Emotional Intelligence: the Rapprochement of Reason and Emotion

5757 Words May 16th, 2005 24 Pages
The past few decades have seen increasing interest in emotion research. Although much remains to be learned, agreement is beginning to emerge regarding the way emotion should be viewed. Emotions provide a unique source of information for individuals about their environment, which informs and shapes their thoughts, actions, and subsequent feelings, and there is a growing view that emotion information can be used more or less intelligently. A notion central to emotional intelligence theory is that individuals differ in their ability to perceive, understand and use emotional information, and this ability significantly contributes to intellectual and emotional well-being and growth.

Emotional intelligence as a concept has prospered, in
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Emotional intelligence relates directly to emotional phenomena, and can similarly be applied to a wide variety of emotional situations and problems entrenched within both interpersonal and intrapersonal experience (Epstein, 1998; Saarni, 1997; Salovey & Mayer, 1990).
There is much criticism from proponents of traditional notions of IQ however, as to the validity and relevance of emotional intelligence (where did those refs go??). The modern interest in emotional intelligence stems from a dialectic in the field of human abilities research that resonates with the same tones as that of the centuries long reason vs. emotion debate.

The conflict between reason and emotion

The tension between exclusively cognitive views of what it means to be intelligent and broader ones that include a positive role for the emotions can be traced back many centuries. For centuries, efforts to understand the nature of cognition have been prioritized over efforts to understand the nature of emotion. Although the philosophical forefathers of psychology have been concerned with the nature of emotion since Socrates (469-399 B.C.), the primary focus has been the pursuit of reason. Aristotle (384-322 B.C.) argued that human intellect is "the highest thing in us, and the objects that it apprehends are the highest things that can be known" (1976, p. 328). The importance given to analytic intelligence up to the present day is testament to the

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