Though we call ourselves Homo sapiens – wise men, the fact remains that we are not some purely rational beings who always operate through clinical intelligence towards properly-weighed outcomes. Yes, day in day out, we break into a behavior, make our choices and take our decisions under the influence of emotions. They literally shape our responses to govern our lives. Thus, feelings do play the all-important role. Wait! Did you see we just substituted ‘feeling’ for ‘emotion’!By the way,though they seem synonymous, they are different. What’s the difference between emotions and feelings?In short, emotions are evolutionarily installed physiological reactions and feelings are the mental counterparts triggered by them. Oops! I guess we might miss woods for the trees.

So, we lead our lives at the intersection of intelligence and emotions. They coexist, interact, negotiate, and then combine in ‘various permutations & proportions’ to influence our behaviors and choices. And there is solid neuroscience behind it. If we look at human brain then we will realize that, conceptually speaking, we have not one but three brains.

The model of ‘Triune Brain’ was formulated in 1960s by an American neuroscientist Paul D. MacLean. While the modelhas oversimplified organizing theme, it is still famous for its excellent explanatory value.According to it, just the way humans evolved from their preceding life-forms, human brain also has three layers corresponding to our reptilian, mammalian and primate past.

These three brains work independently as well as interdependently to create the unique ‘human brain’.The lower brains are emotional, impulsive and strong. They keep sending the impulses upwards. And the upper brain, though rational and intelligent, is fragile due to its recentness on the evolutionary timeline.The upper brain, understandably, has to work with the intervening impulses coming from the lower brains.

Now, this has major repercussions for us in all the spheres we inhabit – relationships, family, community, and most importantly our ‘workplace’. Inability to orchestrate fine resonance of emotions and intelligence has serious consequences like breakups, divorces, depression, loss of productivity, and attrition.After all, you cannot see facts when you are still fighting the feelings.

This makes emotional & social intelligence the all-important skill for all of us in all contexts.Emotional & social intelligence is the science of managing self and connecting with others. It involves:

  • Learning to keep track of emotional activation inside oneself.
  • Learning to stay observant towards emotional activation inside others.
  • Learning to utilize the resultant intrapersonal & interpersonal effectiveness for aptly adapting.

It can be learnt, practiced and mastered. However, it all begins with a simple realization that we humans are not merely Homo sapiens – the wise men.


Dr. Sandeep Atre

‘Emotional & Social Intelligence’ Expert

Director – Socialigence

Note: Socialigence( self-paced video-based online course on ‘Emotional & Social Intelligence’ with content that has global relevance and presentation that is specifically customized according to the work-scenarios in India.