The main idea of the article consists in the fact that the modern tendency of promoting EI is the result of the profit it generates, which is why its promoters tend to provide insufficient information or lie to their potential customers. The subtopics include the negative uses of EI and the lies of the EI proponents that Tobak attempts to reveal. The latter include the idea that emotional quotient tests are unlikely to be appropriate measurement tools, that EI has no direct effect on a person’s job performance, and that it cannot change a person’s behavior. To sum up, the author aims to refute the ideas that he regards as myths about EI with the help of relevant research, expert opinion as well as common sense and personal experience.
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The author appears to have failed to maintain an objective stance. He is against EI propaganda, and the whole article is created to criticize the popular ideas concerning EI. Tobak cites only one expert opinion that defends EI (by Travis Bradberry) only to criticize it by practically insisting that it is not credible. The only attempt at redeeming EI appears at the end of the article to be immediately refuted: “self-awareness is a very good thing in life, but it’s all too easy to mistake what lies on the surface for the genuine feelings buried deep below” (Tobak par. 21).
At the same time, the rest of the article depicts the EI arguments in the most unattractive light. According to the author, none of the promises the EI proponents is true, and EI has a “decidedly dark side” (Tobak par. 3, 7). Apart from that, “EQ testing is by no means scientific,” and the results are “essentially meaningless” (Tobak par. 13, 14). It can be pointed out that such is the general tone of the article, and the author’s style is expressive, but the fact that is it expressively negative with respect to EI means that it cannot be termed as objective.
All the arguments are presented to refute the ideas of EI proponents. In the end, Tobak also claims that EI “won’t change a thing” about a person’s behavior (par. 21). This statement is too assertive for the part of the article that is not supported by any research evidence. Also, it is important to point out that the author criticizes the “hype” around EI, not its very idea, but it does not change the fact that he is not objective.
Apart from that, Tobak is ready to adjust the evidence to serve his purposes. The evidence sources of the article have several levels of credibility, but they are treated in a similar way: they must not provide counterarguments to the author’s point of view, which prevents the well-referenced, well-argued article from becoming objective. Tobak refers to the article by Joseph and Newman but interprets in the way that suits the purpose of the text, neglecting some of the authors’ conclusions.
The results of the research by Joseph and Newman indicate that for a job that is connected to EI factors, higher EI is correlated with higher performance, which is logical, but the situation tends to be opposite for “low emotional labor jobs” (54). Tobak chooses to provide only part of the information by writing that the study “showed absolutely no broad correlation between emotional intelligence and job performance” (par. 14).
In fact, a correlation was discovered and emphasized by Joseph and Newman, but Tobak prefers to ignore this fact. Similarly, the author refers to a magazine article by Grant that is much more objective and describes EI as the knowledge and skill that can be used for good and bad purposes (par. 17). Tobak uses the negative part by pointing out the possible “devastating” effects of EI manipulation (par. 6).
He also mentions the opinion of Travis Bradberry and insists that it is not credible. Besides, Tobak mentions his experience with EQ tests and the examples of famous and successful people. The author’s interpretation of both of these types of evidence is not objective: EQ test are described as “meaningless,” and the successful people do not have “an ounce of emotional intelligence among them” (Tobak par. 14, 15). Finally, the author also uses general knowledge to support his ideas. An example of general knowledge includes the dwellings on the human brain and behavioral change: “human mind actually consists of layer upon layer of neural pathways,” which, according to the author makes EI techniques ineffective (par. 20). This conclusion is possible because the author simplifies the notion of EI.
Indeed, Tobak uses arguments that can be described as fallacies. He ridicules the argument of Travis Bradberry by insisting that emotionally intelligent people are not “flesh-and-blood humans” that do not have pessimistic thoughts or sleep problems (par. 17-18). This argument can also be described as a simplification. Another example of the same fallacy results in EI training being reduced to “simple awareness” (par. 19).
The simplification is also present in the final part, the conclusion. First of all, it does not attempt to tie the article’s initial arguments to the final one: it just sums up the latter. Most importantly, the concluding phrase is simplified and ignores the possible counterarguments: “Study emotional intelligence all you want, it won’t change a thing” (par. 21). The statement is not supported by any evidence except for the author’s assertiveness. In the end, the article provides an impression of an example of oversimplification that is the result of ignoring counterarguments and failing to be objective.
Grant, Adam. “The Dark Side of Emotional Intelligence.” The Atlantic. 2014. Web.
Joseph, Dana L., and Daniel A. Newman. “Emotional Intelligence: An Integrative Meta-Analysis And Cascading Model.”. Journal of Applied Psychology 95.1 (2010): 54-78. Web.
Tobak, Steve. “Don’t Believe the Hype Around ‘Emotional Intelligence’.” Entrepreneur. 2014. Web.