Emotions and Intelligence

@AidaLily (1450)
United States
September 25, 2012 10:40am CST
I have noticed something in my overall observation of people and to me it gives a bit of insight to why some people can never agree on anything. However, I believe it also goes to show a certain perceptive of the person both negative and positive. One of the most prominent things is the relationship between emotions and intelligence. People who think logically are seen as cold hearted or as they do not understand when by a logical standpoint they do and their logic makes sense. It also seems that logical people are seen as more intelligent than those who "wear their heart on their sleeve". I am not talking about those that genuinely care for people, but those that make decisions based only on a central emotion or the current emotions they are feeling. People who tend to be emotional in conversations or situations that involve a more logical approach tend to come off as less intelligent. Now within this mindset of emotions, you must also notice that people are not thinking rationally. In a state of non-rational thinking a person can have a Masters Degree in Nuclear Physics and still come off as unintelligent or not knowledgeable about anything. In this regard it would be as though emotions are in fact a key indicator to someone's intelligence and most (at times including myself) will write these people off as those with little intelligence. On the flip side of this is logic. People who think in terms of logic tend to be seen as more cold and by the emotional ones as not knowing what they are talking about. However when you add the levels of intelligence in, you will notice that those who tend to speak logically also are more knowledgeable on a subject. They do not act as rashly or come off as less intelligent unlike those whose emotions seem to be tied into their intelligence. Now for everything there is a happy medium area except when you are talking in certain types of discussions. It is those discussions however that you can truly see the difference when it comes to this theory of emotions close to equaling a bit less intelligence and logic close to equaling more. Do you believe that when a person runs on emotions alone that their intelligence seems to diminish? That they do not think as well as they would should they be calm and rational? Do you believe that someone who speaks logic is more rational and comes off as intelligent rather than the mixed up and confused emotional wreck some portray themselves as?
6 responses
@crossbones27 (19233)
• Redlands, California
25 Sep 12
This is just my opinion. I personally like when people show a little emotion. This way I can tell if they are being genuine or not. Maybe not to the point were they are showing to much emotion that it takes away from their point. All though I can understand that if people are truly passionate about something that the may go overboard. I also understand just because people show some emotion does not mean they are right, they just think they are right. At least if they are logical we can still have a logical discussion. If someone is poker faced all the time about these discussions they may be making more sense overall, but how do I know if they are not just manipulating me? How do I know they are not just trying to get me to believe in something they say would benefit me or my family but it never really will? I know common sense usually applies, but some people are just excellent salespeople and can get you believe most anything. That's why people should always go and take some time and truly think about what that person said. That way the next time you run into the person, you will know that they where trying to get one over on you. So I guess you can say less emotion makes you seem more intelligent but there are many things in this world that are not what they appear to be. So that is the way I always try to look at things. Myself I would rather be considered a true a human being and considered less intelligent, than be considered real intelligent and also be considered a heartless scumbag. I do feel as I get older that I am just feeling more numb about the way the work works and I do not know if that is a good thing or a bad thing.
• Redlands, California
26 Sep 12
I definitely think these excellent sales people have the biggest advantage out of everyone. I once has a friend who could wiggle his way out of everything because he had this wonderful gift of charm and sense of humor and could talk for days. While he was a good guy you do not want to make these types of people angry because they can do some serious damage by manipulating others into believing anything they say. I sometimes think these people are better off than being as smart as Albert Einstein. Anyway its good that you work with numbers. I heard some scientist think you could figure out how the whole universe works because it all has to do with numbers. I do not know if that has anything to do with this discussion but I figured I would give you some food for thought. So keep looking at how things work in terms of numbers.
• Australia
26 Sep 12
@AidaLily: That salesman you're talking about is most likely an Extraverted Sensate Feeler, who balances the openness of the Extravert with a good grasp of the facts and figures on the product (Sensate) and the warmth of the Feeler, a devastating combination for a salesman to have. Paragraph 2&3 - you really are clever, aren't you lol. @Bones: Einstein was once asked if it would be possible to represent Beethoven's Fifth Symphony in numbers, and his reply (paraphrased), "Of course. But what would be the point?" Facts and logic can only take you so far. Lash
• Redlands, California
26 Sep 12
I think I get what you are saying Lash. That even if you have all the facts, and you look at everything in a logical way. That does not mean we always use the facts and our own logic to its full advantage. I think our current President has that problem but I also think many of us have that problem.
@savypat (20247)
• United States
26 Sep 12
I think that there emotional reactions to almost any subject. Within that emotional response usually only one point of view is expressed. There are certianly times when this is the right response, but it is very limiting and the goal tends to be very narrow. An intellectial response on the other hand is often considered cold and uncaring. If one is lucky one can control one's emotions enough to recognize that response and still look beyond it in a reasonable way assesing the problem in an intellectial manner thereby coming up with an answer that is both caring and intelligent.
• Australia
27 Sep 12
Balance, the aim of every good psychological model. What you describe is the ideal end outcome that Jung saw in his study of these aspects of the human psyche. Lash
• Redlands, California
27 Sep 12
I have to agree, I think a lot of peoples actions have to do with reacting to the situation instead of taking their time and being thoughtful. If I remember a certain person already brought up that point in a discussion. Thanks Lash I will try to remember your reactionary argument you brought up a while back. It is a good test next time I get over emotional. Also well said Savypat.
• Australia
26 Sep 12
You are echoing here one of the basic principles of Jungian Psychological Type, the balance between Thinking and Feeling. Feeling, incidentally, is not only emotions, it is values, and the Feeling type wears his/her emotions and values on his/her sleeve while the Thinker tends to keep them inside. This is particularly so in introverts. All people have a mixture of both, and Type is decided on which of each of two pairs of elements is dominant. The others are Extraversion/Introversion, and Sensate (factual, pragmatic) and Intuitive. The Myers-Briggs model adds a fourth pairing which Jung did not have, that is Judgment/Perception, the difference between making decisions and gathering information. The sort of cold-blooded Thinking you describe usually goes with what the Myers-Briggs people call the ESTJ type, about which the original authors of this theory said, "Social life incidental, emotional life accidental". (They also have a very high correlation with traditional religion, conservative politics, and bean-counting.) It is a mistake to suggest that these people don't have values or emotions, it's just that they give less importance to them than logic and factuality. Feeling types give primary importance to their values, but this doesn't mean they can't deal with logic just as well as Thinkers, it simply means they utilise that logic to support their values. Jung believed that these characteristics are innate, and I find his argument compelling, in which case much of the clash between belief systems is intransigent because it is two completely opposed personalities and belief systems clashing. Incidentally, the standard IQ tests have many failings, although, as Abraham Maslow said, they have validity within the very proscribed parameters of the educated middle class for which they were developed, and one of those failings is that they measure primarily the ability to deal with instrumental logic and facts, not with values and emotions. Thus it is clear that embracing emotions is not a sign of lower intelligence, it is a manifestation of different priorities. I am the complete opposite of the type I mention above, being an INFP. I also score quite high on that measure of instrumental logic, the IQ test. I can be as logical as the next person in "neutral" issues, but if my values are engaged they will always take precedence over the logical and pragmatic if that is possible; sometimes it is not possible; sometimes the logic is so clear that the value (situationally in most cases) has to give way, usually with regret. E.g., sometimes the "value" of biodiversity simply has to make way for "development", but only after every possible alternative has been exhausted. The Thinker might agree with the "value" of biodiversity, but will come to a pragmatic decision far more easily and quicker than will a Feeler. I hope this adds to the discussion. Lash
@AidaLily (1450)
• United States
26 Sep 12
It does add to the discussion. I would have to agree with the point that is is a manifestation of different priorities to an extent. I say that because there is the possibility that the priorities could be the same. The Thinker is viewing it logically while the Feeler is viewing the same priority in a more emotional way. As you said it is not saying that the Thinker doesn't have feelings, but the Thinker does in fact come off as very unfeeling and very cold. There is a logical explanation for pretty much everything, however just thinking logically would drive a normal person insane. In that aspect you have those that say a genius is insane. A genius based on such tests as an IQ test has a very high intelligence level based on that score. However, if that genius tends to think only logically he would be considered insane by the general populous. Perhaps rather than intelligence the time it would take a Thinker versus a Feeler to come up with a particularly logical solution to the problem or issue. However, there are times when the Feeler is too wrapped up in the emotions that logic will never come into the equation.
• Australia
26 Sep 12
Introversion has a major effect on how we present. Many Introverted Thinkers have their feelings deeply hidden, but they are there. They can come across as cold and calculating as a result. Lash
@pgiblett (6595)
• Canada
27 Sep 12
What you say is certainly interesting. Why would you suggest that "people who think logically are seen as cold hearted". I think this is an image that suggest all logical people are like Volcans (from the Star Trek TV series) and have no emotions. to think that is simply illogical. Logic is an essential thing that differentiates humans from many other species, and by the way in this regard we all have a logical mind no matter how intelligent we are. Personally speaking I believe myself to both be very logical and very emotional. I may not cry at the tear-jerking movie everyone else does; but there are moments that drive me to tears. I am not sure that emotional people come off as less intelligent. The issue is in the backing that you give your argument. On the surface the logical argument brings out a multitude of evidence as to why something should or should not be done whereas the emotional argument relies on tugging the heart-strings to win the argument. There is no reason why a combined approach cannot be used, evidence with logical reasoning combined with an emotional overtone, potentially the best of both worlds. Logic is not cold, but it is factual and there is a difference. Does your intelligence diminish when emotions alone are used? I do not see why that has to be the case, change the situation and your logical approach can be as strong as it ever was.
@AidaLily (1450)
• United States
27 Sep 12
I was saying that logical people are seen that way especially in conservations in which people seem to only be able to think with their emotions. An example of this would be the attack and killing of the U.S. ambassador Chris Stevens in Libya. It is/was a sad situation and it is logical people would feel upset about it. However, it would seem that logic goes out the window when you have people who want war because of it, who want to blame all muslim people because of one group, etc. In this situation, I would be seen as "cold hearted" because logically speaking I don't believe it would be a good idea go to war or blame every muslim in existence for one group. I believe in punishing those who have done wrong (unless they were following their country's laws) or asking for some kind of justice only on those involved in the crime. I have no feelings on the matter besides what may be considered the bare minimum as logically speaking the world is a very dangerous place and getting worked up over it all the time will lead to stress and other such potentially dangerous health issues. It is still a more logical approach, not the most logical but more than the emotional response. In a more emotional response some people feel as though we have to go to war and other such destructive reasoning based on emotions and they do not look for facts. When nothing is done instantaneously, the people who are super emotional about it start spouting out random things and disrespecting a large group of people with insults that are either hypocritical or not based on any sort of logical or factual based argument thus making the emotional people seem less intelligent. It is only in some situations where it seems that strong emotional conversation diminishes a person's ability to think logically and come up with such a response. In some cases there is a balance that can be reached, but in a lot of cases it seems logic and facts, tend to run out the window when emotions are bought into the equation. Therefore, in these such cases, it would seem that the level of intelligent diminishes the more emotional someone gets.
@subhojit10 (7384)
• India
25 Sep 12
Well thanks a ton for such an intelligent discussion. I often people that most of the people take decisions in their life out of emotions without giving a serious thought on it. No doubt we all are emotional by nature but whenever it comes to taking the important decisions in life, we need to look from all the angles and give our conclusion. What say?
@AidaLily (1450)
• United States
25 Sep 12
I find that to be more true as well. I think people are so emotionally driven that they ignore the logic in making their decisions. Some decisions are emotional ones, but at the same time a logical approach is what is necessary even then. If someone is trying to decide whether or not to decide their house, they may keep it for sentimental even though they can no longer take care of it. The emotionally driven response is to keep the house, while the logical response is to sell the house and possibly take pictures for memories to avoid going into debt to try and keep up the house. It would involve intelligence in a sense that someone emotionally driven would probably not stop and figure out how much it would cost to keep the house or ignore it so when people ask it is almost like the emotionally driven person doesn't have an understanding of what they are getting into. They just know they want to keep the place. A logical person may look at all the pros and cons and make what people would find to be an informed, educated, well thought, and more intelligent decision. Talking to both of these people, one would assume that the logical person is the more intelligent and sensible person and that perhaps the emotional one should be educated more before making decisions.
@CarlHalling (3629)
• United Kingdom
11 Nov 12
The Thinker - This face with its piercing eyes seems to radiate a purely cerebral form of intelligence.
Intelligence is a very difficult quality to measure; I've not taken an IQ test for aeons, but I believe various forms of intelligence are involved, verbal, mathematical, spatial and so on. Cerebrality, logic, rationality; I believe these to be different from intelligence as such; and indeed they do imply a purely cerebral, or mind-based intelligence. From my perspective, a purely cerebral intelligence is deficient: a person who does not for one reason or another "think" emotionally as well as rationally can be in danger of seeing things - while perhaps well - then only partially. Intelligence in my view should not cease at the purely rational, but should embrace the emotional; and yes, the spiritual. Then of course there are high forms of creative/artistic intelligence, or genius, which are as I see it deeply dependent on emotional intelligence; and even spiritual intelligence. Artists do have a reputation for possessing powerful emotions; and sometimes also considerable cerebral brilliance too: the two can combine to world-shaking effect. I don't think it's possible to for example compose a truly great poem, or pience of music, or sing or act well without the possession of enormous emotional intelligence. Of course, in the cases of artists, there is always the danger of this aspect of intelligence running rampant; and so you have the wild and tortured artists of legend. But for me the two forms of intelligence are impoverished when functioning separately...but together can create miracles.