The importance of Emotional Intelligence on Student’s academic success

Psychologists argue emotional intelligence quotient (EQ) is equally important as the cognitive intelligence quotient (IQ) for students’ success. According to Kendra Cherry, EQ is too narrow defined and do not encompass full range of human intelligence for IQ is defined as:(a) visual and spatial processing, (b) knowledge of the world, (c) fluid reasoning, (d) working memory and short-term memory, and (e) quantitative reasoning. On the other hand, EQ which defined as the ability to: (a) identifying emotions, (b) evaluating how others feel, (c) controlling one’s own emotions, (d) perceiving how others feel, (e) using emotions to facilitate social communication, and (f) relating to others. There are ample empirical findings evidence that show EQ is positively and significantly related to success which shows as important or more important than cognitive intelligence which is commonly believed to be the primary factor that determine academic success . 

Adapted from taken on 7/29/2021

For example, according to Abe, J.A.A (2011) using Mayer–Salovey–Caruso Emotional Intelligence Test (MSCEIT), they have found that emotions and emotional intelligence are positively correlated with complex constructs such as successful experiential learning. Similarly,  Extremera, N., & Rey, L. (2016) have also studied the link between emotional intelligence (EQ) and how it affects academic performance using a wide sample of 721 Spanish undergraduate studies. Accordingly, EQ has been found to positively associated with life satisfaction and a positive attitudinal affect and inversely correlated with a negative affect.

 Lyons, J. B., & Schneider, T. R. (2005)  have also examined the relationship of ability-based EQ facets with performance under stress and found EQ dimensions were related to performance after controlling for cognitive ability. The association of EQ and academic success have also been found to be established across different countries. For example, Soliman, E., Fayed, A. et al (2017) examined the relationship between academic achievement and emotional intelligence among female medical students in Saudi Arabia and found out a significant correlation between emotional intelligence and academic achievement. However, interpreting the positive association needs to be carefully understood for it should not be mislead with causality. The positive association association between academic success and imitational intelligence could be either emotional intelligence causes academic success or academic success causes emotional intelligence or a third factor that affects both variables leads them move together.

In summary, a growing number of empirical evidence are showing the importance of emotional intelligence for a holistic success of academic achievement of students across countries. Hence, policy makers, educators, and parents need to focus on factors that help children develop better emotional intelligence.  


Abe, J. A. A. (2011). Positive emotions, emotional intelligence, and successful experiential learning. Personality and Individual Differences51(7), 817-822.

Extremera, N., & Rey, L. (2016). Ability emotional intelligence and life satisfaction: Positive and negative affect as mediators. Personality and Individual Differences102, 98-101.

Lyons, J. B., & Schneider, T. R. (2005). The influence of emotional intelligence on performance. Personality and individual differences39(4), 693-703.

Soliman, E., Fayed, A., Al Mussaed, E., Alawad, H., & Elradi, D. (2017). Impact of emotional intelligence on level of academic achievement in a sample of Saudi female medical student. European Psychiatry41(S1), s908-s909.

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