Emotional Intelligence in Young Children Term Paper

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" (2001) Atkins-Burnett relates that a "key index of competence in childhood and adolescence" is 'peer competence'. Stated is that: "Relationships with peers, as measured by sociometric indicators are strong indicators of both concurrent and future adaptive functioning." (2001) Longitudinal studies all show that there are similar characteristics "among resilient children: strong sense of competence and self-efficacy, well-liked by peers and adults, reflective rather than impulsive, use of flexible coping strategies, internal locus of control and good intellectual skills" (Burnett-Atkins, 2001)

The work of Qualter, Gardner and Whiteley (2007) entitled: "Emotional Intelligence: Review of Research and Educational Implications" states that there is: "...continuing controversy over how to define and measure EI, and how significant the concept of EI is in predicting various aspects of life success. Two predominant perspectives are those adopting an Ability EI and a Trait EI approach." (Qualter, Gardner, and Whiteley, 2007) Emotional Intelligence has been portrayed as a: "cognitive ability involving the cognitive processing of emotional information." (Qualter, Gardner, and Whiteley, 2007) Within the framework of this model EI is a traditional intelligence that is able to be measure through use of testing for abilities.

A four-branch model of emotional intelligence was proposed in the work of Mayer et al. (2000) which includes the psychological processes of:

Awareness of needs of self and others with the ability to monitor emotions and appropriate express emotions;

Ability to use emotions for thought facilitation and for guiding attention selection;

Ability to understand emotions; and Ability to regulate emotions. (Qualter, Gardner, and Whiteley, 2007)

Additionally stated is the fact that: "The relationship between personality and ability EI measures such as the MSCEIT appears to be of much less concern, mainly because studies generally find low or non-significant correlations between the two." (Qualter, Gardner, and Whiteley, 2007) Furthermore, because of the lack of empirical evidence "for distinctiveness between trait EI and personality" it must be questions whether "ability EI, given that it is viewed as a psychometrically legitimate intelligence, is moderately correlating with other intelligences such as general intelligence." (Qualter, Gardner, and Whiteley, 2007) Trait EI has been found to correlate with measures of personality however, ability EI has not been found to correlate with measures of personality. (Qualter, Gardner, and Whiteley, 2007)

There are both biological and social influences that impact the emotional intelligence of the individual which include:

1) the maturation of the neurological inhibitory system (this facilitates emotion regulation development);

2) the influence of the child's temperament on vulnerability to emotional difficulties; and 3) the mediating influences of parental interaction on the development of emotional vocabulary and understanding of emotions." (Qualter, Gardner, and Whiteley, 2007)

The work of Mayer, Salovey, Caruso, and Sitarenios entitled: "Emotional Intelligence as a Standard Intelligence" states that a new scale of emotional intelligence specifically, the Multifactor Emotional Intelligence Scale (MEIS) measures performance on 12 diverse tasks. According to these authors emotional intelligence is divided into four skills areas which are those of:

1) Perceiving emotions;

2) Using emotions to facilitate thought;

3) Understanding emotions; and 4) Managing emotions in a way that enhances personal growth and social relations." (Ibid)


Chapter Three

I. Research Findings

The research on 'emotional intelligence' reveals that emotional intelligence involves several areas of intelligence on the part of the individual therefore it is not possible to measure the individual's emotional intelligence without taking into consideration aspects such as peer interaction and academic motivation and achievement. The emotionally intelligent child is able to perceive their own emotions and to contemplate upon these emotions and to understand the emotions. Finally the child who is emotionally intelligence is able to manage their emotions in a way that effects success in their social relationships and furthers their own personal growth. The work Qualter, Gardner, and Whiteley (2007) holds that emotional intelligence involve a cognitive abilities related to cognitive processing of emotional information. (Qualter, Gardner, and Whiteley, 2007) the work of Denham (2006) identified five areas of social-emotional development which are those of: (1) Social Competence; (2) Attachment; (3) Emotional Competence; (4) Self-perceived Competence; and (5) Temperament/Personality." (2006)

II. Summary

Various tests have been developed for assessing the emotional intelligence of children and while none of these tests are without flaws, each of the tests has commonly identified areas of assessment in emotional or social intelligence. It is generally acknowledge all across the selection of literature relating to this subject that there is no sure method of assessment of the individuals emotional intelligence however, these studies do tend to agree upon certain inherent elements and characteristics that are known to be existent among those individuals who do possess emotional intelligence. Specifically the child who is emotionally intelligent will be able to perceive, contemplate and understand their own emotions. Emotional intelligence has been closely connected to cognitive intelligence by researchers. There is not one area, but several in which assessment must be conducted in relation to emotional intelligence assessment. Mayer et al. (2000) proposed a four-branch model for use in assessment of emotional intelligence which includes: (1) Awareness of needs of self and others with the ability to monitor emotions and appropriate express emotions; (2) Ability to use emotions for thought facilitation and for guiding attention selection; (3) Ability to understand emotions; and (4) Ability to regulate emotions. (Qualter, Gardner, and Whiteley, 2007)

III. Recommendations

Further study in this area in the manner of longitudinal studies should be undertaken for gaining a clearer understanding of precisely what constitutes emotional intelligence as well as for determining the optimal way of assessing emotional intelligence.


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