Do You Have The Emotional Intelligence Of Frankenstein?

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Do you:

  • Growl at people?
  • Have a tantrum and stamp your boots when frustrated?
  • Lash out?
  • Take things personally?
  • Ruin parties just by appearing?

Or, are you more like Dr. Frankenstein?

  • Are you uncommunicative about your plans?
  • Are you sensitive to the issues involved in introducing a new way to do things like creature building?
  • Do you refuse to listen to good advice from your assistant Inga?
  • Do angry villagers storm your office door?

Perhaps, you need to learn a little about Emotional Intelligence.

In his book Emotional Intelligence, Daniel Goleman discusses a number of helpful topics. One of them is “emotional memory” and how it relates to the amygdala. Frankenstein may have had trouble using parts of his brain, but the amygdala wasn’t one of them.


Often called the “lizard brain”, it’s responsible for our fight or flight impulse. It’s where the emotions associated with memories are stored. This often unconsciously leads us to react in ways that are counterproductive. Something happens that triggers a memory, and our lizard brain kicks. Sometimes this causes us to react without the use of much, if any, reasoning.  Frankie did NOT like fire. He might not have been able to process why he had such a strong reaction to it, but he knew he didn’t like it.

However, even if we don’t know why we react as we do, knowledge is power. Having power over our impulses is how we keep from destroying walls as we flee or terrorize cubicle dwellers. Goleman has suggested five main elements that make up emotional intelligence:

  1. “Knowing one’s emotions” – Self-awareness
  2. “Managing emotions” – Self-regulation
  3. “Motivating oneself”
  4. “Recognizing emotions in others.” – Empathy
  5. “Handling Relationships” – Social skills

By learning more about these skills and how to use them, we can become less like Frankenstein and his creator. There are a number of books and workshops available on the subject. ALA will be having a workshop in Marietta, Ohio on April 17th. For more information, please visit the workshop page on our site.

Also, if you’re interested in reading more about Goleman’s explanation of how the amygdala works in setting our emotional memories, it’s contained in Emotional Intelligence on pages 20-22. I’m sure Dr. Frankenstein would have enjoyed it.

You can also go to Goleman’s site for more information on EI.





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