Understanding the different types of intelligence: IQ, EQ, SQ and AQ

For centuries a person’s intelligence or academic abilities were measured with a standardised IQ test. The higher a person scored on the test the more academically capable they were perceived to be. Organisations like MENSA were formed with exclusive membership being granted to adults and children who displayed very high IQ levels

In his book, Frames of Mind, Howard Garner challenges the notion that intelligence is a single yardstick on which to measure a person’s abilities and chances of future success. Over the last few decades, other researchers and psychologists have followed suit and also identified alternative ways to measure intelligence that doesn’t only focus on academic abilities. 

There are four types of intelligence that are commonly used today; 

  • Intelligence Quotient (IQ)
  • Emotional Quotient (EQ)
  • Social Quotient (SQ)
  • Adversity Quotient (AQ)

In this article, we will look at the different types of intelligence, learn more about whether IQ is more important than EQ, SQ and AQ, and find out how parents can incorporate social and emotional development into their child’s education

Meaning of IQ, SQ, EQ and AQ

  • Intelligence Quotient or commonly referred to as IQ measures a person’s level of comprehension. This is usually assessed through an IQ assessment that tests a person’s ability to solve mathematical equations, memorise things, identify patterns and recall lessons.
  • Emotional Quotient (EQ) or Emotional Intelligence refers to one’s ability to manage their emotions. This includes the ability to understand and self-manage their own feelings in positive ways to communicate effectively, empathize with others, overcome challenges, manage conflict and relieve stress.
  • Social Quotient (SQ) or Social Intelligence refers to one’s ability to interact and communicate with others with empathy and assertiveness. This includes a person’s ability to build a network of friends and maintain it over a long period of time.
  • Adversity Quotient (AQ) refers to one’s ability to overcome challenges or adversity. When faced with troubles, the Adversity Quotient considers who will give up, who will abandon their family, and who will contemplate suicide.

Daniel Goleman, author, psychologist and journalist for the New York Times, stated that “as much as 80% of adult success comes from EQ”. His research shows that people who have higher emotional and social intelligence tend to go further in life than those with a high IQ but low EQ or SQ. 

IQ vs EQ, SQ and AQ

Every child is different, with unique learning needs and personalities. Saying that one intelligence type is more important than another is like saying that it is more important to learn maths than languages. Whilst each subject is important in schooling, what is most important is that a child builds educational foundations that will serve them through their adult life. The same logic can be applied when comparing different types of intelligence. 

It is simply not logical to think that one type of intelligence is more important than another. Developing a child’s social skills, self-awareness, self-control and coping mechanisms are not only important for learning but also vital to succeed as adults in a workplace environment.  

Social and emotional learning in schools

Understanding your child’s unique personality and strength areas can offer valuable insights into how you approach and personalise their education to develop these key life skills. Whilst most schools focus on improving IQ levels, EQ, SQ and AQ development is often neglected.

It is equally as important to attend to the emotional well-being of a learner, as to their academic needs. Social and emotional learning should be integrated into a child’s education as it is integral to their development. Enrolling your child in a social and emotional learning course will help them develop these key life skills and will in turn contribute to them becoming more successful and happier in their adult life.

Benefits of social and emotional learning

There are tangible and practical reasons to incorporate social and emotional learning into a child’s education. According to Goleman, incidences of bullying, peer pressure, behavioural problems, violence and substance abuse are reduced in schools that focus on developing their students' EQ and SQ. This in turn leads to improved academic performance and behaviour. 

CambriLearn’s social and emotional learning course

CambriLearn offers an in-depth social-emotional learning course to help children navigate these critical developmental areas. The course is completed online through interactive lessons and group projects to help learners discover constructive ways to process their emotions and interact with others in a respectful way.

In this course, students learn to:

  • Recognise and practice character strengths, like curiosity, persistence, and collaboration.
  • Understand and manage their emotions, like fear and anger.
  • Work in a team, listen to and appreciate each other.
  • Understand the consequences of their actions to others.

Students who have completed the social-emotional learning course with CambriLearn have shown improved:

  • self-esteem and self-awareness,
  • attitude and relationships,
  • ability to cope with social and peer pressures, 
  • learning outcomes.

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