Reference Work Entry

Encyclopedia of Child Behavior and Development

pp 574-576

Emotional Intelligence

  • Norma S. GuerraAffiliated withCollege of Education and Human Development, Counseling, Educational Psychology and Adult and Higher Education, University of Texas


Emotional self-efficacy; Social intelligence


Emotional intelligence (EI) is an extension of social intelligence that describes a person’s innate cognitive ability to perceive, identify, assess, understand, manage, and explain emotions in order to reason, guide thinking and action, solve problems, and regulate behavior. Empathy, or the understanding of other’s feelings, is a critical characteristic of EI. Proponents of EI theory argue that it is the best predictor of success in life and creates the best social relations. EI influences behavior in a wide range of domains including school, community, and the workplace [1].



Intelligence quotient (IQ) tests are administered to measure cognitive abilities, including verbal/numerical memory and reasoning and other problem solving skills. For a long time, the results of these tests were considered the primary predictor of future success. However, some researchers proposed that IQ r ...

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