In this topic, you will explore human emotion and its influence on thinking. You will also have the opportunity to investigate and discuss techniques that can be used to control your emotions as you enhance your critical thinking skills. You will discover that critical thinking and emotions are inseparable−critical thinking helps you manage your emotions, and managing your emotions helps you to be a better critical thinker. The topic focuses on concepts such as the humanity of emotions, emotional intelligence, and dealing with emotional barriers.
Topic Concept #1: Emotion: On Being Human
Is it really possible for humans to “leave emotion out of it”? You can try to avoid, deny, or ignore your emotions, but those techniques never seem to work successfully. They are your first expressions at birth, and most likely your last ones before death. Some, like surprise, come and go quickly. Others, like love, can last “forever.” There are a number of theories about why people have emotions, but there is no question that they do. At times you may refer to emotions as your disposition, mood, personality, or feelings.
Fear, anger, joy, or elation−to some degree, emotions influence every aspect of your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. They make you human.
Topic Concept #2: Emotion and Critical Thinking
Make a list of some of the most important decisions you have made in life so far. Maybe it was choosing who to date or marriage, buying a car, having kids, joining the military, choosing your faith, or going to college. Now, think about it−were those decisions driven primarily (not exclusively but primarily) by logical reasoning or emotion? You may claim it was reasoning, but think about it. The question then is not “How do you keep emotion out of your thinking and decision making?” but rather “How do you manage your emotions in your thinking and decision making?” Remember, it is not an issue of presence or absence, but to what degree.
Topic Concept #3: Emotional Intelligence
A number of years ago, researchers and writers defined the concept of “emotional intelligence” as the ability to perceive, control, and evaluate emotions. Although researchers were willing to talk about and accept the need and value of intellectual competencies, often they were not as open regarding the emotional ones. Yet, growing levels of research indicated that emotional intelligence serves you further and often better in most endeavors, particularly when interacting with others. Examine the resources in the Topic 3 Supplemental Readings document to learn more about emotional intelligence. Once you have reviewed the information, take a few minutes to assess your emotional IQ.
Topic Concept #4: Emotional Barriers: Hurdles or Walls?
The text readings for this topic discuss the biases, defenses, and other barriers in people’s thinking. As the authors mention, many−maybe even most−of these barriers are related to emotions. From self-concept, to enculturation, to stressors, as with everything else in thinking, you are presented with multiple opportunities to overwhelm yourself−to run at many walls. However, you also have the choice to turn those barriers into hurdles instead of walls. The more scientists study the brain and the thinking processes, the more they find that although emotions have a tremendous influence on people’s thinking, that process also works in reverse. Quite possibly, it will move you forward.
2. Persuasive Essay Media Piece
Read “Thesis Statement” in the Persuasive Essay media piece.
3. Supplemental Readings
Review the Topic 3 Supplemental Readings to learn more about various aspects of critical thinking.
4. The Writing Process
Review “The Writing Process” media piece throughout the course to assist you with completing your persuasive essay.