Updated: Oct 13, 2020
by Drupad Kachi,
St. Xavier's College (Autonomous),
Mumbai, Maharashtra, India
It's logical to think that folks who have higher IQ are better in academics, skills, rationality, and intelligence but recently its have been discovered that folks who have higher EI are comparatively better in academics, relationships, workplace and are more successful in their life.
Let's unfold the reason!
What is emotion?
Emotions are feelings that are formed in the brain consciously as well as subconsciously due to hormonal, neurobiological, and neurophysical changes associated with thoughts, actions, feelings, memories, and experiences.
What is emotional intelligence?
Emotional intelligence is the ability to control, understand, perceive, regulate one's own emotion as well as understand others' emotions to enhance one's decision-making, relationships, perception, and behavior.
As quoted by Aristotle “Anybody can become angry – that is easy, but to be angry with the right person and to the right degree and at the right time and for the right purpose, and in the right way – that is not within everybody’s power and is not easy.” When one is emotionally intelligent one regulates one's emotion according to the situation, the environment and responds accordingly for better outcomes for the whole.
What is the neurobiology of emotional intelligence?
Emotional intelligence is associated with different regions of the brain primarily the amygdala, insula, and the ventrolateral prefrontal cortex. When one is exposed to a stimulus one's emotion gets activated which is processed by the amygdala. The insula which processes somatosensory sensation, interoception integrates emotion and cognition information and is associated with the ventrolateral cortex and anterior cingulate cortex which are also involved in emotions. The emotional center of the brain amygdala processes and forms emotions and feelings whereas the neocortex is the region of the brain which is involved in thinking and logical reasoning through the different regions are involved in emotion and thinking recently it has been discovered that emotion is involved in decision making and logical reasoning because when information is perceived by thalamus it goes to the neocortex and if the information is emotional it goes to amygdala like a sequential process from the thalamus to the neocortex and then to amygdala but sometimes little information is directly passed on to amygdala faster as compared to neocortex thus resulting in emotional processing and response before being able to actually understand the information logically and critically as a result emotion is involved in thinking and decision making.
How emotional intelligence is developed?
Emotional intelligence is developed when one becomes more self-aware, thinks constructively, questions oneself, become more empathetic, listens with understanding, when one becomes more adaptive, become more self-reflective, speaks words consciously as words are associated with an image, and image ultimately recollects experiences associated with the word which determines one's action.
All these factors are not developed within a day but it's a continuous process that ultimately makes one emotionally intelligent. When one perceives things without any bias and preconceived notion, one actually sees things as it is; in its original form, thus enhancing one's observational skills, one's understanding, one's knowledge, one's perception embracing the negative feeling and self-introspection. This indirectly, in a long time enhances one's emotional intelligence. We all do physical exercise to be physically fit, similarly, mental exercise must be done so that one is mentally fit.
What happens actually is that when one starts mental exercises like critical thinking, logical reasoning, being optimistic the neuronal plasticity changes resulting in reforming and forming new connections which result in an increase in emotional intelligence with time.
Emotional intelligence in everyday life?
In our everyday life we make most of our decisions subconsciously without thinking as our brain is hijacked by our emotion as a result emotion regulates our thinking and action so if one is emotionally intelligent enough to control ones own emotion and understand others emotion one might make decision more appropriately for better outcome for example in relationships understanding each other emotions is much more important for stronger bonding , in mental well being as to control stress, ill-feeling , depression , in academics as one handle anxiety and stress, in workplace for stronger bonding ,decision making, in social functioning ,in negotiation , in leadership for competence , optimism and in communication understanding others point of view sympathetically and empathetically, managing ones behaviors according to the emotional need in all of these cases emotional brain play a magnanimous role even before logical brain come into play in processing information and responding to the stimulus.
Limitation and Future direction of emotional intelligence:
Though emotional intelligence is a boon for society some folks who have higher EQ are better in manipulation and processing of emotion and may use it for selfish needs and for immoral social behaviors endlessly. Although emotional intelligence is popularized recently little is known about its generalization across genders and cultures, about its misuse and disadvantages so future research must be done to unfold these questions.
In our life philosophy, we believe that logical reasoning and intelligence is the key to success but the emotion and emotional intelligence govern one's success, one's happiness in life, and overall well-being. When we understand our own emotions and another person's emotions we form a stronger relationship with oneself and others, bearing in mind that success and happiness in life are all about networks and relationships. Emotional intelligence makes one better to control one's emotion, in understanding others, in decision-making, and most importantly adaptability coupled with intellect. Emotional intelligence along with intellect is responsible for one's success and happiness in life.
Brackett, M. A., Rivers, S. E., Bertoli, . M. C., & Salovey, P. (2016). EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE. Retrieved October 2, 2020, from https://www.salzburgglobal.org/fileadmin/user_upload/Documents/2010-2019/2018/Session_603/Brackett_et_al.__2016__Handbook_of_Emotion.pdf
Pavuluri, M., & May, A. (2015). "I Feel, Therefore, I am: The Insula and Its Role in Human Emotion, Cognition and the Sensory-Motor System .". AIMS Neuroscience, 2 (1), 18-27. Retrieved October 2, 2020, from www.aimspress.com/fileOther/PDF/neuroscience/20150103.pdf.
"EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE: AN OVERVIEW ." Retrieved October 2, 2020, from http://220.127.116.11:8080/jspui/bitstream/10603/31161/6/06_chapter%202.pdf
Brackett, M. A., Rivers, S., & Salovey, . P. (2011). Emotional Intelligence: Implications for Personal, Social, Academic, and Workplace Success." Social and Personality Psychology Compass, 5 (1), 88-103. Retrieved October 2, 2020, from https://www.edu-links.org/sites/default/files/media/file/10.1.1.385.1862.pdf
T. Rolls, E. A Neurobiological Approach to Emotional Intelligence.". Retrieved from www.oxcns.org/papers/428%20Rolls%202007%20Emotional%20Intelligence.pdf..
Goleman, D. (1995). Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than Iq. New York, Bantam Books.
Barrett, L. F. (2017). How Emotions Are Made The Secret Life of the Brain. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.
Image source for emotional brain http://18.104.22.168:8080/jspui/bitstream/10603/31161/6/06_chapter%202.pdf
Image source for MSCEIT TASK https://www.edu-links.org/sites/default/files/media/file/10.1.1.385.1862.pdf