccann, 2010). In the same breath, Robert affirmed that managers who are able to control and understand their emotions are in a better position to inculcate competences of patience, innovativeness and result-oriented. Therefore, emotional intelligence in essential at the workplace as it enhances professionalism, productivity and accountability.
Emotional intelligence is important in the home life because it enables parents to relate and interact effectively with their children. Today, many parents are in conflict with their children because they do not understand the challenges, which their children face in life. As a result, the children have become rebellious to their parents because they feel they are neglected and abused by their parents. However, this problem can be addressed when parents use their emotional intelligences to understand how their emotions influence the behaviors of their children. Additionally, emotional intelligence is important, especially when the parents decide to divorce or separate. In such a situation, the children are required to have high level of emotional intelligence to cope with the challenges that are associated with divorce.
At the individual level, those children that were brought up in abusive families are able to cope with difficult challenges and experiences in their adult life because they are able to control and manage their emotions effectively. Those individuals who are able to understand and manage their emotions develop socialization skills, which are essential in promoting cohesion and social integration. In the same breath, emotional intelligence enables and individual to become a responsible and law-abiding member of the society thus create a favorable environment for personal- career advancement.
Based on this assertion, it is evident that most psychologists agree that word intelligence has different definitions, but emotional intelligence and cognitive intelligence are the two forms of intelligence. Emotional intelligence is applicable in many situations, especially at the workplace, home life and personal life. As an important component in human survival, emotional intelligence is essential because it enhances productivity and professionalism, cohesion and social integration, inculcates desirable behaviors in people and promotes personal career advancement.
Andrews, L. W. (2003). Intelligence. New York: Franklin Watts.
Fiori, M., & Antonakis, J. (2012). Selective attention to emotional stimuli: What IQ and openness do, and emotional intelligence does not. Intelligence, 40(3), 245-254.
Maccann, C. (2010). Further examination of emotional intelligence as a standard intelligence: A latent variable analysis of fluid intelligence, crystallized intelligence, and emotional intelligence. Personality and Individual Differences, 49(5), 490-496