>> ALLEN: I'm Peter Allen. And I'm the director of Google University. And Meng asked to me
introduce Daniel Goleman to you. Daniel Goleman presents a challenge to us at Google. Having
recently been hired here myself and having worked on hiring others, I know how sharply
we focus on the quantitative evidence of intellect. We look hard at grades and standardized test
scores because we believe they demonstrate ability and predict success at Google. Now,
IQ matters, of course, but Daniel Goleman has based his career as a writer and psychologist
on the argument that IQ is only a part of what makes people succeed in their work and
personal lives and not necessarily the most important part either. In his books, Dr. Goleman
addresses the role that emotions such as anger, humor, anxiety, optimism, melancholy, and
happiness play in all aspects of our lives. He argues also that people can learn how to
manage these emotions and that we therefore have the power to transform our relationship
with our emotions and through them the relationships we have with our colleagues, our families,
and our friends. Perhaps most interestingly, he also argues that relationships have the
power to mold not only human experience, but also human biology. In his belief that the
power of education and in his belief in the power of education that--in his belief that
positive characteristics like empathy are innate, Dr. Goleman reveals that he is fundamentally
an optimist. What distinguishes Daniel Goleman from old line proponents of positive thinking,
however, is his grounding in psychology and neuroscience. Armed with a Ph.D. in psychology
from Harvard and a first-rate journalism background at the New York Times, Dr. Goleman has authored
half a dozen books that explore the physical and chemical workings of the brain and their
relationships with what we experience as everyday life. His most recent book is called "Social
Intelligence: The New Science of Human Relationships." In addition to his writing, he has also played
important roles in numerous organizations, including the Collaborative for Academics,
Social and Emotional Learning and the Mind & Life Institute. The American Psychological
Association has given him its career achievement award for journalism and he's also been elected
a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Dr. Goleman's talk
today draws on recent data from cognitive and brain science to show how emotional intelligence
adds to the IQ intelligence of which most of us today here are more familiar. He will
show that skills such as self-awareness, emotional mastery, motivation, empathy, and social effectiveness
have a greater impact than raw intelligence on career success, outstanding individual
performance, leadership, and the creation of successful teams. I'm feeling myself become
smarter, more empathetic and more self-aware already, and I'm delighted to introduce Daniel
Goleman to Google and Google to Daniel Goleman. Let's hear what he has to say.
>> GOLEMAN: Thank you, Peter, for that very kind introduction. But, first, a disclaimer,
just hearing about this is not going to make anybody more emotionally and socially intelligent.
It might interest you in pursuing some of this. What I want to do is build the case
that these soft skills have hard value in an environment, of work environment like this.
Even though the culture of tech may not necessarily explicitly value things like empathy or other
elements of emotional intelligence, implicitly, this is what makes people highly effective
no matter what they do. And I want to give you the neuroscience behind this and some
concepts that might help you rethink what the elements of success are in the work place.
So here is the question. What is the relationship between raw intellect, IQ, and the other metrics
of IQ, and emotional intelligence? So, by emotional intelligence, I mean how we handle
ourselves, how we handle our relationships, the soft side ability. I'm going to argue
that, because of the way the brain is structured, these soft skills have hard consequence because
they are catalytic for whatever other abilities we have. They allow us to make the best use
of them, to apply them, and to leverage them. Now, here's an interesting way of thinking
about it. If you were to do a scatter plot of a large population sample and you did IQ
against emotional intelligence, they're roughly independent, so, you get a kind of a random
distribution. Now, if you take this pool and you map it on Google, or any other company
that hires, that places a premium on cognitive abilities, this is the total sample. What
you've done is really interesting because you're skimming the top. Okay, let's say this
is IQ of 150 or whatever, it's very high. What you have now done is to make a very small
difference for IQ, a very little variation in the population at the very top and a very
large difference for emotional intelligence. That means that whatever emotional intelligence
contributes to success in an environment like this, it matters more per unit than IQ does.
So there's actually a floor effect here for IQ. You wouldn't expect that IQ alone is going
to help you be highly effective in this work environment because it's not that much different
from every other IQ on the floor. Interesting. I was having a conversation with a guy on
a plane next to me once. He turned out to be on the board of trustees at MIT. And he
said, "You know, the real job of the board of trustee at a place like MIT is fundraising.
And we did an internal study of alumnus of MIT to see who are our biggest donors and
what did they look like as students." And he said, "You know what we found? It wasn't
the quants, the 4.0s, the people who were absolutely brilliant all the way through school
who ended up being so successful that they could give us hundreds of millions of dollars.
It was people who were good enough to get in and good enough to stay and then get through,
who had other abilities already. They were team captains, club presidents. They were
starting their own businesses on the side already as undergrads. Those were the people
who became the founders and heads of companies that grew to be big enough that they could
afford to become our biggest donors at MIT." When I was at the graduate school at Harvard,
they did a study, interesting study of how well your graduate school entry exams predicted
success in that career. They did that in the business school, medical school, law school,
ed school. And does anybody care to hazard a guess as to what the correlation is between,
say, GMATs, GREs and career success? >> [INDISTINCT]
>> GOLEMAN: Negative... what? >> Low.
>> GOLEMAN: Low. Random. It's random. It's zero, because graduate school entry exams
are designed to predict one thing only--that is, how well you'll do your first year in
graduate school. They do that very well. The predictive power of IQ for career success
that's been found in hundreds of studies is somewhere around 0.2. That means that it accounts
for four percent of the variation. It's a very small factor. But to look at it in another
way in an organization like this, I'd like to introduce you to a concept that was developed
by a professor of mine in Harvard named David McClelland that's a notion of a competence.
He said--back in the ‘70s, he wrote what was then a very radical paper in the main
psychology journal--he said, “If you want to hire the best person for a job, any job,
don't look at their GPA, don't look at their IQ, don't look at their personality test.
Instead, begin by looking in your own organization people who now or in the past held that job,
the one the person is applying for, identify it by any metric that makes sense, the top
10 percent, the star performers, compare them to people who are only average in the systematic
method. Identify the traits or competencies or abilities you find in the stars and not
in the average and hire people who look like the stars.” That's called competence modeling
now. It's a very widespread methodology among world class organizations who use it to find
out who should be—who should we be hiring, who should we be promoting, what should we
help people develop so that we can be successful as a company. When I wrote a follow-up book
to Emotional Intelligence, I looked at a couple of hundred of those models and I was interested
basically in one thing only, and that was how many of the competencies that have been
developed, identified independently by companies around the world and in many different sectors
are purely cognitive, IQ-like abilities, and how many mix cognitive and emotional capacities?
And those are the emotional intelligence ones. And I found that for jobs of all kinds at
basically at every level, these emotional intelligence competencies were more important
in predicting who would become outstanding. That ratio was about two to one. The higher
you went in the organization, the more it matters. So, for top leaders, you look at
a competence model of the abilities that we've identified in outstanding leaders. Here, 80
to 90 percent of them are in the emotional intelligence domain. IQ turns out to be a
threshold ability--particularly, of course, here with Google, it's explicitly so. You
need to be smart enough to get in the game. Once you're in the game however, what is it
that is going to allow you to become an emergent leader and going to allow you to become the
person who is most effective? And, here, it turns out these other abilities start to factor
in a major way. These are what are called distinguishing competencies. And I'll read
you the top six distinguishing competencies among star performers. This is for individual
contributors in the tech sector. And is kind of an aggregate of studies that's been done
in many different tech companies. And you can tell me if it makes any sense here. The
number one competence that distinguishes stars from average is the singular drive to achieve,
to improve performance, to make whatever I'm working on better, faster, quicker, more powerful,
more effective. And the sign of this competence is that people who have it have very high
internal standards for success. They're not really driven by what other people say matters;
it's that they themselves know how good something should be. And they hold themselves to that
standard. You work long hours to achieve that standard. It's very compelling. People who
have this like to keep score. You like metrics. You want to know where you are now: Are you
better or worse? How much better can you be? Well, doing this help make it better. Another
sign of this is setting challenging goals. People who are innovative have this ability.
Does this make any sense? Yeah? It resonates. Okay, that's number one. Number two is impact
or influence. And this is being able to make persuasive arguments, being able to hold your
own in a debate, being able to marshal data well, to tailor a presentation to the audience
when, you know, if people are starting to glaze over one thing, you can shift to another
mode, maybe tell and compelling story or something like that. Does that make difference? Do you
think that manifests here? Not that important? I'm not going to ask for a vote, just you
can nod or no. >> [INDISTINCT]
>> GOLEMAN: Say again? >> I think it's more consistent across the
[INDISTINCT]. >> GOLEMAN: More consistent? It's more a standard?
>> Yeah. >> GOLEMAN: Okay, so it's not a distinguishing
competency here at Google, necessarily. That could well be. This is for tech, generally.
Google is, you know, in a sense, a universal on its own. Not exactly an alternative reality,
but quite close to it. Number three has been called "conceptual thinking," but it really
means pattern recognition, seeing what matters, being able to pick up in dare and patterns
what's crucial, to make essential connections to identify the underlying problems and fix
them, to recognize what will make a difference, what can I do that will make a difference.
Number four is analysis--breaking problems down systematically, anticipating obstacles,
seeing the implication within a complex system of making a change here, how it will ripple
through and ramify over there, for example, drawing logical conclusions. By the way, number
three and four are purely cognitive abilities. Number one and two are within the emotional
intelligence domain. The next two are also within the emotional intelligence domain.
Taking on challenges without being told to do so, being persistent in tackling problems
and in being self-confident, trusting your own judgment, for example. Or my friend, the
guy who graduated at 12, he was like supremely self-confident, oh my god. It also means liking
to operate independently, not being told what to do, but having freedom and autonomy. Now,
these may be more normative than distinguishing. It would be—it's an interesting question
here at Google where you have kind of the cream of the cream to look around at the culture
and look around if you can identify what makes someone outstanding in any way, what the qualities
are here that make people outstanding versus people who are outstanding in other universes,
but kind of just normal every day here. And I'm not claiming to know that, but I think
you would be using the same methodology I'm telling you about. So, let's look at the neural
basis of emotional intelligence versus IQ just to give you a sense of why this matters.
And if you humor me, this is like a side view of the brain, just go along with that, okay?
The brain of all from the bottom up in evolution, and the brain is basically an elegant machine
for survival and has been shaped by what works in survival, it turned out that among mammals,
once we got to mammals, you needed to have a brain that registered emotions because emotions
have in evolution the primary survival function. There's one structure in the midbrain that's
called the amygdala, which has the brain's [INDISTINCT], has a privileged position in
perception. Everything we see in every moment goes mostly to the sensory cortex, but a small
part of it goes to the amygdala, not to other structures but to the amygdala, which scans
it to see is this a threat. That's a constant question in evolution: Is this a threat? Or,
more generally, the amygdala has presumably been structured in answer to one critical
question for survival: Do I eat it or does it eat me? This is not a question you want
to go Google, because in evolution, if you do, it just ate you. And so you didn't pass
on this design of brain to us. The amygdala is a hair trigger. In other words, it would
rather be safe than sorry. It gets a very fuzzy picture of what's going on, but if it
thinks it has a match, it has the ability to trigger what is called the HPA axis, the
hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis. This is--this creates a rush of stress hormones,
it changes the entire way the brain prioritizes information. Once this axis has been triggered,
it means that, for example, if the emotion is fear, everything relevant to what's scaring
us is what preoccupies attention. It captures attention. It changes the hierarchy within
the memory so that we remember and think about only what pertains to the thing that is scaring
us at the moment. And it does all the other things of the classic stress response. It
takes--it sends energy to the limbs so we can run or fight and flee or freeze, whatever.
So, it's the classic fight-flight-freeze trigger. The problem is that the amygdala functions
today the way it always has, and we don't operate in a world now that has actual physical
threats. We have--we operate in a complex symbolic reality where what we face are complex
symbolic threats. He is not treating me fairly. She is dissing me. Whatever it may be, these
threats today trigger the HPA axis, the amygdala. And, so, when we are caught in the grip of
a distressing emotion, it means that attention narrows and fixates and we get into a state
which is suboptimal for most of life in ways I'll unpack for you. Now, one of the things
that the amygdala does is create--when it really thinks something is urgent--create
what is called an "amygdala hijack," the signs of which are three. We have a very strong
emotional response. It's very sudden and intense, and you do something or say something--or
send an email that when that that settles, you really regret. Right? That is a sign of
an "amygdala hijack." And it happens to really intelligent people because we get really dumb
when the amygdala takes us over, because we're being run by our fears and our anger, by emotional
repertoires that were learned unconsciously in childhood. We become very childlike. Now,
the good news is when we have an impulse from the amygdala that goes up to an area just
behind the forehead, which is the prefrontal cortex. How did that happen? Did you do that?
It's okay. No problem. Sorry. >> He's nothing but trouble.
>> GOLEMAN: You know the guy. So, the prefrontal cortex is very important. It's the brain's
executive center. The PFC draws together information from all over the brain. So when you're having
amygdala hijack, like these guy is not treating me right, I'm so pissed off, I could slug
him--I'm sure it never happens here, but just hypothetically, if it ever did--that impulse
goes up to the executive center and it scans all other incoming information. It kind of
Googles the brain very quickly and it tells and it comes up with that crucial fact you
need to know now, like, "Oh, but this is your boss."
"So, I'm not going to slug him. I'm going to smile and change the subject." And that
is exactly the difference between cortical, purely cortical abilities, which operates
solely in the top of the brain, the neocortex--that's where the IQ resides--and emotional intelligence
abilities, which integrate the executive center and the emotional centers because it's not
just the amygdala, it's an extended network through the hippocampus and other elements.
The amygdala is very widely connected throughout the brain. So, when I talk about emotional
intelligence at the neural level, I'm talking about this cortical, neocortical, actually
prefrontal, subcortical integration of abilities. Now, there are four parts to emotional intelligence.
There are four different domains. The first two--oh, I forgot something really important.
Prefrontal cortex, while I'm on the subject, it turns out that when the amygdala hijacks,
it drives and takes over the right side of the prefrontal cortex. If you do a brain imaging
when someone is having a hijack, someone is really scared or angry, you see a lot of activity
in the amygdala and related circuits and a lot of activity on the right. When we're feeling
good, we're having a great day, we're... good energy, I could take on anything, very enthusiastic
and so on, you see a very different picture in the prefrontal cortex, the right is quiet
and the left is hardly active. Each of us--it's been discovered by a fellow named Richard
Davidson at the University of Wisconsin--each of us has a resting ratio of right to left
activation that predicts quite accurately our mood range day to day. There's a bell
curve for it. Most of us are in the middle. We have good days, we have bad days. If you're
very far to the right, it means that you are probably clinically depressed or have an anxiety
disorder. If you're very far to the left, things just roll off you. You hardly ever
have a bad day. And what the left does that the right does not do is have an inhibitory
circuit for the amygdala. So, the amygdala sends out these thoughts that could become
what are called depressogenic thoughts, something really upsetting or that could provoke an
anxiety or make you really angry. And the left prefrontal cortex basically says, "Shut
up. I don't want to... I don't need to hear that now," and it clams the amygdala. So,
people who have this ability have more good days, more high energy, more self-confidence,
more enthusiasm and better moods, basically. So, the first two elements of emotional intelligence
have to do with self mastery. And they are based--this circuitry is the neuro platform.
The first of these is self-awareness--knowing what I'm feeling, knowing why I'm feeling
it. Self-awareness is very important for decision-making, particularly personal decision-making, but
also business or even technical decision-making for quite an interesting reason. There was
a study done by a man named Antonio Damasio. He is now at UCS. He's an expert on this circuitry.
And because he is an expert on this circuitry, a very bright corporate lawyer who unfortunately
had a prefrontal brain tumor which was operated on quite successfully and early but during
surgery they snipped the connection between the amygdala and the PFC. This lawyer went
to see Damasio because his life was collapsing. And Damasio tested him and couldn't see anything
wrong. The lawyer's life had collapsed in this way. He seemed to be able to function
just as well after surgery as before, but he couldn't keep his job. He lost his job.
He couldn't keep any job. His wife left him. He lost his house. He ended up living in his
brother's spare bedroom. And, in despair, he goes to Damasio. He says, "Well, you're
an expert on the circuitry, can you figure out what's wrong with me?" Damasio gives him
a battery of neuropsychological tests. Nothing wrong. Attention, memory, just as good as
before surgery. IQ was very high still after surgery as it was before. But he couldn't
keep a job. And then Damasio got a clue. He asked him this question: When shall we have
our next appointment? He realized that the lawyer could give him the rational pros and
cons of every hour for the next two weeks, but he didn't know which was best. In other
words, Damasio argues, when we have a thought, our emotional centers valence it for us. When
we're making a decision, our emotional centers prioritize for us. He no longer had that ability.
Damasio argues that in order to make a good decision--you know, which strategy should
we follow, should our team go for plan A or plan B, how does this guy compared to the,
you know, X other guys I've dated, should I marry this guy or not, should I leave this
job for another--all of those decisions depend on our ability to draw on the wisdom of the
emotions. The wisdom of emotions is not just a pretty phrase. It actually refers to something
that goes on very low in the brain, in the basal ganglia, its base brain. The basal ganglia
absorbs everything we do in life, every situation and extracts decisions rules. That worked,
that didn't work. When I said that, I really blew it. When I said that, it really worked.
Our life wisdom on any topic is stored in the basal ganglia. The basal ganglia is so
primitive that it has zero connectivity to the verbal cortex. It can't tell us what it
knows in words. It tells us in feelings, has a lot of connectivity, the emotional centers
of the brain and to the gut. And it tells us this is right or this is wrong as a gut
feeling. So part of self-awareness is the ability to tune in to those subtle feelings.
And this is very important for example, not just in decisions but when it comes to ethics
and integrity. The answer to the question is what I'm about to do in keeping with my
sense of ethics--meaning, priorities, values or whatever. It doesn't come to us verbally.
It comes to us through the same nonverbal neural system. And we've got to be able to
attune to feeling to read yes or no. So it's a kind of moral rudder, too, in life. The
second ability in emotional intelligence is managing emotions. And managing emotions really
has to do with our inhibitory ability. I don't mean managing all emotions. I mean managing
the disturbing, crippling, dysphoric emotions, the ones that get in the way, because emotions
of course are what make life rich. You want to mobilize your passions. In fact, the center
for motivation for maintaining goal and pursuing it is in the left prefrontal cortex. The left
prefrontal cortex with the connection to the hippocampus as a node for memory is what helps
us keep in mind how good we're going to feel when we finish this. And that's probably very
important around here, I think, because if you don't have that capacity to keep reminding
you about how it's going to feel, you give up. So, motivation very much depends on this
circuitry. Another ability has to do with how--with the relationship between emotionality,
impulsiveness and learning. There was a study done just down the road here, at Stanford,
many years ago with four-year-olds, kids in Stanford preschool. And these are children
of professors and graduate of Stanford. And each kid was brought in the room one by one,
sat down at a small table, and a big juicy marshmallow was put in front of them. And
the experimenter says to the kids, “You can have this marshmallow now if you want,
but of you wait to eat till I come back for running an errand, you can have two of that.”
Then the experimenter leaves the room. This is a situation, a predicament really that
tries the souls of any four-year-old, I think. >> Or for the rest of us.
>> GOLEMAN: Or the rest of us for that matter, yeah. And I've seen the footage. It's very
funny. Some of the kids will smell it and then jump away like it was very dangerous.
Some kids go off in the corner and sing and dance to distract themselves. About a third
of the kids wait out the endless four or five minutes till, you know, the experimenter comes
back and they get the two. And about a third couldn't stand it. They just gobble it down
on the spot. But the payoff finding came fourteen years later. These kids are tracked down as
they're about to graduate high school. And the two groups are compared--the kids who
grabbed and the ones who waited. Very interesting, kind of, staggering differences it turns out
from such a small data point. The kids who waited compared to the ones who grabbed get
along better with their friends. They're still able to defer gratification and pursue their
goals. And the stunner was this. On their SATs, they scored 210 points higher. It's
at 16 or more than standard deviation. I told this to the people at Princeton who make up
the SAT, they were stunned. They said that's as big as the difference we see between kids
whose parents have--one parent has a graduate degree, at least, and kids whose parents have
no education. It's a huge difference. But these were all children of Stanford folks,
very high IQ family, so what's going on here? What I think is going on is that impulsivity,
agitation is the sign of the amygdala being poorly inhibited. And kids who can't inhibit
the amygdala do something or have a predicament in learning situation which handicaps them.
And, that is--remember what I said that when the amygdala fires up, attention focuses on--and
fixates actually on what is disturbing us, you know, those other girls won't play with
me. The melodramas of, you know, late elementary school, whatever it may be. When that happens,
it occupies the space of what's called the “working memory.” Working memory is attention.
You may remember from cognitive science the working--the capacity of working memory is
a magic number seven plus or minus two bits of information. Well, if six of those bits
of information have to do with those other girls on the playground, it means you have
one bit of information left for what the teacher is saying to you. In other words, the SAT,
which is an achievement test--it's not an IQ test, an achievement test, it's a test
of how much you learned over the course of school--shows that if you are chronically
handicapped in this ability, you will not be able to learn. That's the bottom line from
that study. And I think it's true in any situation, in any work situation no matter what you're
trying to do. The extent to which your mind is preoccupied by distressing emotions is
going to shrink cognitive capacity and make it harder for you to do the work at hand.
On the other hand, you could say that the ability to inhibit distressing emotions from
the amygdala is an enabler of cognitive capacity because it leaves full attention available
for what you're trying to do. So, let's look at this from another angle, and that is if
we were to--this is the way to map what's happening with that HPA axis, the amygdala
reactivity against performance in any domain. So, here's
performance and here's high and low HPA actively. And the function between them is an inverted
U. This has been known for a hundred years in psychology. But what this really means
is that when your HPA axis low, that's another way of saying you're really bored. You're
just not into it, not engaged. And if you look at what's going on the brain, there is
a very fuzzy pattern of activation. Basically, your daydreams are as strong as your, okay,
work cortex or whatever is going on. However, the more engaged you get, the more motivated,
the closer the deadline, the more interesting the challenge, et cetera, the more cortisol--that's
an indicator of HPA level--goes up and performance goes up. There is an optimal zone here which
is where you want to get and stay. This is marked by what's called "flow." I don't know
if you know the literature on flow. Some of you do. But for those who don't, a study by
a guy named [INDISTINCT] Mahalia--Mahalia [INDISTINCT], actually. We call him Mike,
for short. And he did something really interesting several years ago. He studied people who were
from many, many domains like brains surgeons, basketball players, ballerinas, chess players,
and so on, and he asked them to describe the same thing. Tell me about the time you outdid
yourself. Even you were surprised by how well you did. And he realized that they're all
describing phenomenologically the same brain state. And it's a state in which your attention
is fully focused, it's unbreakable, undistracted. Your skills are really challenged by the demand
but adequate, able to handle it and it feels really good. He argues most of the things
we do in life voluntarily we do because they get us in a kind of a flow state. People who
are--you know, when you really have--you know, you're feeling buzzed and on, that's flow.
One of the signs of it is feeling good. Damasio, the same guy who consulted with a lawyer says
that the feeling of enjoyment during an activity is an indicator or proxy for optimal cognitive
functioning. Optimal cognitive functioning means your IQ is going as much as it can.
You know, you can be creative. You can be innovative. You can make associations. You
can figure--solve problems at your best. Then, however, if this continues, HPA activity continues,
like you've got too much to do, too little support, too little time, your life is falling
apart, you feel frazzled. The neurophysiology of frazzle is not--is that the HPA axis has
gotten to a point where you're not only secreting huge amount of cortisol but a big dollop of
adrenaline and things fall apart cortically because you're completely preoccupied by what's
causing the frazzle, with just dealing with the problems of life. So, the best place to
be for cortisol effectiveness, to leverage IQ skills is right there. And that is an emotional
place. It's a place that is determined by the emotional brain. So, in this sense, I'd
argue that the self-mastery aspect of emotional intelligence is catalytic for whatever cognitive
abilities or talents you may have. Now, the second two elements of emotional intelligence
have to do with what's called the social brain. The social brain is actually quite newly discovered.
The discovery occurred when neuroscientists decided to go beyond studying one brain and
one body and one person and to look at what happens in two brains, when two brains and
two bodies and two people are interacting. And they discovered circuits that they didn't
even know existed. They discovered that the brain is designed to connect, are wired to
connect with the social brain of the other person. It's the only part of human anatomy
that is designed to attune to and regulate itself according to the internal state of
the other person. The big, the first big breakthrough was something called "mirror neurons." Mirror
neurons were discovered one day when some Italian neuroscientists were mapping the motor
cortex of a monkey and they're doing single cell recordings. And, one afternoon, they
were watching a neuron which only fired when the monkey raised its arm. And, one day, the
cell fired and the monkey hadn't moved. The monkey's arm hadn't moved. And then they realized
what's going on. It was a hot day and a lab assistant had gone out to get an ice cream
cone and every time he took a lick, the neuron in the monkey's brain for doing that fired.
That's what mirror neurons do in our brains. It turns out that we have a diffused set,
a ray of neurons, that elicit and activate in us a mirror image of what the other person
is doing, feeling, or intending. And this is what allows us to synchronize interactions.
This is what lets all the tacit, the tacit decision rules that let an interaction go
smoothly occur without our having to think about it. The social brain operates from the
unconscious level, beneath consciousness, but it tells you when a conversation is about
to end. In a room, when you got a group trying to make a decision, social brains know the
moment before someone announces it that we've got a consensus here because we're reading
everyone else's non-verbals all the time. And then somebody says, “Oh, I guess, it
looks like this," and everybody nods and then you can leave, but it's done by the mirror
neurons. Another thing that's very important they find is that this means there is an emotional
subtext to every human interaction. No matter what's going on explicitly, tacitly, we're
making each other feel a little worse or a little better, or a lot worse or a lot better
at this sign off level. They've looked at top leaders in many different organizations,
people who are identified by some hard metrics within the organization that they're on top
ten percent, and they watched how they interacted with other people. And they found, interestingly,
those most effective leaders laughed three times more. In both, there was laughter three
times more in that interaction than the mediocre leaders. It turns out there are mirror neurons
whose sole task is to spot a smile or a laugh and make us smile and laugh in return. It's
like an intimate brain to brain connection. It builds rapport. If you look at what's going
on during moments of rapport, you're seeing the social brain in action. If you maunder
the physiology and neurology of two people's bodies while they're having a conversation,
if things are awful, just not connecting, we're not communicating here, the two bodies,
the physiology is independent. But when people feel really connected, this is really, you
know, had a good rapport, we had good chemistry, you see the bodies are going like this. And
I'm talking about [INDISTINCT]. I'm talking about physiology. I'm talking about autonomic
function. We're on the same page. The ingredients of rapport, a moment of rapport are three.
Both people are paying full attention. You're really attuned. The non-verbals look like
a choreographed dance. You know, when I do this, you do that. It's not anything we decide
to do unless we're doing each other or offering salsa lessons here, but other than that. But
this is what creates a feeling of being well connected. And the third thing that happened
emergent from that is it feels good. So, the key to rapport is to pay full attention and
let the social brains do their dance. That creates that chemistry. Some other interesting
findings from the social brain, one has--I find very fascinating. People--women, one
by one are having the brain's image and they're just been told they're going to get an electric
shock. You see the HPA axis light up. If someone comes and holds some woman's hand, it quiets
down. If a little bit, however, if her husband comes and holds your hand, it goes completely
calm. In other words, we are biological allies for the people in our lives who love us and
who we loved. Your mere presence for someone who you care about, who's distressed, does
something inside their body which is healthful. On the other side of the equation, of course,
it can work quite the other way. I was talking to a woman who had a death of a sibling and
she's very upset and she got a condolence call, a phone call from someone who had a
brother died and she thought she could really open to him by how she felt, so, she's kind
barring her feelings of loss and grief. And then she noticed, in the background, she could
hear the clicking of a keyboard. Really? Are you kidding? No way. And she realized that
this guy was doing his e-mail, and she said she felt like she'd been punched in the stomach.
And the circuitry for emotional hurts, social rejection is identical to that which registers
pain. So, because we don't have enough time, I won't tell you how old this manifest is
in text stars, but it's in the books or--and you're all getting the book for free, right?
Yeah. Some of you. Okay. That's beyond my control.
>> The rest must [INDISTINCT]. >> GOLEMAN: Yeah. Well, I just punch on the
stomach, so I guess that's the end of my time. Let me fast-forward here to say that the good
news is that the circuitry which manages these emotional intelligence abilities is malleable
through life. It's called neuroplasticity. And we can continue to strengthen and build
this circuitry if we have the right learning situation. It turns out one of the ways to
build this platform generically, and this is kind of a surprise, is through meditation.
Davidson, who discovered the left-right racial has been studying Olympic-level meditators
and he finds that there's a [INDISTINCT] response relationship. The longer you've been meditating,
the stronger the circuitry in the left prefrontal cortex becomes for managing and inhibiting
distressing emotions, and the better you feel. And it's not just Olympic-level meditators,
he's found in studies--study in a high pressure tech company, which will not be named, that
if you start to meditate, you see the beginning of strengthening of that very circuitry within
the first eight weeks. So, the neural basis for all of this can be generally upgraded.
It's the bottom line. And the Meng tells me that there's a meditation group here once
a week and I think there's going to be a course at Google University for those of you who
are interested. But let me end with a finding from this study of advance meditators. There
was one guy and he was actually here, Matthieu Ricard. He was being studied and they wanted
to see, those that kind of studying the social brain aspects of it, they want to see how
he did in a kind of a debate, a confrontation. And they used a paradigm that's familiar from
marital research were a couple will have a talk about something they disagree about and
have their neurophysiology measured, [INDISTINCT], and so on during the conversation, but because
he was a monk, they couldn't ask to do it with his wife. So they did kind of a quiet
survey in the UC system of who the most abrasive confrontational professor might be and, oddly
enough, everybody agreed right away. So, they called that guy and said in the interest of
science would you take part in this. They didn't say why he'd been selected. And he
said sure. And--but then as the day grew near, he kept making demands, which became more
and more unreasonable. So they had to dump him and go with the second most confrontational.
So the day comes and Ricard, who gave up his promising career in microbiology at the Pasteur
Institute, his mentor actually won a Noble Prize, he decided to drop that and go meditate
in a hut, in Nepal for 25 years. The proposition was that this professor should give up his
ten-year position and do the same thing. So the measures, the blood pressure, and so on
show that--or heart rate rather, and so on--showed that at the beginning of the debate, the professor
was really worked up, really agitated. His HPA axis was flipping out. Ricard was very
calm. Over the course of the 15-minute debate on a topic, Ricard stays completely calm and
the professor gets more and more, and more calm. At the end of 15 minutes, he's having
such a good time, he didn't want to stop. And what this says is that if we have a very
well-groomed, left prefrontal cortex, we can spread that good feeling as part of every
interaction with everyone during the course of the day. Thank you very much. Do we have
time for questions? >> I think we do a time for questions, if
you like to take some. Shall we? >> GOLEMAN: Yeah. Any questions? Yes. There's
a mic there actually. It may be... >> We have to take only one or two questions.
>> GOLEMAN: One or two. We need to vacate the room.
>> So, there's a recent book by Al Gore, Assault on Reason, and the first, you know, 20, 30
percent has a lot to do with research like this, about, you know, how people make decisions
and fear drive things. Have you seen that? And do you have any comments on, you know,
if he's taking too many liberties or if it's fairly straight off.
>> GOLEMAN: I'm afraid I haven't read the book, so I can't comment.
>> Oh, okay. >> Hi. I've read that one of hallmarks of
people with ADD is they're more impulsive... >> GOLEMAN: True.
>> ...and that the same level of stress which would be productive for typically, typical
people can send them into... grow the HPA overall...
>> GOLEMAN: Sure. >> Besides meditation, are there things that...
>> GOLEMAN: Well, you could say that meditation is a non-pharmaceutical [INDISTINCT] for those
kids because what it does is strengthen their own capability to calm that impulsivity. And
I personally feel it makes more sense to give kids--to have kids do some internal skill
building than to medicate them. >> Do you have any advice for parents if you
have children who are--don't seem to have a lot of emotional intelligence?
>> GOLEMAN: First of all... >> And can pets help?
>> GOLEMAN: And what? >> And can pets help?
>> GOLEMAN: Can pets help? Well, a really emotionally intelligent pet probably can.
First of all, the thing about kids is by definition, they don't have a lot of emotional intelligence.
The--there's the learning, the reason is that this PFC amygdala circuitry is the last part
of the brain to be put in place, atomically doesn't fully mature until mid-20s. So you
have to be patient with kids because they don't have from the get-go the inhibitory
abilities that we do. And when you help them empathize, when you help them--they use something,
there are programs called social emotional learning which teach these skills in schools,
and one thing they have is on the wall of every room, a stop light that says, "When
you're upset, remember the stop light, red light, stop, calm down, think before you act."
Yellow light, think of a range of things you could do. Green light, try out the best one.
And any time you as a parent can help your kid do some analogue of that, you're strengthening
the inhibitory circuitry left PFC, which--and the other thing you can do for the social
brain is to help kids understand why they feel the way they do and how, what they do
makes other people feel. And you need to teach those lessons repeatedly at the right cognitive
level as kids change and develop mentally. So, just wait. You know, by their 20's, it
would be fine. >> Professor, thanks for coming. I'm a big
fan of all your work. >> GOLEMAN: Thanks.
>> Have you ever study people that are in love, whether or not the EQ or IQ, you know,
function of the brain work a little bit better? I'm trying to understand my girlfriend better.
>> GOLEMAN: Well, is your girlfriend here? >> No, she isn't.
>> GOLEMAN: I can't help you understand your girlfriend. In the book Social Intelligence,
I talk about the three different brain systems that are involved in love. One of them is
an attachment system, which is who you care about and miss when they're not present. The
other is a caring system, care taking, the people you want, the person or people in your
life you wanted to take care of or nurture. And the third is sex. When all three of those
things are activated and aimed at the same person, you've got a really strong relationship.
But the one of those three that most strongly determines whether the relationship will last
is caring. So that's just a general advice. I don't think it has anything to do with your
girlfriend particularly, but just in general.