Lumina Learning Strategic Alliance Inemmo interview Julie Ensor – Product Development Lead and Lumina Emotion creator. They discuss emotional intelligence research, the challenges and advantages emotions raise in the workplace, and the development of Lumina Emotion.
What were the main goals you set out to achieve by devising Lumina Emotion?
We wanted to achieve a measure that we felt made a comprehensive assessment not only of who we are and what we feel, but what we do. Of huge importance to that was applying Lumina’s humanistic ethos of valuing both ends of the spectrum to try and tackle some of the biases that tend to emerge from traditional measures of emotional intelligence. We wanted a model that recognised the richness of human emotion and to measure it in a way that spoke to people in a meaningful way.
In particular, we wanted to demystify the factor of personality known in psychological literature as ‘Neuroticism’. It is the one area of personality that seems to be considered uniquely ‘bad’. However, that’s because it’s often poorly conceptualised and misunderstood. People get a bit nervous when they hear the word, Neuroticism, and understandably so – psychologists have not always been the best at labelling scales in ways that could be called user-friendly! However, the fundamental basis for being higher on this scale is simply down to the degree we perceive threat in our environment and the type of situations that evoke this response.
We have evolved to see threats: it’s our brain’s way of keeping us out of danger. Some of us are more attuned to seeking the risks in an ambiguous situation, while others may not see those same risks – or may even see positives instead. It really just boils down to a difference of perspective. In Lumina Emotion, we examine your ‘Risk Reactors’ and ‘Reward Reactors’, and – crucially – allow for both in the same individual. This acknowledges the complexity of emotions, and that what we ‘feel’ does not always equate to what we ‘do’.
Importantly, we really try to value and embrace the full range of emotions – after all, they are simply part of the human condition. To my knowledge, Lumina Emotion is the first model to ever really tap into this complexity, or give clear value to both ends of what is typically a biased scale. We have seen a big movement in recent times towards valuing Introversion and challenging the Extraversion bias, thanks to authors such as Susan Cain. I feel that demystifying Neuroticism would break one of the last personality taboos, and I hope that Lumina Emotion goes some way towards this.
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