EQ and IQ; What Are They? Do They Matter? Can You Improve Them?

EQ and IQ, what do they mean and why are they so important?

The arguments have raged back and forth. What is the more valuable in different scenarios?

In this post, I focus more on the higher range of quotients.
First, let’s just get the definitions and distinctions:


Intelligence Quotient.

IQ has been around for well over 100 years. A Frenchman named Binet came up with the first standardised test which produced a comparable ‘Quotient’ or scoring system.

Mensa is a worldwide organisation which accepts membership from only the top 2% of the intelligentsia. This means getting a score of over 132 on the Stanford-Binet system. The average person is supposed to have an IQ of around 100 on this scale. Anything over 150 is considered ‘genius’ status. The highest ever recorded was 185 by a lady called Marilyn Vos Savant (French for knowing!) who lives in Manhattan, New York. Different quotients will be delivered by the different tests available.
An aside, it is said that Mensa (Latin for ‘table’) was going to be called ‘Mens’ (Latin for ‘mind’) but the obvious impending ridicule for either being a gentleman’s public convenience or publication caused a convenient shift.

The source of IQ level is generally recognised to be a function of DNA. IQs usually do not change much after the age of 12 to 15.

Image: Author

Emotional Quotient

Emotional Intelligence is a relatively new concept developed by Dr Wayne Payne (1985) and by Dr John Mayer and Dr Peter Salovey (1990) from American University. However, it was popularised by American Psychologist Daniel Goleman (1995) in his book “Emotional Intelligence”.

Steven J. Stein, Ph.D. and Howard E. Book, M.D. defined Emotional Intelligence in their book, The EQ Edge, as follows:

Emotional Quotient is the set of skills that enable us to make our way in a complex world — the personal, social and survival aspects of overall intelligence, the elusive common sense and sensitivity that are essential to effective daily functioning. It has to do with the ability to read the political and social environment, and landscape them; to intuitively grasp what others want and need, what strengths and weaknesses are; to remain unruffled by stress; and to be engaging. The kind of person others want to be around and will follow.

It is generally conceded that EQ is a better indicator of success in the workplace and is used to identify leaders, good team players, and people who best work by themselves.

Five reasons why EQ is so important:

  1. EQ has a greater impact on success than other factors.
  2. The ability to delay gratification is a primary indicator of future success.
  3. High EQ leads to healthy relationships with others.
  4. Emotional health impacts physical health.
  5. Low EQ is linked to crime and other unethical behaviours.

Image: Author


Garry Rodgers, a former homicide detective, described it as follows:
“There’s a world of difference between book smarts and street sharps — between braininess and savvy. The first has its place, but the second is more useful.
Being smart is the ability to logically think things out. Being sharp is the ability to tune into the world, to read situations, and to survive.”

EQ and the problems involved with arriving at a Quotient

David Wyman, Past President, Prometheus High-IQ Society.
“EQ is not a real thing. Obviously, getting along with people, managing people, encouraging people are all useful skills or attributes, but there is no reliable way to measure it.”

Objectivity vs. Subjectivity is an enormous factor in determining the scale of another person’s emotional capabilities. There are four principal aspects which are analysed:

  1. Identifying Emotions – the ability to recognise how you and those around you are feeling.
  2. Using Emotions – the ability to generate emotion, and then reason with this emotion.
  3. Understanding Emotions – the ability to understand complex emotions and emotional “chains”, how emotions transition from one stage to another.
  4. Managing Emotions – the ability which allows you to manage emotions in your self and in others.

Image: Author

EQ and IQ

It is often observed that younger people (teenagers through to 25, even 30 years of age) with very high IQs are often emotionally removed to varying degrees. There are a few reasons to explain this.

People who are gifted and talented, with that ability to “discern more complexity” and perhaps also introverted or highly sensitive, may often get labelled by others as “strange,” “weird,” “loner,” “snooty,” “ADD” or diagnosed as suffering from various other mental disorders.
Of course, the labels are incorrectly applied but it can be a limiting factor if children with high IQs are not recognised and mentored compassionately.

Children with high IQs who are born and raised into dysfunctional families can find themselves equally dissociated and detached from society as anyone else. The possession of a high IQ does not give the necessary tools to escape the trauma which this can cause.
Psychiatric help can expose the realities of ‘cause and effect’ to the extent that patients can be fully restored to a balanced level of emotional intelligence.

It has been observed by many that students emerging from the very top Universities and Colleges with a Ph.D., MBA or such qualifications are so full of cleverness as to be impractical. The processes of learning have not been focussed onto the challenges of the real world.
This is simply a case of significance to the individual. It is rare for such people not to have acclimatised and discovered their need for, and ability to apply EQ, by the age of 30.

Sharon Stone, Image: Jon Favreau; Sting, Image: Sting

Sharon Stone says that when she was 15 she went to college half a day while still going to high school, and “never got to be on a peer level relationship with the kids I went to school with. I was like, you know, that weird girl. I cannot believe I did not know that I was a pretty girl. I was so insecure and so intimidated and so introverted.” [Her IQ is reportedly 154.]

She has also commented, “If I was just intelligent, I’d be OK. But I am fiercely intelligent, which most people find very threatening.”

We do have a lot of choice in how we develop emotionally, and can make use of our creative abilities for positive growth.

In his memoir, Broken Music, musician Sting wrote, “Music has always been my refuge from sadness.”
“Do I have to be in pain to write? I thought so, as most of my contemporaries did; you had to be the struggling artist, the tortured, painful, poetic wreck…I only know that people who are getting into this archetype of the tortured poet end up really torturing themselves to death.”

Image: Author


Though EQ and IQ are very much related, they are not one and the same thing.

IQ is largely established by the time we are 15. EQ takes development and those with a higher IQ will develop their EQ with a regression pattern along the path of their IQ – or very close thereto. Their capacity to do so will rely upon external factors.

Parents, wider family, teachers and other mentors will play a significant role.

All Rights Reserved. ©Edward Bryans 2017. No unauthorised reproduction of this post in whole or in part is permitted without the express written consent of the author