Botín Foundation partners with Yale to examine creativity, emotion

Yale University has announced an agreement with the Botín Foundation to advance research in the area of emotional intelligence. The collaboration, which brings new funding for the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence, supports a scientific investigation of the links between creativity and emotion.

A March 13 signing ceremony on the Yale campus was attended by foundation staff members and executives of Banco Santander, the international bank chaired by Botín Foundation head Emilio Botín.

Representing Yale was Peter Salovey ’86 Ph.D., the University’s president-elect and a leader in the field of emotional intelligence. “The University is deeply grateful to the Botín Foundation,” he said. “This collaboration will yield new insights on how we can best teach the skills people need to succeed in their daily lives, including ways to increase innovation and to generate economic growth and social development.”

One outcome of the project will be the development of educational materials for the Botín Centre, a cultural and educational project in Santander, Spain, slated to open in 2014.

“We are proud to support the progressive research taking place at Yale,” Emilio Botín said. “This work will contribute to education in a broad way and also translate into improved programs in the Botín Centre.”

Marc Brackett, research scientist and director of the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence, will lead the project, along with associate research scientist Zorana Ivcevic. The work will unfold in three phases beginning in spring 2013. The first phase will focus on the development of a novel theoretical model to describe the role of emotional experiences and skills throughout the creative process. The second phase will examine how art can be used to aid in the development of “emotion skills” essential to creativity, and the third phase will explore how art can be used to enhance creativity in people’s daily lives. In this final phase, the team will design art education activities for the Botín Centre and test their effect on participants’ creativity.

Formerly known as the Health, Emotion, and Behavior Laboratory, the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence has developed social and emotional skills programs for over 25 years. Its core activities in research, program development, and educator training focus on skills that enhance self- and social awareness, build empathy, and improve decision-making. The center conducts research and teaches people of all ages — from preschoolers to CEOs — the skills they need to build healthy relationships, make sound decisions, and perform at their best. 

The Botín Foundation is a family-run initiative created in 1964 by Marcelino Botín Sanz de Sautuola and his wife, Carmen Yllera, to “mitigate the needs and promote the social development” of Cantabria, a historical region on the north coast of Spain with Santander as its capital city. The foundation has been committed to art programs for more than 25 years, and has spent the last 10 years on a groundbreaking educational program that fosters the emotional intelligence and creativity of children in more than 100 schools in Spain.