Emotional quotient (EQ), also called emotional intelligence quotient, is a measurement of a person's ability to monitor his or her emotions, to cope with pressures and demands, and to control his or her thoughts and actions. The ability to assess and affect situations and relationships with other people also plays a role in emotional intelligence. This measurement is intended to be a tool that is similar to intelligence quotient (IQ), which is a measurement of a person's intellect. There is much debate surrounding the legitimacy of EQ, however, primarily because there is no standard of measurement.
Although research into this concept had been performed since at least the 1800s, the terms "emotional quotient" and "emotional intelligence" did not become popular until the 1980s, when psychologists Peter Salovey of Yale and John Mayer of the University of New Hampshire began conducting research into it. The concept was further popularized by Daniel Goleman, another well-respected psychologist who wrote many books on the subject and has served as co-chair of The Consortium for Research on Emotional Intelligence in Organizations. Although these and many other psychology experts view emotional intelligence measurements as scientifically valuable studies of social behavior and relationships, the science behind these measurements are often questioned.
A person’s EQ can be measured using any of various assessments, including one developed by Salovey and Mayer. Some assessments use self-given responses, and others are based on peer-given responses. Although a single test might give some insight into a person’s personality and psychological make-up, discovering the true value of EQ and its relationship to and impact on a person’s life might take years and multiple studies.
Measurements of people's emotional intelligence quotients are used in many settings. The idea is very popular in the corporate world, where many businesses use EQ tests to help their employees determine and measure their emotional responses to various situations. Most such tests are administered with the idea that this factor can be modified or increased, but there is dispute about whether a person's emotional intelligence is something he or she is born with or if it can be changed.
Studies have been done on possible ways that a high or low EQ might affect a person’s abilities to perform under pressure, resolve conflict, and cope with challenges. For example, someone who has a low EQ might lack self-confidence and be pessimistic, both of which might affect his or her performance when doing certain tasks. People who are not proponents of the concept believe that things such as confidence, self-esteem and attitude are simply a matter of personality, which cannot be measured or modified. Other studies have linked this measurement to communication skills and other social skills that people either lack or possess.