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  Home  > Child/Family Wellness  > Myth: IQ Is the Chief Measure of a Child's Ability to Be Effective and Successful at School and in Adult Life

Myth: IQ Is the Chief Measure of a Child's Ability to Be Effective and Successful at School and in Adult Life

Fact: Unlike IQ, emotional intelligence (EQ) is a relatively new concept, yet a rapidly growing body of research suggests it can be as powerful, and at times more powerful, than IQ. And, while some argue IQ is largely fixed, research shows that crucial emotional competencies can be learned and improved upon.

It becomes apparent that a view of human nature that ignores the power of the emotions is shortsighted; feeling counts every bit as much--and often more--than thought. We have over-emphasized the value of the purely rational—of IQ.

Intelligence comes to nothing when the emotions hold sway; passions overcome reason time and again. —Daniel Goleman, PhD*

Until recently, the emotions have been largely ignored by scientists. An unparalleled burst of scientific studies of the emotions have appeared over the last decade; most dramatic of which are the glimpses of the brain at work. These studies are enabling scientists to speak with authority on the nature of the irrational, and to map the human heart with some precision. This mapping challenges those who subscribe to a narrower view of human intelligence and argue that IQ is determines our destiny.

New discoveries about the brain's architecture offer an explanation of those moments in life when feeling overwhelms all rationality. These discoveries are of special importance as we face a generation of children more troubled emotionally than the previous: more lonely and depressed, more angry and unruly, more nervous and prone to worry, more impulsive and aggressive.

Emotions are, in essence, the impulses to act that evolution has instilled in us. Researchers are discovering more physiological details of how each emotion prepares the body for a very different kind of response. While in the ancient past, a hair-trigger anger response may have offered a crucial edge for survival, the availability of firearms to children heralds unprecedented and uncalled for tragedy.

As Aristotle saw, the problem is not with emotionality, but with the appropriateness of emotion and its expression. The question is, how can we bring intelligence to our emotions--and civility to our streets and caring to our communal life...

To bring intelligence to emotion means:

´┐Żbeing able, for example, to rein in emotional impulses, to read another's innermost feelings, to handle relationships smoothly--as Aristotle put it, the rare skill "to be angry with the right person, to the right degree, for the right purpose, and in the right way.

It becomes apparent that we need an expanded model of what it means to be "intelligent," a model which puts emotions at the center of aptitudes for living.

In a very real sense, we have two minds: one that thinks and one that feels; and two different kinds of intelligence: rational and emotional. How well we do in life is determined by the balance between the two. Just as the intellect cannot serve optimally devoid of emotional intelligence, the latter cannot serve optimally in the absence of the intellect.

The old paradigm held an ideal of reason freed of the pull of emotion. The new paradigm urges us to harmonize head and heart. To do that well we must first understand what it means to use emotion intelligently.

*All quotes in this myth are by Daniel Goleman, (see "Source" on last page of this myth)

Emotional Aptitude - a
Family Life and Emotional Intelligence
Temperament and Emotional Intelligence
Emotional Literacy

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