EQ Test Comparison

EQ Test Comparison

People differ in how they are adept at understanding the emotions of themselves and others. This variance in capacity is known as emotional intelligence. It is the ability to perceive, control and evaluate emotions. Emotional intelligence is key to the advancement of an individual’s growth. Its effects permutate through a myriad of aspects in people’s lives. 

Work done in emotional intelligence has led to three categories of models: ability model, mixed model, and trait model. The existing emotional intelligence models are divided into personal and social-emotional intelligence. Each model represents the categories differently. This paper will discuss two of the three types. It will describe their similarities and differences. Finally, it will conclude with my preferred model when working with leaders.

Goleman’s Model

David Goleman popularized the term emotional intelligence in 1995. According to Goleman (1998), emotional intelligence is an array of competencies that contribute to effective leaders, some personal and some social. The personal competencies are self-awareness and self-management (Goleman, 1998). Self-awareness is the ability to be attuned to how you feel. Self-management is the ability to regulate impulsive behaviors. The social competencies are social awareness and social skills (Goleman, 1998). Social awareness requires detecting others’ emotions and responding appropriately to them. Lastly, social skills involve being a relatable and collaborative group member. 

Mayer–Salovey–Caruso Model

​Peter Salovey and John D. Mayer pioneered the term emotional intelligence in 1990. The model they developed alongside David Caruso is recognized to have four distinct types of abilities to understand and manage one’s own and other’s emotions—perceiving emotions, using emotion to facilitate thought, understanding emotion, and managing emotions (Salovey et al., 2003).

​Salovey and Mayer (2003) describe the first branch of their emotional intelligence model as the ability to identify emotions within themselves, others, and other emotional stimuli. The second branch—using emotion to facilitate thought—processes emotions to prioritize thinking and reasoning (Kanesan & Fauzan, 2019). Understanding emotions, the third branch, builds on the complexity of emotions and requires individuals to classify their emotions by their implied meaning. The last branch of Salovey-Mayer-Caruso’s model, managing emotions, is the ability to prevent, reduce, enhance, or modify emotions—self and others (Salovey et al., 2003).

Model Comparison

​The difference between each model begins with the terminology used. In the Mayer-Salovey-Caruso approach, they used Emotional Intelligence. They meant it to identify the ability to perceive, assess, and manage emotions for themselves and others. The terminology used by Goleman (1998) referenced Emotional Competence. He inferred emotional competence is a learned capacity based on emotional intelligence. 

As previously mentioned, each model is categorized as either a mixed model, ability model, or trait model. Caruso et al. (2002) posited the first two model types—mixed and ability models. Goleman’s model illustrated a mixed model. A mixed model combines emotional intelligence qualities with other personality traits (Kanesan & Fauzan, 2019). Salovey, Mayer, and Caruso’s model is an example of an ability model. Ability models consider emotional intelligence as pure ability (Kewalramani et al., 2015).

Both models can be divided into four areas of analysis: Understanding Self, Managing Self, Understanding Others, and Managing Others. Goleman’s competencies map succinctly with the four areas—self-awareness with understanding self, self-management with managing self, social awareness understanding others, and social skills with managing others (Kewalramani et al., 2015). Salovey-Mayer-Caruso’s model has some overlap. The first and third branches of the Salovey-Mayer-Caruso model map to understanding the self. The second branch represents managing the self (Kewalramani et al., 2015). The third and first branches align with the last two categories—understanding and managing others, respectively (Kewalramani et al., 2015). 

Personal Preference

​As a leader, I would prefer the Salovey-Mayer-Caruso model. When possible, I like to take the crawl-walk-run approach to new initiatives. The Salovey-Mayer-Caruso model provides such as model. The first branch allows for the individual to focus solely on perceiving emotions, then that information is translated to comprehension. Once they can accomplish that, then they use those perceived emotions to facilitate communication and manage their feelings and those around them. 


Caruso, D. R., Mayer, J. D., & Salovey, P. (2002). Relation of an ability measure of emotional intelligence to personality. Journal of Personality Assessment79(2), 306–320. https://doi.org/10.1207/s15327752jpa7902_12

Goleman, D. (1998). What Makes a Leader? Creative Management and Development Creative Management and Development, 120–132. https://doi.org/10.4135/9781446213704.n9

Kanesan, P., & Fauzan, N. (2019). Models of emotional intelligence: A review. Journal of Social Sciences and Humanities16(7), 1–9.

Kewalramani, S., Agrawal, M., & Rastogi, M. R. (2015). Models of emotional intelligence: Similarities and discrepancies. Indian Journal of Positive Psychology62(2), 178–181.

Salovey, P., Mayer, J. D., Caruso, D., & Lopes, P. N. (2003). Measuring emotional intelligence as a set of abilities with the Mayer-Salovey-Caruso emotional intelligence Test. Positive Psychological Assessment: A Handbook of Models and Measures., 251–265. https://doi.org/10.1037/10612-016