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Example research essay topic: Analysis Of Emotional Intelligence By Daniel Goleman - 1,326 words

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Daniel Goleman's book Emotional Intelligence is phenomenal. Rich with insight and valuable information, it provides answers to some questions that have perplexed professionals and lay persons alike for some time: Why do some people achieve far beyond what we might expect of them based on their circumstances and innate abilities, and why do some children thrive in a modem environment that seems intent on preventing them from even surviving? The answer, Goleman says, lies in emotional intelligence. He writes, "My concern is with...

emotional intelligence, abilities such as being able to motivate oneself and persist in the face of frustrations, to control impulses and delay gratification; to regulate one's moods and keep distress from swamping the ability to think; to empathize and to hope" (34). Emotional intelligence is further described as a "meta-ability, " determining how well we can use whatever other skills we have, including raw intellect (36). The book goes on to explain that it is our ability to successfully manage our emotional lives, and therefore our relationships with others and our view of ourselves, that determines our success in life. Interestingly enough, the book doesn't t focus to any extent on communication per SE, but brings us just to the door of that issue on many occasions, almost as if it is a foregone conclusion that the ability to communicate about one's emotional state, and read others effectively is critical to achieving emotional intelligence. In all of the book 's many pages about empathy, for example, very little air time is given to the fact that one needs to first establish a personal empathetic state by observing and interpreting another's distress, and then communicate that response to the distressed person. However, a specific nod is given to effective communication in the chapter, "The Roots of Empathy. " In both the statement, "Just as the mode of the rational mind is words, the mode of the emotions is nonverbal" (97), and later focus on the concept that empathy is of little value if it cannot be successfully expressed, the importance of effective communication is stressed.

In a similar fashion, in the first few pages of the book, the concept of impulse control is defined, in terms of emotional intelligence, as knowing what to say and do and when to say and do it, but again the issue of effective communication is not addressed in so many words. Later in the book in the chapter "Mind and Medicine, " the connection between physical and emotional well being is looked at, and the notion is introduced that communication plays an important part in achieving and maintaining wellness. However it can be argued that the communications that contribute to the greatest degree to wellness are likely to be effective and positive communication with oneself in addition to that with others. Medical science also offers us other important clues to the role and source of emotions; there is significant breaking scientific evidence that neuro chemistry plays a far more important role in the emotions than we once realized.

However, jumping to the conclusion that the right chemical cocktail needs to be developed to produce the perfect emotional state is premature. One study has shown, for example, that in a study of people diagnosed with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, there was virtually no difference in the level of improvement between the group that received Prozac, and the group that received behavioral modification therapy; both groups improved significantly (225). However, the book could well have been written as a companion to our course text Looking Out/Looking In, written by Ronald Adler and Neil Towne, because Goleman's book dovetails so neatly with the concepts presented in the text. Chapter Four in our text stops short of offering a comprehensive look at how emotions and communication affect each other.

Goleman's book offers a more complete understanding. In a similar fashion the authors of both books use anecdotes and examples extensively and effectively to make their points clear. There are countless ways in which the concepts from the two publications support each other. Goleman's book is an absolute gold mine of insight, information and strategies involving effective emoting, while our text offers a more broad focus on communication. I'll offer here a few of the parallels between our text and the book In Chapter Two, our text examines the relationship between communication and self concept. The book also looks at self concept as it develops in infancy.

Emotional Intelligence focuses on the relationship between infants and their caretakers, primarily their mothers, and the extent to which the two may be "attuned" to each other. In a vividly described dance between mother and infant, the mother offers precisely tuned responses to the infant s tiniest behavior (100). In a healthy attuned relationship, the infant learns important lessons in the communicative exchange: that she can cause things to happen by her behavior, and that emotional displays of a certain type bring about a satisfying response. This interaction requires a host of highly developed communication skills on the mother s part, and introduces the infant to communication competencies that will be important throughout her life. In a further focus on development of self image, the book outlines a case study of twins, in which one was felt by the mother to be "more like Dad" and therefore requiring treatment different from the treatment his twin brother received. Not given access to this "attunement dance, " the Dad-like twin hadn't, at age five, developed appropriate social (read communicative) rhythms (99).

Although the book doesn't t bring in the idea specifically of self fulfilling prophesy, it does suggest that the mother's different treatment of the two twins had been instrumental in their developing the personalities that she expected of them. In our text, Chapter Three focuses on perception and its influence on communication, and brings forward empathy as an important feature in our repertoire of communicative capabilities. The book also focuses on empathy, and goes into some length to describe the extent to which an emotionally intelligent young person has learned to read others feelings from nonverbal cues and offer appropriate cues of his own. He therefore derives the collateral benefits of being better adjusted emotionally, more popular, more outgoing and more sensitive (97). In a further reference to perception, Goleman contends that an individual's ability to cultivate optimism, a positive framework for viewing successes and failures, is a critical factor in a successful life (88). Our text, in the section titled "The Impact of Language, " makes reference to the fact that naming something (associating a word with, for example, an individual or a process) gives that person power who can call up in the minds of her listeners an image of the thing by evoking the word.

Goleman makes a similar point when he says, "As Henry Roth observed in his novel Call It Sleep, 'If you could put words to what you felt, it was your'"" (52). My experience has shown me that in fact there are few more powerful words spoken than a quiet "I" message containing an expression of the speaker's emotional state. Nonverbal communication is talked about at some length in our text. In a stunning illustration of both nonverbal communication and empathy, Goleman relates that monkeys who learned that a shock could be shut off by pressing a certain button would rush to press the button when the merely observed the grimace of pain on another monkey s face because the other monkey was being shocked (103). Goleman also suggests in many different ways that because emotion is so often revealed by nonverbal behavior, an emotionally intelligent individual has mastered both reading others nonverbal cues and displaying their own appropriately. Listening is suggested by the authors of our text to be a communication skill that is underrated by many.

In the chapter "Intimate Enemies" in the Goleman book, non defensive listening and speaking, as well as the ability to listen to on...


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