Emotional Intelligence Needs a Rewrite

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From Nautilus: The traditional notion of emotional intelligence is based on two assumptions: that it is possible to detect others’ emotions accurately, and that emotions are automatically triggered by external events and can be controlled through rational thought. Neither of these assumptions is backed up by neuroscience; our concept of emotional intelligence needs to be updated accordingly.

“Copious research, from my lab and others, shows that faces and bodies alone do not communicate any specific emotion in any consistent manner. In addition, we now know that the brain doesn’t have separate processes for emotion and cognition, and therefore one cannot control the other. If these statements defy your common sense, I’m right there with you. But our experiences of emotion, no matter how compelling, don’t reflect the biology of what’s happening inside us. Our traditional understanding and practice of emotional intelligence badly needs a tuneup.”

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