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Comment & Response
July 10, 2018

Importance of Intelligence and Emotional Intelligence for Physicians

Author Affiliations
  • 1Department of Neurology, University of Tennessee Health Science Center, Memphis
  • 2Fogelman College of Business and Economics, University of Memphis, Memphis, Tennessee
JAMA. 2018;320(2):204-205. doi:10.1001/jama.2018.6286

To the Editor Dr Emanuel and Ms Gudbranson suggested that medical school admissions committees should explicitly assess EQ and deemphasize IQ.1 Ideally, the anticipated outcome would be an increased number of students who have the potential to become effective, compassionate physicians able to collaborate, communicate, and integrate care for their patients. However, EQ is a measure of ability that can improve with formal training. EQ training has been shown to be a critical component of leadership development, although the optimal type and timing of training in a person’s education or career has yet to be determined.2 Some groups suggest that medical professionalism and leadership education should be modeled around EQ competencies.3 Additionally, Cabello et al found that the total ability EQ score changes with age, increasing from adolescence to middle life before trending downward.4 If EQ scores become the main criteria for admission, age could become an influential factor in who is admitted. Because of its growth potential and inherent plasticity, EQ may not be a reliable factor to consider during admissions decisions in the absence of documented prior training.

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