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What is Emotional Intelligence?

Emotional Intelligence can be defined as a series of abilities relating to how we understand emotions, how we make decisions based on emotions and how we manage our emotions. Emotions are neither good nor bad but are important pieces of information that tell us about our current situation. Sometimes some emotions (particularly negative emotions) become maladaptive for us and many people have difficulties in understanding emotions.

Emotional Intelligence is not about becoming more emotional rather it is about the intelligent use of emotions. Emotionally intelligent children are self-aware, empathic, and are able to manage their negative emotions so that they experience happiness and well-being. Children do develop capacity and increase their ability to understand, effectively express and manage emotions as they get older, although there is great variability from child to child or adolescent to adolescent in these abilities.

Emotional Recognition and Expression

This branch of the model focuses on how well you perceive your own emotions and how effectively you express your feelings to friends, family members and teachers. This ability contributes to how effectively you can respond to your own emotions; communicate your feelings to others to get your message across. The more accurately you can express your feelings, the more effectively others can respond.

Understanding Other’s Emotions

This branch of the model focuses on the extent to which you perceive and understand the emotions of others. Specifically, it assesses; how well you ‘read’ the emotions that others express; your understanding of the contexts in which they arise; and your understanding of the appropriateness of others’ emotional responses and behaviours. This ability also includes an understanding of how emotions influence relationships and group dynamics.

Emotional Reasoning

Emotional Reasoning reflects the extent to which you consider how you feel about different options when making decisions and how different choices might affect both yourself and others emotionally. Emotions provide another source of information to consider when making decisions and have been shown to contribute to flexible planning, creative thinking and the adoption of social values in decision-making. Emotional Reasoning abilities can be context specific as certain roles or situations require very analytical and technical decision-making, whilst others require more intuitive and creative decision-making.

Emotional Management and Control

Emotional Management and Control reflects the extent to which you are able to repair negative moods and emotions as well as maintain beneficial positive moods and emotions, both within yourself and others. The ability to foster positive moods and emotions in oneself and others is an important underlying attribute of effective stress management and adaptability. This dimension also involves the ability to control strong emotions experienced, such as feelings of frustration, anger, sadness or hostility.

Centre for Human Psychopharmacology | Swinburne University. (2022). About us – Aristotle. Aristotle – Emotional Intelligence Programs.

Emotional Toolkit

Centre for Human Psychopharmacology | Swinburne University. (2022). About us – Aristotle. Aristotle – Emotional Intelligence Programs.

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Created by Luciana Cavallaro February 2022