Emotional Intelligence by Peter Salovey and John Mayer

Peter Salovey, along with his colleague John Mayer, put forth one of the first formal theories of emotional intelligence, in 1990. They coined the term and described it as “the ability to recognize, understand, utilize, and regulate emotions effectively in everyday life” (Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence, 2013). Their work sparked an explosion of interest in emotional intelligence, both among academics and the general public. Judging by the proliferation of books, studies, and research questions centered on the topic, Salovey and Mayer truly struck a chord with their theory.

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According to Salovey and Mayer, there are four distinct dimensions or branches of emotional intelligence that form a hierarchy of emotional skills and abilities:

  • “Perceiving emotion”
  • “Using emotions to facilitate thought”
  • “Understanding emotions”
  • “Managing emotions”



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