Emotions as the Foundation of Intellect

Forrest Christian Reviews - Books 2 Comments

From The First Idea: How symbols, language and intelligence evolved from our primate ancestors to modern humans by Stanley I. Greenspan and Stuart G. Shanker:

…a baby first learns “causality” not through pulling a string to rign a bell or other similar behavior, as Piaget thought, but through the exchange of emotional signals (I smile and you smile back). Therefore, this early lesson is emotional and cogniive at the same time. At each stage, new cognitive skills are learned from emotional experiences. Even high-level symbolic and reflective thining employs emotional awareness as part of its defining characteristics. [51]

Comments 2

  1. My first thought about this is how does this intersect with autistics? Many of them have off-the-scale “intelligence” along with a corrupted ability to process and/or interpret and/or display emotion.

  2. Post

    They (or one of them) have done some interesting work with austistics. Autistics can have amazing abilities but still have a hard time integrating that knowledge into coherent patterns. The patterns are not emotionally associated.

    The great example of functioning autism, the agricultural professor out west who has built more humane slaughterhouses, probably illustrates this. She has a “hugging machine” (it’s a modified device used for calming cattle in shoots) that allows her to experience warmth and closeness in memory. It seems to allow her to attach warm loving emotions to memories of her mother and family. She may have been able build affective connections by creative means that were developmentally difficult through normal channels. There was an interesting New Yorker (and controversial) on this by the “The Woman Who Mistook Her Husband for a Hat” guy.

    I’ll read more and let you know.

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