Emotional Intelligence: Understanding Decision Making and Reality Testing

Emotional Intelligence: Understanding Decision Making and Reality Testing
Duration: 60 Minutes
Module 1 Module 1
Recorded on: 2021-04-15
Unit 1 Slide Deck: Understanding Decision Making and Reality Testing
Unit 2 Transcript: Understanding Decision Making and Reality Testing
Unit 3 Workbook: Understanding Decision Making and Reality Testing
Unit 4 Recording: Understanding Decision Making and Reality Testing

This session is the fourth of the Dr. Reuven Bar-on Emotional Intelligence Model webinar series. The first session provided an overview of the Emotional Intelligence EQ-i 2.0 model. The second webinar zeroed in on Self-Awareness, and how this impacts an individual’s thoughts and behavior. The third part examines Stress Management particularly the key role of flexibility in handling new information that may otherwise cause stress.

Cheryl Stewart and Mike Brown are back for the continuation of their discussion, this time around focusing on Decision Making and its subscales. Cheryl has more than 20 years of combined experience as a Communications and Organizational Development Professional. Mike has been in the law enforcement profession for almost four decades and currently is the Director of Professional Development for the National Sheriffs Association.

Topics covered in this session include:

  • A recap of the Emotional Intelligence models based on the research of Dr. Reuven Bar-on and Daniel Goleman.
  • Understanding decision making and the power of emotions in guiding and driving our decisions.
  • Thin slicing the interactions and decisions made in a video of a controversial traffic stop.
  • The three subscales of decision making: Problem Solving, Reality Testing, and Impulse Control.
  • Dissecting each of the subscales – the importance of maintaining balance for each, how imbalance manifests in decision making, and how to correct the imbalance in the subscales.
    • Problem solving that exhibits as lack of strategy and structure when in shortage; systematic approach when in balance; avoidance when in excess; and how to remedy the imbalance through emotional self-awareness, stress tolerance, and flexibility.
    • Reality testing that looks like disconnect when lacking; grounded and accuracy when in appropriate levels; lack of trust with reality and facts when overdone; and utilizing optimism, stress tolerance, and flexibility to rectify the imbalance.
    • Impulse control that manifests as unpredictability and aggression when in deficit; tolerance and composure when balanced; detachment and being overly structured in surplus; and correcting this through self-actualization, emotional expression, and assertiveness.
  • Recognizing that balanced decision making is not bereft of emotions, but only removes unnecessary emotions.
  • The role of gut feelings, past experiences, and beliefs in the emotional mind.
  • Differentiating between integral and incidental emotions and how these influence decision making.
  • The key role of self awareness in decision-making.

Questions from the webinar participants are on:

  • The researchers that work on Emotional Intelligence.
  • The difference between the Daniel Goleman model and Dr. Reuven Bar-on’s EI model.
  • The number of decisions we make each day and the definition of ‘decision’ on the research.
  • Lessons learned from the traffic stop video and how situational contexts could impact these incidents.
  • Practicing self-awareness in preparation for decision-making.
  • Recommended approach to traffic stops.
  • Integrating emotional intelligence in training and background investigations for recruitment.
  • Preventing stress and burnout through EI.


This is part of a six-part series:


Or click here to view and register for other upcoming NSA webinars on the JCH Platform.


Resources and Handouts


Audience Comments

  • “…EI is a very practical and important subject. Thanks for doing this series.” — Susan
  • “The webinar provided great information on emotional intelligence that could help in any part of your life including work, home, family, and friends.” — Shannon
  • “I like that current events were used to explain EI.” — Tami
  • “I enjoy this series and look forward to each webinar.” — Tania
  • “The information was useful, practical, and applicable. I m a visual person, so to be able to attached terms to the actual process of problem-solving, and how my emotions can affect them will definitely improve my self-awareness. I also appreciate the presenter mentioning how visualizing situations can actually help a person make the right decision when it comes into play.” — Jimmy
  • “Amazing and wonderful speakers. Thanks!” — Cindy
  • “I am not in law enforcement but am interested in the topic of emotional intelligence. The webinar was very informative. … Given the issues facing law enforcement and the public today, it is my opinion that those two videos are worth at least one webinar on their own. Thank you for the opportunity to participate in this webinar and for the opportunity to comment. “– Christine
  • “How your level of self-awareness impacts/drives your decisions. An interesting thought… emotional intelligence evolves, so I am wondering how much of a factor that is in law enforcement encounters since many officers are hired at a young age–before the development of their frontal lobes…hmmm Thank you!” — Barbara
  • “Excellent Presentation from very knowledgeable presenters. EI testing must be a part of the Police Officer hiring process. Please continue to offer more training regarding this very important topic. Thank you!” — Roseann
  • “Excellent presentation! I look forward to implementing the valuable tools acquired.” — Asia
  • “Really enjoying this whole series–please do more series like this.” — Andrea


** This webinar has been certified by the National Sheriffs' Association and may be eligible for Continuing Education Units through your POST. Please consult your local certification processes for additional details. Paid subscribers that attend will be able to download a jointly issued attendance certificate that includes the National Sheriffs' Association logo.
Additional Resources
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After the Webinar: Emotional Intelligence – Understanding Decision Making and Reality Testing in Criminal Justice Situations. Q&A with the Presenters
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