Academic Intelligence is related to Emotional Intelligence
Everyone wants to know what it takes to reach the top of their profession. Academic honors? Drive? An x factor?
The general consensus now is that while academic success gives you a leg up in life, it does not make the man or woman. There is some research in this field and even a small study in India (showing that more above average students reach pinnacles of success than the top or the bottom rankers) but what emerges is that there are too many variables that play a role, making future achievement difficult to predict.
Intelligence is not easy to measure
One variable is emotional intelligence – which is the potential to use, describe, identify, learn from, manage, and understand emotions – but Intelligence is much more than just emotional plus academic intelligence. All in all, the various kinds of intelligence cannot be measured accurately. Perhaps that is why it is so difficult to find the connection between intelligence and success. Interestingly, emotional intelligence is said to increase with age, unlike academic intelligence which can deteriorate if the brain is not kept engaged.
The connection between emotional intelligence and academic performance
Researchers have been able to find a connection between Emotional Intelligence and Academic Intelligence though. Something that can certainly help universities identify which students are likely to drop out and/or need that extra help.
There are several studies regarding this but I picked one which I liked the best. It is a study conducted by James DA Parker and Christopher Michael for Trent university. They studied full-time students (new entrants) who joined Trent university within 2 years of leaving high school. For the purpose of the study they selected two groups – academically successful students (who scored 80 percent plus) and academically unsuccessful students (who scored 59 percent or less) and measured their emotional intelligence to see if there was a connection between academic success and emotional intelligence.
To understand their results we need to see how the researchers described emotional intelligence:
- How one gets along with people (interpersonal abilities)
- How one gets along with oneself (intrapersonal abilities)
- Adaptability skills
- Stress management skills
What they found was that students who had high academic scores also had high EQ. However the emotional intelligence was not equally high in all the 4 parameters as can be seen from the graph below.
The difference in points between the low scorers and high scorers in interpersonal abilities is only .1
The difference in adaptability and the ability to get along with oneself is .6
Stress management which shows the highest difference – 1.7
If the academically brilliant students beat the other groups in stress management by a large margin, it’s not surprising. The ability to concentrate is dependent on how well one manages stress.
About getting along with oneself, which is related to self-esteem and self image, this could partially be the result of good academic performance. The students were tested as they were entering university on the basis of their high school marks and it is likely that throughout their high school years they were scoring good marks, perhaps right from the primary level. This is sure to have influenced their self esteem to some extent.
In conclusion: A higher emotional intelligence may help academic performance, but this certainly does not mean that all those with high emotional intelligence score well academically. It’s just that emotional intelligence has been proved (in some studies) to be a better predictor of academic success as compared to other variables like academic record, IQ and economic/demographic factors. It has also been found that more than half of those who drop out of university do so because of personal problems.
And when it comes to great achievement in life, there is an x factor that is not possible to predict or measure. It will also vary from person to person and situation to situation.
Related Reading: The relationship between a student’s high school performance and life achievement
IQ tests cannot measure intelligence
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