Family Magazine

Emotional Intelligence for Beginners

By Geoff Griffiths @mmatraining1980

There is much talk about emotional intelligence and the importance of it, but I rarely see any articles, posts or videos that provide a solid introduction to developing it.

One thing that I personally think provides a foundation of emotional intelligence, is the ability to ‘detach from one’s thoughts’ – which normally requires a meditation practice. If you can’t stand back and observe your thoughts, it’s very difficult to evaluate their validity.

Physiological Responses & Emotions

Pre Existing Belief Bias

  • When information contradicts a pre-existing belief, our bodies generate a stress response with cortisol and adrenaline
  • When we force our opinion on someone, or someone confirms a pre-existing belief, our bodies generate a “dopamine-reward”

Consequences of Pre-Existing Belief Bias

  • Bullying – e.g. we see someone overweight – we’ve been led to belief as a child this is “wrong” or undesirable, or negative. So we bully the person
  • We dismiss people as being weird
  • We mock people with different beliefs
  • We’re brainwashed into fighting wars against people who oppose our beliefs (pretty heavy stuff!)

Examples of Pre Existing Belief Bias

When a child sees someone that is overweight – they believe people shouldn’t be overweight, so they bully that person

When someone questions if high cholesterol is the cause of heart disease – people think the statement is ridiculous, despite mounting scientific evidence and refuse to comprehend this counter-argument to mainstream ideas.

Cognitive Biases

  • Self Serving Bias
    People tend to take credit for things when they go right, but blame others when things go wrong. People may also exaggerate what the do right and exaggerate what others do wrong. A classic example, is housework – both individuals in a marriage often over-estimate their own contribution to housework and underestimate their partner’s contribution
  • Confirmation Bias – reaffirming an existing belief by looking for information that confirms it. For example, if someone believes coconut oil is unhealthy because of the high saturated fat content – they might search for “why coconut oil is unhealthy?” rather than a more neutral search-term such as “what are the health benefits and health risks associated with coconut oil?”

Confirmation bias and self Serving bias are often intertwined. For example, a mother who doesn’t breastfeed her children, might read about babies losing weight and becoming ill because of not getting enough volume of milk via breastfeeding. The mother globally concludes from this, that breastfeeding is bad.

Logical Fallicies

  • Questioning the messenger instead of the message (Also known as Ad Hominem)
    You attacked your opponent’s character or personal traits in an attempt to undermine their argument.
    When someone attacks a person, instead of the person’s opinion. For example, if a vegetarian is wearing leather shoes, whilst debating the morality of vegetarianism, someone might attack the vegetarian for wearing leather shoes. This however, doesn’t address the issue being debated – is vegetarianism more ethical that a diet containing meat-products?

Ad hominem attacks can take the form of overtly attacking somebody, or more subtly casting doubt on their character or personal attributes as a way to discredit their argument. The result of an ad hom attack can be to undermine someone’s case without actually having to engage with it.

Example: After Sally presents an eloquent and compelling case for a more equitable taxation system, Sam asks the audience whether we should believe anything from a woman who isn’t married, was once arrested, and smells a bit weird.

https://yourlogicalfallacyis.com/ad-hominem
  • The Strawman Argument
    Changing the subject being debated half way through a debate.
    For example, someone might say that lots of sleep isn’t good for you, because depressed people sleep more than happy people. When it is pointed out that scientific evidence shows that too little sleep, might lead to degenerative brain conditions, and give Margaret Thatcher as an example – a strawman counter argument would be to refute this, because Margaret Thatcher achieved so much. Rather than addressing whether or not sleep is good for health, the debate changes to the achievement levels of famous people who are known not to sleep 8 hours or more.

A straw man is a form of argument and an informal fallacy of having the impression of refuting an argument, whereas the proper idea of the argument under discussion was not addressed or properly refuted. One who engages in this fallacy is said to be “attacking a straw man”. Wikipedia

  • Stooping in arguments
    One major issue with debates and arguments is the willingness for one person to inflict emotional damage or to stoop more than another person.
    For example, in an office environment, where aggression is deemed inappropriate – one debator may resort to aggressiveness, whilst the other person is unwilling to become aggressive, and so let’s the aggressive individual ‘win’ the debate to prevent an esculation. When future conflicts in opinion arise, the more passive individual may not be willing to dispute or discuss anything, due to fear of an aggressive confrontation.
  • Victim Triad
    When person X complains to person Y, and person Y gives them sympathy but then person X complains to person Z and is told to look for a solution or that the sitation is not especially bad, person X will often feel like a victim of both the scenario they are complaining about and the lack of sympathy from person Z
  • Drama Triad
    If person X ridicules, bullies or is not particularly nice to person Y for a prolonged period of time – eventually person Y retaliates and tells person X to stop. Person X may feel like a victim and engage in vicious gossip about person Y for being in such a bad mood.
    Person X and person Y feel like victims in this situation.
  • Emotional Projection
    Blaming other people for your negative emotions. An individual who is subconsciously (or consciously) deemed as being weak, is usually the subject of another person’s projected emotions.

Back to Featured Articles on Logo Paperblog

Magazines