Emotional Intelligence | Stevehein.com * xx check my writing about marshmallow, delayed gratific
This is an arrticle from the San Francisco Chronicle in 1995, with my comments.
In summary, the author went to a presentation given by Goleman and then wrote about it. The presentation was part of Goleman's promotional tour for his 95 book. The author simply echoed what Golemand said, without giving any critique of it, and without checking to verify the claims Goleman was making. This is good example of how so many myths about EI got spread around the world.
|Original Article||My comments|
|It's 8 o'clock on a balmy
Monday morning, and the view from the Irvine Foundation's
17th floor offices at One Market Plaza is stupendous. The
blue surface of the bay is so still and glassy it could
be a swimming hole of bygone years. But then any notion
of playing hooky to go swimming fails the "impulse
control'' test Daniel Goleman is discussing at the far
end of the conference room.
Goleman, a psychologist and science writer, is author of the surprise best-seller ``Emotional Intelligence'' (Bantam; 352 pages; $23.95), a fascinating book about new discoveries in brain research that prove that emotional stability is more important than IQ in determining an individual's success in life. (1)
One of the highlights of the book that Goleman explains to this audience of foundation leaders, educators and grants donors is a test administered 30 years ago that Goleman calls "The Marshmallow Challenge.''
In this experiment, 4-year-old children were individually called into a room at Stanford University during the 1960s; there a kindly man gave a marshmallow to each of them and said they could eat the marshmallow right now, or wait for him to come back from an errand, at which point they would get two marshmallows. (2)
WHO ATE THEM
Goleman gets everyone chuckling as he describes watching a film of the preschoolers while they waited for the nice man to come back. Some of them covered their eyes or rested their heads on their arms so they wouldn't have to look at the marshmallow, or played games or sang to keep their thoughts off the single marshmallow and wait for the promised double prize. Others -- about a third of the group -- simply watched the man leave and ate the marshmallow within seconds.
What is startling about this test, submits Goleman, is
its diagnostic power: (3) A
dozen years later the same children were tracked down as
adolescents and tested again, and "the emotional and
social difference between the grab-the-marshmallow
preschoolers and their gratification-
The third or so who grabbed the marshmallow were "more likely to be seen as shying away from social contacts, to be stubborn and indecisive, to be easily upset by frustrations, to think of themselves as unworthy, to become immobilized by stress, to be mistrustful or prone to jealousy, to overreact with a sharp temper,'' and so forth.
THE LONE NEURON
And all because of a lone marshmallow? In fact,
Goleman explains, it's all because of a lone neuron only
recently discovered that bypasses the neocortex, where
rational decisions are made, and goes straight to the
|1. This statement is
misleading when it says the book presents discoveries in
research that "prove that emotional stability is
more important than IQ in determining an individual's
success in life." The book does not prove this at
all. Goleman does a very good job of trying to convince
us that research proves this, but this is not the same as
the research actually proving it. Besides, notice that
the author uses the term "emotional stability."
This is another term to add to the list of terms which
Goleman and others somewhat carelessly and irresponsibly
interchange with emotional intelligence. Other terms are
emotional skills, emotional maturity, emotional
knowledge, emotional literacy. Emotional stability is
obviously not the same thing as emotional intelligence.
And even if the author of this article said the research
proves that emotional intelligence is more important than
IQ this would also be blatantly wrong. For one thing no
one was doing any research on anything called emotional
intelligence and success when Goleman published his 1995
book. Any check of the academic literature will quickly
2. I have written about this elsewhere on my site, but here I will just say that in all my reading of the academic literature, no one else has said that the ability to delay gratification is an indication of innate emotional intelligence.
For example, in Mayer and Saloveys 1997 detailed definition of EI they never use either and of the following words "delay" "impulse" or "gratification". Neither, by the way, do they use the terms "emotionally stable" or "emotional stability" See my file on their model of EI
The marshmallow test is interesting, but like so much of what Goleman wrote about, it is not related to emotional intelligence.
3. Here the author misuses the word "diagnostic". This little test
I am not finished reviewing the article..What is in red is something I am going to critique later..
Steve Feb 2006
xx double check this link