Posted by & filed under Consciousness, Learning, Motivation-Emotion, Student Success.

Description: Ok quick, don’t think just answer this question: What is the relationship between reason and emotion? Typically, our first reaction is to say that reason and emotion are in a bit of a tug of war. If you are thinking reasonably you are not being emotional and if you are being emotional you are not being reasonable – you are not thinking clearly. While it IS true that extreme emotions can limit our ability to think clearly but reason and emotion are not really black and white opposites. Think about it. What goes along with intellectual interest or intellectual insight? Good feelings, right? Emotions are how we assign value to things and so emotions may actually be essential to reason and to learning. Think a bit about how this relationship might work (and relationship IS a potentially useful active ingredient in understanding the relationship between thinking and emotion) and then read the article linked below that addresses this question as well.

Source: Students Learn from People They Love, David Brooks, The New York Times.

Date: January 17, 2019

Photo Credit: Damon Winter/The New York Times

 Article Link:

Perhaps you had not thought of colleges and universities as places where you might go to experience emotions but emotions in the context of relationships (social interactions) drive knowledge acquisition. The example of children learning Mandarin phrases much better and faster in face-to-face lessons as opposed to video lessons is compelling. Can you think of a class you had, or have, where the professor was/is passionate about their subject and it felt like they were sharing that with you in their lectures? Learning is easier and better in those sorts of classes. We often ask if the instructor was enthusiastic on course evaluations, but we do not, typically, evaluate the nature and quality of the learning relationships that could (should) be built through our classes. Emotions generated while learning are something to think about.

Questions for Discussion:

  1. How are thinking and emotions related?
  2. How are thinking and emotions related in a class you recall as being very engaging and enjoyable?
  3. What do you make of the differences discussed in the article between learning in face-to-face settings and via video recordings?

References (Read Further):


Kuhl, P. K., Tsao, F. M., & Liu, H. M. (2003). Foreign-language experience in infancy: Effects of short-term exposure and social interaction on phonetic learning. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 100(15), 9096-9101.

Dikker, S., Wan, L., Davidesco, I., Kaggen, L., Oostrik, M., McClintock, J., … & Poeppel, D. (2017). Brain-to-brain synchrony tracks real-world dynamic group interactions in the classroom. Current Biology, 27(9), 1375-1380.

Aspen Institute From a nation at Risk to a Nation at Hope: Recommendations from a National Commission on Social, Emotional, and Academic Development