1st Edition

The Development of Emotional Intelligence A Case Study

By Nadja Reissland Copyright 2012
    184 Pages
    by Routledge

    184 Pages
    by Routledge

    How do children learn about the expression and meaning of emotions – both happy and sad? This book answers questions regarding the foundation of emotional intelligence, and examines how children become emotionally literate as they are socialised into their family environment from birth to 2 years of age. These early stages are vitally important in teaching children to understand themselves and others, as well as how to relate to people, and how to adapt to and cope with their immediate surroundings.

    In order to examine the development of emotional intelligence, the author presents an overview of the literature on the subject and in the second part of the book presents a case study in which the concepts introduced in the first part of the book are revisited. Based on daily tape-recorded ‘conversations’ between a baby and her father, the data demonstrate how, over a two-year period, the child learns to express and understand emotions within social interactions. This capacity to reason with emotions is examined through four areas: perceiving emotion, integrating emotion, understanding emotion and managing emotion.

    The Development of Emotional Intelligence adds a new perspective to the theoretical debate on emotions and how they develop. It will be of great interest to psychologists and any professionals dealing with families. It will also be helpful reading for parents.

    Part 1. Overview of the Literature on Emotional Intelligence (EI). 1. Introduction. 2. Emotional Intelligence: Models and Controversies. 3. The Language of Emotional Intelligence. 4. Regulation of Emotional Expression. 5. Emotional Intelligence: The Ability to Interact Emotionally through Empathy. 6. Emotional Intelligence, Health and Negative Emotions. Part 2. Case Study. Introduction to the Case Study. 7. The Language of Emotions from the First Months of Life. 8. Acoustic Aspects of Emotion Talk. 9. On the Changing Table: The Use of Rhetoric with an Infant. 10. Teasing and Emotional Development. 11. From ‘Social Smile’ to Laughter: How Positive Emotions Develop. 12. Toto’s Experience of Her Father’s Death. 13. Conclusion. 14. Emotional Intelligence for Parents.


    Nadja Reissland is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Psychology at Durham University. Her research concerns emotional development from the prenatal period to early childhood in relation to maternal stress and depression. Her latest research examines fetal facial expressions in utero.

    "Although it is an academic text, it is also so much more. The first half is an overview of theories and research on emotional intelligence. ... The second half of the book tells the story of the emotional development of a little girl, Toto, through the words of her father. ... The case study is used as a tool to highlight and illustrate theoretical points from the first half of the book and this is done to great effect. ... This book is a breath of fresh air in bringing human meaning to the theory. It's an innovative approach and makes for an enthralling read. A great starting point for anyone wishing to dip their toes into emotional intelligence - but remember to pack some tissues." - Andy Field, University of Sussex, UK, in Times Higher Education Textbook Guide November 2012

    "Here is a beautifully written book about young children’s emotional development, which is informative, interesting and intelligent and, at the same time, profoundly moving. Nadja Reissland’s description of the growing and fast-changing relationship between a particular father and his daughter, and of its sudden and tragic ending, is an impressive contribution to the study of children’s emotions." - Peter Bryant FRS, Senior Research Fellow, University of Oxford, UK

    "This is a charming book that has something to say to a wide range of audiences. The unfolding of emotional intelligence is illustrated movingly with an excellent longitudinal case study through father-daughter conversations from the birth of the daughter to the death of the father six years later. The case illustrates how a deeply empathetic and sensitive father helps his young daughter Toto to become emotionally intelligent, which will in turn guide her through the most difficult times when her father is dying." - Emese Nagy, Senior Lecturer, University of Dundee, UK