ABSTRACT

This chapter explores the role of emotion in the phenomenon that is referred to as general intelligence and the importance of emotional intelligence for our social and psychological well-being. It begins by looking at the nature of general intelligence and addresses the issue of whether intelligence is inherited or acquired. The text then moves on to examine the issues of gender-bias in intelligence and debunks the many gender-based myths that have historically portrayed women as intrinsically less intelligent than men and more prone to hysteria, which was believed to cloud their judgement. The chapter describes how emotion has developed from an evolutionary-developmental perspective, whilst outlining the key structures in the brain that are associated with the processing of emotion. It demonstrates that although human intelligence is primarily cognitive in origin, emotion plays a central role in the processes that facilitate intelligent decision-making, prosocial behaviour and empathic understanding. The chapter then examines the nature of emotional intelligence by defining emotional intelligence and describing the five domains that are commonly associated with emotional intelligence, and it explains why it is in large part a product of experiential learning during childhood rather than our inherited genes. The text moves to look at intuition as form of emotional intelligence and shows how it has been linked to the acquisition of professional expertise that is gained over many years of professional practice. The chapter concludes by exploring the nature of self-compassion and its role in maintaining personal well-being. In doing so it shows how self-critical states, such as shame, undermine self-compassion and kindness and lead to the development of compensatory behaviours, such as workaholism and perfectionism, which can be harmful. It concludes by describing how mindful-meditation and self-compassion have been shown to positively influence the emotional centres in the brain that promote rest and relaxation as a counter to stress.