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Excerpted from Working With Emotional Intelligence by Daniel Goleman. Copyright © 1998 by Daniel Goleman. Excerpted by permission of Bantam Books, a division of Random House, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.  HTML and web pages copyright © by SpiritSite.com.
 


"There is a dangerous paradox at work, however: As children grow ever smarter in IQ, their emotional intelligence is on the decline."

Daniel Goleman, 
Working With Emotional Intelligence
, Part 6

A Coming Crisis: Rising IQ, Dropping EQ

Since 1918, when World War I brought the first mass use of IQ tests on American army recruits, the average IQ score in the United States has risen 24 points, and there has been a similar rise in developed countries around the world. The reasons include better nutrition, more children completing more schooling, computer games and puzzles that help children master spatial skills, and smaller family size (which generally correlates with higher IQ scores in children).

There is a dangerous paradox at work, however: As children grow ever smarter in IQ, their emotional intelligence is on the decline. Perhaps the most disturbing single piece of data comes from a massive survey of parents and teachers that shows the present generation of children to be more emotionally troubled than the last. On average, children are growing more lonely and depressed, more angry and unruly, more nervous and prone to worry, more impulsive and aggressive.

Two random samples of American children, age seven to sixteen, were evaluated by their parents and teachers--adults who knew them well. The first group was assessed in the mid-1970s, and a comparable group was surveyed in the late 1980s. Over that decade and a half there was a steady worsening of children's emotional intelligence. Although poorer children started out at a lower level on average, the rate of decline was the same across all economic groups--as steep in the wealthiest suburbs as in the poorest inner-city slum.

Dr. Thomas Achenbach, the University of Vermont psychologist who did these studies--and who has collaborated with colleagues on similar assessments in other nations--tells me that the decline in children's basic emotional competencies seems to be worldwide. The most telling signs of this are seen in rising rates among young people of problems such as despair, alienation, drug abuse, crime and violence, depression or eating disorders, unwanted pregnancies, bullying, and dropping out of school.

What this portends for the workplace is quite troubling: growing deficiencies among workers in emotional intelligence, particularly among those newest to the job. Most of the children that Achenbach studied in the late 1980s will be in their twenties by the year 2000. The generation that is falling behind in emotional intelligence is entering the workforce today.

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