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Desert Highway
Thoughtful writing authored and shared by members of of the Thinking Collaborative community to support others on the journey.

Sustaining the Journey

Research Supporting Adaptive Schools & Cognitive Coaching (Part 2)

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Thinking Collaborative


December 11, 2017

This month’s Sustaining the Journey looks at some new research that supports the work of Adaptive Schools and Cognitive Coachingsm

The second week looks at ways to fine-tune your emotional intelligence by expanding your vocabulary!

The Acknowledging Paraphrase captures the content and emotion of a speaker’s message. In particular, the first paraphrase of the PACE in the Problem Re-Solving Map is an empathy paraphrase that mirrors the speaker’s emotion, or part of the existing state. During the Cognitive Coachingsm Foundation Seminar participants complete an emotion word bank to help pinpoint the emotion by matter of degree. Seven emotions – anger, fear, disgust, happiness, surprise, contempt, sadness — are articulated with words that capture a weak, moderate, or strong emotion. The identification of those seven emotions comes from Paul Ekman’s research (2003).

Eric Barker writes about some new research in his article, “New Neuroscience Reveals Three Secrets That Will Make You Emotionally Intelligent” (Observer, 09/01/17). His article cites Lisa Feldman Barrett’s new book How Emotions Are Made: The Secret Life of the Brain, which refutes some many long-standing beliefs about emotions and the brain.

Barker writes that new research reveals that those seven emotions that we believed were hard wired and universal is a myth and that some cultures do not have language for an emotion like sadness. Other cultures have words for emotions that we did not know we had!

Barker writes that the “secret to emotional intelligence might just be the Merriam-Webster Dictionary.” One key to emotional intelligence is to granulate or finely tune your ability to talk about emotions. Being able to differentiate between being “put out,” “agitated,” and “furious” is very important. He quotes Lisa Feldman Barrett’s new book,

You’ve probably never thought about learning words as a path to greater emotional health, but it follows directly from the neuroscience of construction. Words seed your concepts, concepts drive your predictions, predictions regulate your body budget, and your body budget determines how you feel. Therefore, the more finely grained your vocabulary, the more precisely your predicting brain can calibrate your budget to your body’s needs. In fact, people who exhibit higher emotional granularity go to the doctor less frequently, use medication less frequently, and spend fewer days hospitalized for illness.

So, how might you offer a paraphrase to an individual or in a group to capture the emotion at hand? How might you fine-tune your own emotional intelligence by expanding your emotion word bank?

Please enjoy your winter break! We will be back in January!

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