Daily Bulletin

The Conversation

  • Written by Carolyn MacCann, Associate Professor, University of Sydney
Understanding emotions is nearly as important as IQ for students' academic success

The ability to understand emotions contributes almost as much to students’ grades as their IQ.

Past studies show two personal qualities are important for student academic success – intelligence and conscientiousness.

IQ scores explain about 15% of the differences between students’ grades. Conscientiousness, such as having the diligence to do enough study, explains about 5%.

Our recent research has found emotional intelligence explains 4% of differences between students’ achievement. But the ability to understand emotions, a component of emotional intelligence, explains about 12% of differences in students’ grades.

What is emotional intelligence?

Different researchers use slightly different definitions of emotional intelligence.

Some define emotional intelligence as the ability to perceive, use, understand and manage your own and other people’s emotions. This is called “ability emotional intelligence”.

Others also include character traits such as optimism, impulse control and the ability to motivate yourself. This is called “mixed emotional intelligence” because it is a mix of abilities and character traits.

We examined the findings of more than 150 studies on the link between emotional intelligence and academic performance. These studies included more than 42,000 students and 1,246 different estimations of the size of the relationship between emotional intelligence and academic performance.

Read more: Children benefit when taught social and emotional skills – but some methods are better than others

Some of the studies in our analysis used rating scales to assess emotional intelligence. Here, test-takers might rate their emotional abilities with items like “I am aware of the non-verbal messages other people send” or rate their mixed emotional intelligence with items like “I am motivated to succeed”.

Others tested emotional intelligence directly by measuring participants’ emotional abilities with skill-based tasks. For example, test takers might be asked to identify which emotion is expressed in a face.

We found that, overall, emotional intelligence explained about 4% of differences in students’ academic achievement. But some emotional intelligence types were more important than others.

Skill-based emotional intelligence, such as reading people’s faces, explained 6% of differences in academic achievement, but self-ratings of emotional abilities explained 1% of differences. So, emotional skills assessed from the outside are more important for students’ academic performance than students’ self-ratings (or self-beliefs) about their emotional skills.

Understanding emotions is nearly as important as IQ for students' academic success Students who understand emotions also know how to regulate their emotions in a stressful situation. Shutterstock

But some emotional skills were more important than others. The two most important emotional skills for academic success were understanding emotions and managing emotions.

Students who can understand emotions can accurately label their own and others’ emotions. They know what causes emotions, how emotions change and how they combine. Students who can manage emotions know how to regulate their emotions in a stressful situation. They also know what to do to maintain good social relationships with others.

Emotion management skills accounted for 7% of differences in academic performance . Emotion understanding skills accounted for 12%. That is, understanding emotions is more important for student success than conscientiousness (5%) and almost as important as students’ IQ (15%).

Read more: Understanding others' feelings: what is empathy and why do we need it?

Emotionally intelligent students tend to be more intelligent as well as more conscientious. But our study found it wasn’t just that emotionally intelligent students were also more likely to be intelligent and conscientious.

We applied a statistical technique called meta-regression to examine what the effect of emotional intelligence would be if everyone had the same level of conscientiousness and intelligence.

For students who had the same levels of conscientiousness and intelligence, emotional intelligence was still linked with higher academic performance.

For students with the same levels of intelligence and conscientiousness:

  • self-ratings of mixed emotional intelligence (the one involving both skills and character traits) explained 2.3% of differences in performance

  • emotion understanding skills explained 3.9% of differences in performance

  • emotion management skills explained 3.6% of differences in performance.

Why is emotional intelligence linked to good grades?

There are at least three reasons why we believe emotional intelligence relates to higher academic performance.

First, students with higher emotional intelligence can regulate their “academic emotions”. Students may feel anxious about tests and performance. They may feel bored when learning required but dull material. And they may feel frustrated or disappointed when they try their hardest but still can’t quite get the hang of a task.

Students who can regulate these tough emotions will achieve more. Anxiety will not impair the test performance. They can push through the boredom and frustration to master dull or difficult material. They can learn from negative feedback or failure rather than be derailed by disappointment.

Read more: Here's what teachers look for when kids start school

Second, students with higher emotional intelligence can form better social relationships with their classmates and teachers. They can get help with schoolwork or with social and emotional needs when they need it.

Third, many non-technical academic subjects require an understanding of human emotions and social relations as an inherent part of the subject matter. Analysing universal themes of love and betrayal in Shakespeare plays requires not just verbal skills but emotional knowledge and skill. Analysing the role of charismatic leaders in the rise of fascist regimes likewise requires social knowledge and analysis.

Our results show that teachers, parents and students should focus on student’s emotional skills not just for student’s well-being, but for their ability to succeed academically.

Authors: Carolyn MacCann, Associate Professor, University of Sydney

Read more https://theconversation.com/understanding-emotions-is-nearly-as-important-as-iq-for-students-academic-success-131212

Writers Wanted

The Best Android tools and Utility Apps


How to Find the Best SEO Services Company That Offers Guaranteed Results


The Conversation


Prime Minister Interview with Ben Fordham, 2GB

BEN FORDHAM: Scott Morrison, good morning to you.    PRIME MINISTER: Good morning, Ben. How are you?    FORDHAM: Good. How many days have you got to go?   PRIME MINISTER: I've got another we...

Scott Morrison - avatar Scott Morrison

Prime Minister Interview with Kieran Gilbert, Sky News

KIERAN GILBERT: Kieran Gilbert here with you and the Prime Minister joins me. Prime Minister, thanks so much for your time.  PRIME MINISTER: G'day Kieran.  GILBERT: An assumption a vaccine is ...

Daily Bulletin - avatar Daily Bulletin

Did BLM Really Change the US Police Work?

The Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement has proven that the power of the state rests in the hands of the people it governs. Following the death of 46-year-old black American George Floyd in a case of ...

a Guest Writer - avatar a Guest Writer

Business News

How to Find the Best SEO Services Company That Offers Guaranteed Results

As a business owner, you have to be strategic about how you’ll be able to reach your target market. That is why entrepreneurs implement various marketing tactics to reach their goals. With today...

News Co - avatar News Co

Top Reasons Why Your Business Needs SEO

SEO is crucial for the ranking of a website. You may think that SEO offers greater searchability while it can do more than this. The most cost-effective tool for the survival of smalls businesse...

News Co - avatar News Co

Nisbets’ Collab with The Lobby is Showing the Sexy Side of Hospitality Supply

Hospitality supply services might not immediately make you think ‘sexy’. But when a barkeep in a moodily lit bar holds up the perfectly formed juniper gin balloon or catches the light in the edg...

The Atticism - avatar The Atticism

News Co Media Group

Content & Technology Connecting Global Audiences

More Information - Less Opinion