Home Psychology IQ or EQ: Which One Is More Important?

IQ or EQ: Which One Is More Important?


In 1983, Howard Gardner, an American developmental psychologist in his book: “Frames of mind: Multiple intelligence” introduced the idea that the traditional IQ measurements were very insufficient to fully show the total intelligence of one human being.

So in his study, along with the standard idea of Intelligence quotient (that measures only the cognitive ability of one’s brain), Howard introduced the idea of the existence of multiple intelligence that is consisted of interpersonal intelligence and intrapersonal intelligence. (1)

Following his example of noticing that something is lacking in the whole definition of total human intelligence being proclaimed solely according to the IQ score, Wayne Payne in his doctoral thesis: ”A study of emotion: Developing emotional intelligence” in 1985, for the first time uses and elaborates the term emotional intelligence.

However this term was widely known only after the publication of Daniel Colman’s book: “Emotional intelligence – Why it can matter more than IQ” in 1995.

What is the difference between the IQ and the EQ?

Emotional intelligence is the ability to recognize one’s own and other people’s emotions, to discriminate between different feelings and label them appropriately and to use emotional information to guide thinking and behavior.

The intelligence quotient, on the other hand, is a score derived from one of several standardized tests designed to assess human intelligence (only the cognitive part). So with this very definition one can clearly see that the main difference between IQ (intelligence quotient) and EQ (emotional quotient) are the emotions.

IQ corresponds strictly to the usage of the brain and all its skills, but EQ corresponds to all other things that make a human humane. And knowing this, we can say that maybe EQ is more important than IQ.

Surely if one is intelligent they can accomplish a whole lot more in life, can get a well-paid job and move up their career quickly. But is this enough to have a fulfilled and happy life?

Although both of these quotients are measured by some standard classifications and tests, when we try to understand their meaning in real life they are quite different. You see, a person with a high IQ doesn’t always mean that he/she understands the needs and feelings of others, despite being very smart.

But a person with high EQ shows that he/she can understand the heart of others, their needs, their happiness and sorrow. This is actually more important than having a Ph.D. Although the emotions and feelings of one person are immeasurable, their visible manifestations are.

And having these visible counterparts into consideration when measuring one’s EQ, the tests are more individual and accurate. At the end, the score is derived from comparison with some existing standards.

Nevertheless, the test models of EQ are so developed that they can measure the capacity to reason about emotions, which is something that cannot be easily labeled. (2)

So which one is more important?

During the last century high IQs were very much asked for, especially when looking for a job or enrolling in a specific school, which is still done in today’s society. But lately, people have realized that high IQ is not a guarantee for successful life, in money matters – maybe, but not in life general.

And if we notice the fact that we have life until death, and work until retirement, than which one is more important? People with high EQ do tend to be happier, kinder and wiser than others. And these people eventually live a healthier and happier life.

Since we see that emotional intelligence is very important, the next question is – can it be taught and strengthened? It sure can. There are plenty of social and emotional learning programs and also there are enough spiritual teachers that can help one to recognize, balance and properly and positively learn to use one’s emotions.

You see, we all have emotions, positive and negative, and if we can learn to recognize them, differ them, and use them as basis in our decision making process, we shall be much happier humans which actually enjoy life and are in good relationship with other humans and everything else in this world.

So do pay attention to your emotional intelligence, it is good to be smart, but it is better to be kind and wise so you can help yourself and others to find a happier way to live their lives. (3)

David Smith


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