History of Emotional Intelligence

The concept of Emotional intelligence goes back to the time of Darwin who emphasized on the importance of emotional expression for survival. The term “Emotional Intelligence” was first used by WAYNE PAYNE in their doctoral thesis, “A study of Emotion: Developing Emotional Intelligence.”

Research evidences suggest that intelligence alone will not explain our achievement at work or life and that emotion plays a key role in success at personal and organizational level. Many have noted the distinction between academic intelligence and emotional intelligence.

Goleman has credited Edward Thorndike with the initial study of emotional intelligence. Thorndike researched dimensions of emotional intelligence as a form ofsocial intelligence”. He classified intelligence into three dimensions:

  • Abstract intelligence– It refers to managing and understanding ideas.
  • Mechanical intelligence– It refers managing and understanding concrete objects.
  • Social intelligence– It refers to managing and understanding people.


Social intelligence – Various Perspectives

Daniel Goleman defined this as an ability to understand others and act appropriately in human relations.

Thorndike defined it as the capability to understand people and to act wisely in human relations.

Gardner in his theory on Multiple Intelligences emphasized that intelligences of people are expected to mature as they mature physiologically and also highlighted the importance of interaction between the person and the culture in shaping human behaviour.