Attending to Feeling: It May Matter More than You Think


Recent advances in cognitive neuroscience reveal that reasoning and decision-making are comprised of both cognitive (thinking) and non-cognitive (feeling, intuiting) components. Such information is shedding new light on what it means for learners both to think well and to solve problems creatively. Former wisdom held that feeling and emotion interfered with one’s capacity to think: what was required for meaningful learning was for emotion to be set aside in order for novel problems to be solved. However, what was not espoused and what is now becoming increasingly evident are that in the absence of feeling, novel problems are unlikely to be solved at all. This paper documents the findings of a large scale study of middle school students (n = 405) in which both cognitive and non-cognitive components of thinking were measured and their relationships to successful novel problem-solving assessed. The cognitive and non-cognitive measures involved five aspects: a strategic, a systematic, a spatial-verbal, a free-flowing and a feeling approach to reasoning. Contrary to the traditional viewpoint, those learners who employed a feeling approach to reasoning were more likely to solve a novel problem than those who did not. This holds significant import not only for the processes of learning, teaching and successful problem-solving, but also for the practice and process of guidance counseling.

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Aldous, C. (2014) Attending to Feeling: It May Matter More than You Think. Creative Education, 5, 780-796. doi: 10.4236/ce.2014.510091.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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