There are two primary types of Emotional Intelligence (EI). The first is the “Innate Potential Model” and is defined as the “innate potential to feel, use, communicate, recognize, remember, describe, identify, learn from, manage, understand and explain emotions” (Jack Mayer and Peter Salovey, 2007). Each individual is born with an emotional potential, how that potential is developed or stunted may be related to traumatic experiences, culture, family dynamics, etc.
The second type of EI may be learned or developed throughout the lifespan. Developed EI was also defined by Mayer (1990) and states that “EI is a subset of social intelligence that involves the ability to monitor one’s own and others’ feelings and emotions, to discriminate among them and to use this information to guide one’s thinking and actions.”
In both, the innate and learned forms of EI there are four different branches that may be explored.
- Perception, Appraisal and Expression of Emotion
- Emotional Facilitation of Thinking
- Understanding and Analyzing Emotions; Employing Emotional Knowledge
- Reflecting Regulation of Emotion to Promote Emotional and Intellectual Growth
While many people unconsciously have the ability to navigate these categories effortlessly, other people find themselves unbalanced or disconnected from emotional content. This may be evident in the ability to read an audience, develop intimate relationships, inability to regulate emotions in relationship to goals, and the lack of feeling differentiation, amongst others.
Interestingly, a critical diagnostic symptoms of a psychopathy is a lack of empathy. In 2011 article by NPR, “ A Psychopath Walks Into A Room. Can You Tell?” it was postulated by “Robert Hare, the eminent Canadian psychologist who invented the psychopath checklist, ….that you’re four times more likely to find a psychopath at the top of the corporate ladder than you are walking around in the janitor’s office.” Hare’s Psychopathy Checklist is divided into two main factors.
Factor 1: Personality “Aggressive narcissim”
- Glibness/superficial charm
- Grandiose sense of self-worth
- Pathological lying
- Cunning/ manipulative
- Lack of remorse or guilt
- Shallow effect (genuine emotion is short-lived and egocentric)
- Callous/lack of empathy
- Failure to accept responsibility for own actions
Factor 2: Case history “Socially deviant lifestyle”
- Need for stimulation/proneness to boredom
- Parasitic lifestyle
- Poor behavioral control
- Lack of realistic long-term goals
- Juvenile delinquency
- Early behavior problems
As we review the list, it is easy to identify behavior characteristics that may be found in many of our acquaintances (family non-exempt). However, this does not mean that they may be immediately categorized as psychopaths. Rather, it is the evaluation of all of these factors that may lead to a diagnosis.
By looking at the extreme absence of EI, we may better understand our own areas of emotional lack, and also better understand our interactions with others. One of the reasons that more psychopaths are found at the higher end of the corporate ladder is that they have learned to manipulate and engage emotional responses of other people. However, this engagement is not reciprocal and allows the psychopath to maneuver without scruples. A contemporary example of this is explored through the TV series Dexter (Look for future posts on this series and EI).
So, if you are a psychopath looking for guidelines to fit into society better, or if you are just an average ranking empathizer, here is a list of suggestions for how to increase your EI sensibility:
1. Become emotionally literate. Label your feelings, rather than labeling people or situations.
2. Distinguish between thoughts and feelings.
3. Take more responsibility for your feelings.
4. Use your feelings to help make decisions.
5. Use feelings to set and achieve goals.
6. Feel energized, not angry.
7. Validate other people’s feelings.
8. Use feelings to help show respect for others.
9. Don’t advise, command, control, criticize, judge or lecture to others.
10. Avoid people who invalidate you
Below you will find links to the referenced NPR article and an online source where EI is explored in greater depth. Remember that these terms are most often fluid and diagnostic definitions and criteria do change (Check out the DSM-V for more information). In this article these criteria are being used to establish definitions to explore cultural content and behavior depicted in the media, it is not intended for clinical determination.