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Emotional Intelligence: Implications for Type

Deborah G. Thompson
(Georgia Association for Psychological Type Newsletter, NOV 97)

The theory of Emotional Intelligence (EI), popularized by Daniel Goleman in his book of the same name, includes abilities such as self-awareness, managing emotions, self-motivation, empathy and relationship management. The EI theory was actually developed by Peter Salovey and John D. Mayer. Dr. Mayer spoke during the Research and Theory Interest Area Symposium at APT XII this summer on EI and Jung's theory of Psychological Types.

The majority of Dr. Mayer's presentation focused on the concept of EI, research and development of an assessment instrument. Dr. Mayer did point out that although he is not a Jungian, he does believe that EI is "related" to Jung's Feeling function. He commented only briefly on Jungian typology and drew no definite conclusions.

Jung, however, makes a distinction between the Feeling function and emotions, which are part of the EI concept. According to Jung, "feeling is a kind of judgment, differing from intellectual judgment in that its aim is not to establish conceptual relations, but to set up a subjective criterion of acceptance or rejection."

In a presentation given by Gordon Lawrence in March, 1996, he said about Goleman's description of EI, "he does not see feeling in Jung's sense as a rational process, only as an irrational response." In the book Jung's Function-Attitudes Explained, Thompson writes, "affect can be associated with the Feeling function, but they are not one and the same. Feeling can be completely devoid of affect."

The popularization of EI by the media in recent years has led to a variety of definitions and claims to importance. Salovey and Mayer (1997) offer this updated definition of emotional intelligence:

The ability to perceive emotions, to access and generate emotions so as to assist thought, to understand emotions and emotional knowledge, and to reflectively regulate emotions so as to promote emotional and intellectual growth.

They believe this definition "combines the ideas that emotion makes thinking more intelligent, and that one thinks intelligently about emotions." Salovey and Mayer admit "we are at the beginning of the learning curve about emotional intelligence; the coming years should bring exciting research that contributes to our understanding of the concept."

As type practitioners, we can anticipate that these years will also bring new insights into personality types and possible links between emotional intelligence and the Feeling function. If you would like to learn more about EI or the Feeling function, see the resources section.

© 1997-2006 Deborah G. Thompson


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