Friday, January 7, 2011

Emotional intelligence (EI), moral behaviour and stroke lesions

EI is linked to virtues like sincerity, having a good perception of one's own and other
people’s feelings, being capable of communicating our feelings to others,
being capable of controlling our emotions, self-esteem, not
giving up in the face of adversity, social awareness, being empathetic, being
satisfied with one's own lives, being confident and optimistic... (see e.g. 1 or 2 for different approches to EI)

Recent research - see "The impact of stroke on emotional intelligence"  Hoffmann e.a. (2010)  - suggest certain stroke lesions impair emotional intelligence.

The authors of the study conclude that:

"Stroke impairs EI and is associated with the three principal frontal syndrome
complexes of apathy, disinhibition and dysexecutive functioning. In addition
it was demonstrated that an extensive emotional network, at least by lesion
analysis, impairs EI. Does EI testing really matter? Neuroplasticity is an
inherent process whereby the brain shapes itself through repeated experiences.
The corresponding neural connections are strengthened and the ones less used,
weakened. The discovery of the relatively late maturation of the
prefrontal circuitry for modulation of emotion suggests a neurological window
of opportunity for helping children (or adults), for example to learn the best
EI repertoire. With the newly appreciated concept of adult neurogenesis
and ongoing neuroplasticity, one may extrapolate that this applies to people
with stroke or traumatic brain injury."

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