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“Emotional intelligence” has become a major topic of interest in scientific circles as well as in the lay public since the publication of a bestseller by the same name in 1995 (Goleman).Despite this heightened level of interest in this over the past decade, scholars have been studying this construct for the greater part of the twentieth century; and the historical roots of this wider area can actually be traced back to the nineteenth century.(2) Publications began appearing in the twentieth century with the work of Edward Thorndike on in 1920.To do this, we need to manage emotions so that they work for us and not against us, and we need to be sufficiently optimistic, positive and self-motivated.

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Contemporary theorists like Peter Salovey and John Mayer originally viewed emotional intelligence as part of social intelligence (1990, p.189), which suggests that both concepts are related and may, in all likelyhood, represent interrelated components of the same construct.Additional influence on my thinking can be traced to Thorndike’s description of social intelligence and its importance for human performance (1920) as well as Wechsler’s observations related to the impact of non-cognitive and conative factors on what he referred to as “intelligent behavior” (1940, 1943).Sifneos’ description of alexithymia (1967) on the pathological end of the ESI continuum and Appelbaum’s conceptualization of psychological mindedness (1973) on the eupsychic end of this continuum have also had an impact on the ongoing development of the Bar-On model.Research exploring the neural circuitry that governs emotional awareness (Lane, 2000), as well as additional emotional and social aspects of this concept (Bar-On et al., 2003; Bechara & Bar-On, in press; Bechara et al., 2000; Damasio, 1994; Lane & Mc Rae, 2004; Le Doux, 1996), has begun to provide tangible evidence of the anatomical foundations of this wider construct which some have questioned as an intangiable myth (Davies et al., 1998; Matthews et al., 2003; Zeidner et al., 2001).

The literature reveals various attempts to combine the emotional and social components of this construct.

In the last part of the article, I summarize the key points, discuss the limitations of the model that need to be addressed, and raise the idea for developing a more comprehensive and robust model of ESI based on the most powerful aspects of existing conceptualizations of this construct.

The theoretical foundation of the Bar-On model Darwin ’s early work on the importance of emotional expression for survival and adaptation (1872/1965) has influenced the ongoing development of the Bar-On model, which both stresses the importance of emotional expression and views the outcome of emotionally and socially intelligent behavior in Darwinian terms of effective adaptation.

Since the time of Thorndike (1920), a number of different conceptualizations of ESI have appeared which have creating an interesting mixture of confusion, controversy and opportunity regarding the best approach to defining and measuring this construct.

In an effort to help clarify this situation, the (Spielberger, 2004) recently suggested that there are currently three major conceptual models: (a) the Salovey-Mayer model (Mayer & Salovey, 1997) which defines this construct as the ability to perceive, understand, manage and use emotions to facilitate thinking, measured by an ability-based measure (Mayer et al., 2002); (b) the Goleman model (1998) which views this construct as a wide array of competencies and skills that drive managerial performance, measured by multi-rater assessment (Boyatzis et al., 2001); and (c) the Bar-On model (1997b, 2000) which describes a cross-section of interrelated emotional and social competencies, skills and facilitators that impact intelligent behavior, measured by self-report (1997a, 1997b) within a potentially expandable multi-modal approach including interview and multi-rater assessment (Bar-On & Handley, 2003a, 2003b).

The purpose of this article is to present, describe and examine the Bar-On model of emotional-social intelligence (ESI). As such, various findings are presented to describe this theory of ESI and demonstrate that it is a comprehensive, robust and valid conceptualization of the construct.