Today I Learn… I make a point of learning something new everyday. This is what I learn each day

1, Mar 21, 2011

Developing Your Emotional Intelligence, Part 16

Filed under: Emotional Intelligence — admin @ 12:08 am

The interconnection of genetics and temperament.
Genetics and temperament influence the level of one’s emotional intelligence in a variety of ways.
(1) A higher rate of activity in the amygdala is associated with timidity and fearfulness.
(2) Brain wave patterns classify individuals as tending toward cheerfulness or melancholy.
(3) Overly sensitive and fearful children often grow into shy adults.

As all parents can attest, every baby is different. Some are naturally easy and seldom cry, while others are easily upset. These early indications of temperament often stick for life — the easy and bold babies become social and popular adults, while the timid and fearful babies grow into shy, anxious and timid adults.

Genetics do affect emotional literacy. Every individual is “hard wired” with a genetic predisposition for a certain temperament. However, while temperament has a biological basis, it can be altered.

(a) Genetic response to stress:
Timid babies exhibit greater reactions to stress than bold babies; their hearts beat faster when faced with strange situations. They treat any new person or circumstance as a threat.

(b) Amygdala activity and temperament:
The amygdala of a timid baby is more easily aroused than that of a bold baby; the nervous system activates the amygdala more quickly. On the other hand, the amygdala of an outgoing baby is less excitable; the nervous system has a higher threshold before activating the amygdala.

(c) Parental influence on temperament:
Parents can moderate a timid baby’s fearfulness by settling firm limits and insisting on obedience. Parents who are lenient and indirect with timid babies tend to reinforce their fearfulness, making it more difficult for them to become outgoing adults. This is so true, as I have witnessed cases of timid babies being pampered into timid, shy and unhappy adults.

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