Global EQ Society Defines EQ for Us
The Global EQ Society recently gave a research paper on the definition of EQ and its importance. They said that to understand how we define EI, it is first important to understand some things about how our brains work. The evolved human brain can be split into three different parts, as illustrated by Paul MacLean’s triune brain model (1973).
Many millions of years ago we crawled out of the water in the form of reptiles. At that time we possessed only the most primitive part of our modern brain, which is the brain stem surrounding the top of the spinal cord.
This reptile brain regulates basic life functions such as breathing, as well as controlling reflex reactions and movements. Rather than thinking or learning, this primitive brain keeps basic functions in the body running smoothly, such as telling us when we are hungry or need sleep. It therefore plays an essential part in our survival. As we developed as a species, our brain grew outwards, forming what is now known as the limbic brain (also called the mammalian or emotional brain). This unconscious part of our brain is our emotional center, housing our values, beliefs and attitudes and generating the emotions that they trigger.
In more recent times on the evolutionary timescale, we grew our third and final brain. Known as the neo-cortex, it contains the prefrontal cortex, which is responsible for thought (the thinking brain). With the application of modern techniques of brain imaging, scientists have been able to start measuring activity in different parts of the brain at any one time. Perhaps not surprisingly, our unconscious, emotional brain is much more active than our logical, thinking brain. Estimates show that up to 6 billion nerve cells are firing in any one second in our emotional brain, compared to somewhere around the surprisingly small figure of 100 neuronal stimulation in our logical brain.
What’s more, as our brain grew outwards, it developed extensive neuronal connections leading from our emotional brain to our logical brain (and to the rest of our body). In other words, our emotional brain is sending messages to our logical brain and around the body every second. We have also developed neuronal connections from our thinking brain to our emotional brain, but as the brain grew outwards, these connections are much fewer in number.