WA Academics Stimulate Emotional Intelligence

A group of researchers and practitioners from Western Australia, including several academics from the University of Notre Dame Australia, have recently established the Emotional Intelligence Society of Australia (EISA), a non-profit educational organisation that aims to form a global network of individuals interested in applying the principles of emotional intelligence in their personal and professional life.

In the grand scheme of things, the concept of emotional intelligence is a recent addition to our understanding of human behaviour, having only been coined in the early 90s by Peter Salovey and John D. Mayer. Salovey and Mayer described emotional intelligence as “a form of social intelligence that involves the ability to monitor one’s own and others’ feelings and emotions, to discriminate among them, and to use this information to guide one’s thinking and action”.

The term was picked up by New York Times science writer Daniel Goleman and popularised by his 1995 book, Emotional Intelligence. In the book, Goleman argued it was not cognitive intelligence that guaranteed success in the business world, but was in fact emotional intelligence, a trait he stated as having four characteristics:

  1. They were good at understanding their own emotions (self-awareness)
  2. They were good at managing their emotions (self-management)
  3. They were empathetic to the emotional drives of other people (social awareness)
  4. They were good at handling other people’s emotions (social skills)

Fast forward to the present day, through the change of the millennium, through the rapid development of previously unimaginable technology, through global connections being forged in brand new ways, and emotional intelligence is arguably more important than ever.

We are currently navigating the ongoing effects of a global pandemic, provoking psychological, physical, and economic reactions, as well as dealing with a world that is getting to grips with its relatively newfound ability to remain highly connected across borders and great distances. Our emotions are understandably unpredictable as we strive to make sense of our new world, so a focus on emotional intelligence is not only beneficial for those who develop their skills, but also for those we interact with.

School of Medicine, Associate Professor Dr Chris Skinner understands the need for emotional intelligence clearly, suggesting a definition of what he believes the term means.

“Emotional intelligence is the ability of an individual to understand their own emotions, as well as other peoples’ emotions, and ultimately to make decisions using this emotional information during everyday life and in the workplace,” Dr Skinner says.

It was the 2019 International Congress Emotional Intelligence, and conversations occurring between Dr Skinner and his colleagues at Notre Dame and in the wider academic world that led to the formation of EISA.

“Now more than ever, humans need to harness the skills and benefits of emotional intelligence,” Dr Skinner says.

Research informs us that individuals and groups of people who use their emotional intelligence skills are more able to achieve a state of emotional and psychological wellbeing.

Together with Dr Nigel Gribble, Dr Annette Watkins, Dr Laurel Collin, and Cindy Cranswick, Dr Skinner developed the following objectives for EISA:

  1. to bring together researchers, scholars, professionals and others who are interested in the principles of emotional intelligence and their applications;
  2. to encourage and support the advancement of emotional intelligence theory, research and applied best practice; and
  3. to disseminate emotional intelligence theory, research and empirical knowledge.

Visit the emotional intelligence website at www.EISA.org.au to see details for the Society’s launch on Friday 4th June at 10.30 am WST. Log onto the website, read the white paper and see what membership to EISA has to offer you.

Launch date 4th June at 10.30 am WST. Go to Eventbrite to register.

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