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IQ vs EQ: Which Does Your Child Need More?

Medically reviewed by Regina Victoria Boyles, MD · Pediatrics

Written by Hello Doctor Medical Panel · Updated Mar 24, 2023

IQ vs EQ: Which Does Your Child Need More?

What is IQ?

Before diving into IQ vs EQ, let’s take a look at IQ. IQ, or intelligence quotient, is a standardized score that evaluates a person’s mental ability. It is determined after taking a series of tests. There are a variety of valid IQ or intelligence tests available, with the Stanford-Binet and Cattell tests being two of the most prominent1.

Unlike typical exams in school, the IQ score does not represent the number of correct answers. Instead, IQ scores are based on the average scores of a large population (for example, a country). This means that an IQ score of 100 is the average or most common score. From there, scores significantly above or below 100 would translate to high or low IQs, respectively1.

When taking an IQ test, expect to be tested on different areas of cognition. These may include:

  • Abstract thinking
  • Problem-solving
  • Inductive reasoning
  • Quantitative reasoning
  • Visual-spatial processing
  • Pattern recognition
  • Memory and recall

What is EQ? – The importance of EQ vs IQ

With all this focus on IQ, we tend to forget that there is more than one way to be intelligent.

Emotional quotient, or EQ refers to the ability to use and manage our emotions2. The importance of cultivating EQ vs IQ alone cannot be understated. Individuals with the ability to identify and manage their emotions develop healthier coping mechanisms and reduce their stress levels. Unnecessary or excessive stress during childhood negatively affects brain and body development3.

Without good EQ, a child may become anxious, less confident, and have poor memory and concentration3. As memory and other mental abilities contribute to IQ, it is easy to see that EQ affects IQ.

Why you need both IQ and EQ to be more successful in life

Naturally, parents want to focus on whichever will be most beneficial toward their child’s success. In truth, it should not be a matter of choosing between IQ vs EQ but rather developing both. As two sides of the same coin, IQ and EQ are involved in thought processes, memory, and decision-making.

According to researchers, success in work or life requires about 80% EQ and just 20% IQ4. While a genius-level IQ score is something to boast about, many employers are adopting more EQ vs IQ skills in the workplace. This is because emotionally intelligent bosses and employees are more innovative, engaged, and productive. This is especially important for Millennials and Gen Zs, as they prefer to stay in environments where they can socialize and have a sense of purpose5.

Want to improve your child’s IQ? Nurture their emotional intelligence. Studies show that EQ level tends to be proportional to IQ level. This means that many intellectually gifted children are also more emotionally intelligent6. Because EQ helps with healthy coping strategies, it can bring out the full potential of IQ vs EQ or IQ alone.

IQ vs EQ – Which is more essential?

In the battle between IQ vs EQ, is there a clear winner? No, as both are essential parts of mental development, especially for children.

Good nutrition and mental stimulation early on helps develop key areas of the brain, making your child develop to be smarter and more emotionally mature. Remember that good EQ improves IQ and sets your child up for success in the future.

Learn more about developing IQ and EQ here.


Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Medically reviewed by

Regina Victoria Boyles, MD


Written by Hello Doctor Medical Panel · Updated Mar 24, 2023

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