The Dark Side of Emotional Intelligence

The Dark Side of Emotional Intelligence

In 1995 the psychologist Daniel Goleman He published a book that has become a benchmark to this day: Emotional Intelligence. Thanks to him, this new concept broke into the field of psychology becoming more and more popular. From then until now, this concept has occupied pages, talks and debates, becoming something so popular that few professionals have overlooked it, from the same psychologists to professionals in human resources, business or fashion, coaches . Emotional Intelligence is a term you have probably heard of mentioning on occasion, however, what do we really know about emotional intelligence? Have enough data been collected to know exactly the implications of this type of intelligence?


  • 1 What is Emotional Intelligence?
  • 2 What is hidden behind Emotional Intelligence?
  • 3 When emotion obscures reason

What is emotional intelligence?

The first concepts of intelligence referred to a global cognitive capacity referred to the intellect and affirmed that it could be measured through specific logical tests. At no time were emotions contemplated within this concept as something basic in the adaptation mechanisms of human beings.

When the general intelligence hypothesis began to be discussed, new intelligence concepts emerged that encompassed different abilities that could be more or less developed in each person, such as linguistic intelligence or mathematical or musical intelligence. It also began to be considered the Intrapersonal intelligence as capacity to delve into our own emotions. But it was not until the publication of the book Emotional Intelligence by Daniel Goleman, when it began to take into account the true importance of delving into this concept.

The term Emotional Intelligence (EI) refers to the ability to manage and drive, as well as understand our own emotions and those of others.. Within these capacities, skills such as empathy, motivation or emotional self-control. This began to be assumed as something basic in the adaptive abilities of people whose capacity for emotional self-regulation influences most of their cognitive abilities and decisions.

Since then, the concept of EI became so popular that few were educators, politicians or even businessmen who did not use it. Even UNESCO in 2002 proposed emotional learning programs that were sent to ministers from 140 countries for their establishment in the education system.

However, this enthusiasm clouded further research on this type of intelligence. Until very recently, few studies had been done and little was known of a term that everyone was talking about.

What is hidden behind Emotional Intelligence?

The emotionWhen manipulated by great strategists, it can tarnish people's reason. Some evidence argues that those people who have a high quotient of Emotional Intelligence have more abilities when it comes to manipulating others.

A recent study conducted at the University of Cambridge by Jochen Menges, shows how people tend to forget the true message of a leader's speech when he expresses emotions, inspiring people through gestures and words full of feelings.

To the effect of The use of emotional intelligence before an audience, is called "printing effect" and comes from the ability to persuade that many leaders have and have possessed. A clear example of this is Adolf Hitler, who exerted a strategic persuasion getting to thrill the public in such a way that any criticism of his methods or ideas was diluted. This is something that continues to happen today. Powerful leaders whose methods become cruel and lacking in ethics continue to have the support of thousands of people controlled by the emotions they express as fear, the need to belong to a group or the idea of ​​power and superiority.

When emotion obscures reason

According to the words of the University of London team led by Professor Martin Kilduff, people who have high Emotional Intelligence tend to mold their emotions to create better impressions for others.

In recent years, different researchers have studied this ability, revealing similar results.

In 2010, a study carried out by Mitja D. Back and his colleagues, verified how those people who scored high on narcissistic traits were able to gain the support of other people with greater success, carrying out gestures or humorous expressions that made them seem charming. That is, by using Emotional Intelligence they managed to maintain an environment favorable to their egocentric interests.

In 2011, another study carried out by Côté and his team showed as the most manipulative people, that is, those who managed to make changes in the social context to achieve favorable results to themselves, when they had a high degree of EI and a high Emotional self-regulation, they were more likely to participate in cruel actions with their co-workers, such as humiliation.

Of course, emotional intelligence is not only used to achieve selfish goals. This ability can lead people to achieve altruistic acts and contribute to making this a better, more egalitarian and supportive society. This depends on the characteristics of those who possess this capacity to a large extent and how they decide to use it. What is clear, is that there is still much to delve into this concept and study its components to better control the negative consequences that can lead, as well as promoting the use of this capacity to achieve a more just society.

Links of interest

There's a Dark Side to Emotional Intelligence. Here's How to Protect Yourself. //

The Jekyll and Hyde of emotional intelligence: emotion-regulation knowledge facilitates both prosocial and interpersonally deviant behavior. //

Why are narcissists so charming at first sight? Decoding the narcissism-popularity link at zero acquaintance. //

The Dark Side of Emotional Intelligence. //