Science, Art, Litt, Science based Art & Science Communication

A student asked me this Q recently:  Do scientists have low EQs?

Krishna: Emotional Quotients? 

People think scientists have very high IQs. They also think this would make them have low EQs as both are considered as contradictory. Let us now analyse and see whether this is true.

Emotionally intelligent people engage in a number of habits and behaviors that contribute to their ability to manage their own emotions and understand the feelings of others.

Scientists are told and trained to keep emotions at bay while entering their labs because they interfere with Critical thinking skills. So they can manage their own emotions while in the lab. 

Emotional Intelligence involves four major skills:

  • The ability to perceive emotions
  • The ability to reason with emotions
  • The ability to understand emotions
  • The ability to manage emotions.

These are the features of Emotionally Intelligent  people...

1. Emotionally intelligent people pay attention to what they are feeling.
2. They understand how other people feel.
3. They are able to regulate their emotions.
4. They are motivated.
5. They have great social skills
6. They are willing and able to discuss feelings with others.
7. They are able to correctly identify the underlying causes of their emotions.

Scientists can do four of the above mentioned things very well - 1, 3, 4, and 7. This is the lab phase of EI. In other words they can filter out what is bad while conducting research and dealing with certitude.

Rest of the things are important outside the labs, i.e., while communicating their work - 2, 5 and 6. This is the public phase.

It is difficult to transform from one phase to the other. When you are trained to be like a scientist, you cannot act like a good orator or actor with high social skills to connect with people. Can you reduce your critical thinking abilities and downsize your facts or manipulate numbers to give ground to others?  No, you cannot do that in science! 

If others feel bad about you mentioning a fact what can you do about it? 

There are two options for EI to succeed here: 1. Don't mention facts because that will shock others and cause distress to them  and keep people in the state of ignorance forever ( it seems Copernicus tried to do this out of fear).

2. Mention it in the way they want - i.e., reduce the effect of truth to fit into their belief system ( some scientists do this while conducting research on topics like near death experiences, souls, after life etc. but these scientists enter into a pseudo-science arena to do this) .

A true scientist cannot do both!

Yes, we can understand how others  feel about facts we brought before them - yes, we can be  empathetic.  We can use mild words. But cannot deviate from the reality even a millimeter  to make others accept it! That is why people of religion, politics and artists can succeed more than scientists when emotions of people are involved. Because others can effortlessly play with emotions by manipulating truth and reducing them to either half-truths or lies.

But how can a scientist respond in an EI way when  a  person is upset or frustrated with what s/he says?  

How can you express a fact appropriately? Oh, yes you can smile, put your hand on the other person's shoulder caringly, request him/her not to get annoyed and think about what you you say with a cool mind but... yes, there will be 'buts' here ... you have to tell the person the shocking part of it which might undo everything you did before telling him/her that! 

No amount of sugar coating will take away the bitterness of raw facts when people's minds are still lodged in ancient times! This is the fact I realized while dealing with EI when tackling pseudo-science and other absurdities.

They say it is important to have a high  EQ to be happy around people and have good relations with them. And high IQ to succeed in research! In the field of science communication, it seems, you are dead if you don't have a good EQ! That is why the field of Science Communication  looks like a grave yard most of the time!

Hmm, my dear friends,  we deal with high IQs, and medium  EQs in science.

You can analyse the situation and feelings of others but ... yes another ' but' here ... can you ask for forgiveness or apologize for mentioning the facts to maintain good equations with them? Or ask the person to forget what you say? How silly that looks!

Isn't it  important for people around a scientist to have high EQs too to understand a scientific point of view and facts?

Can you imagine about an 'otherwise'?

'Otherwise' we will have to deal with wars! 

Yes, I am very familiar with these conflict zones.

I frequently tread on dangerous arenas!

Scientists always live on the edges

Because they have EQ limitations! 

Want Proof? Revist places where these people fight

Evolutionists Vs Creationists

Microbiologists Vs antivexers

Geneticists Vs anti-GM activists

Climatologists Vs AGW skeptics

Scientists Vs people who propagate pseudo-science

Scientists Vs Religious heads

And see for yourself how the general public behaves! You will understand why EQ has the upper hand.

Think about Galileo and other earlier scientists who faced the wrath of societies they lived in because they dealt with facts!

Time hasn't changed much. It is extremely difficult to deal with both IQ and EQ at the same time.

No wonder irrationality still rules the world.


When a friend or colleague feels sad, angry or surprised reacting the same way is key to getting along with others. But a new study suggests that a knack for eavesdropping on feelings may sometimes come with an extra dose of stress. This and other research challenge the prevailing view that emotional intelligence is uniformly beneficial to its bearer.

In a study published in the September 2016 issue of Emotion, psychologists Myriam Bechtoldt and Vanessa Schneider of the Frankfurt School of Finance and Management in Germany asked 166 male university students a series of questions to measure their emotional smarts. For example, they showed the students photographs of people's faces and asked them to what extent feelings such as happiness or disgust were being expressed. The students then had to give job talks in front of judges displaying stern facial expressions. The scientists measured concentrations of the stress hormone cortisol in the students' saliva before and after the talk.

In students who were rated more emotionally intelligent, the stress measures increased more during the experiment and took longer to go back to baseline. The findings suggest that some people may be too emotionally astute for their own good, according to experts. Sometimes you can be so good at something that it causes trouble.

The study adds to previous research hinting at a dark side of emotional intelligence. A study published in 2002 in Personality and Individual Differences suggested that emotionally perceptive people might be particularly susceptible to feelings of depression and hopelessness. Furthermore, several studies, including one published in 2013 in PLOS ONE, have implied that emotional intelligence can be used to manipulate others for personal gain.

Emotional intelligence is a useful skill to have, as long as you learn to also properly cope with emotions—both others' and your own. Some sensitive individuals may assume responsibility for other people's sadness or anger, which ultimately stresses them out. They forget that they are not responsible for how other people feel.

Yes, too much of EI is bad too!

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Replies to This Discussion


Your “I can” is more important than your “I.Q”.

Comparison chart

EQ versus IQ comparison chart
Stands for Emotional Quotient (aka emotional intelligence) Intelligence Quotient
Definition Emotional quotient (EQ) or emotional intelligence is the ability to identify, assess, and control the emotions of oneself, of others, and of groups. An intelligence quotient (IQ) is a score derived from one of several standardized tests designed to assess intelligence.
Abilities Identify, evaluate, control and express emotions ones own emotions; perceive, and assess others' emotions; use emotions to facilitate thinking, understand emotional meanings. Ability to learn, understand and apply information to skills, logical reasoning, word comprehension, math skills, abstract and spatial thinking, filter irrelevant information.
In the workplace Teamwork, leadership, successful relations, service orientation, initiative, collaboration. Success with challenging tasks, ability to analyze and connect the dots, research and development.
Identifies Leaders, team-players, individuals who best work alone, individuals with social challenges. Highly capable or gifted individuals, individuals with mental challenges and special needs.
Origin 1985, Wayne Payne's doctoral thesis "A Study of Emotion: Developing Emotional Intelligence" Popular use came in Daniel Goleman's 1995 book "Emotional Intelligence - Why it can matter more than IQ" 1883, English statistician Francis Galton's paper "Inquiries into Human Faculty and Its Development" First application came in French psychologist Alfred Binet's 1905 test to assess school children in France.
Popular Tests Mayer-Salovey-Caruso Test (emotion-based problem-solving tasks); Daniel Goleman model Score (based on emotional competencies). Stanford-Binet test; Wechsler; Woodcock-Johnson Tests of Cognitive Abilities.


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