Psychological and neural correlates of emotional intelligence in a large sample of adult males and females

A. Craig*, Y. Tran, G. Hermens, L. M. Williams, A. Kemp, C. Morris, Evian Gordon

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

48 Citations (Scopus)


Research is needed that investigates the correlates of emotional intelligence (EI) as a function of sex, especially biological and psychological correlates such as personality, brain activity, cognitions and mood. A large group of healthy males and females were tested for EI, personality, mood, cognitive function, brain activity and heart rate variability. Females were found to have slightly higher EI scores than males while a similar profile of personality was found to predict EI in both sexes. Factors like extraversion, conscientiousness and openness were found to contribute positively to EI in both sexes, meaning a higher level of emotional capacity was associated with a person who is outgoing, dependable, and independent-minded. Cortical under-arousal contributed to low EI in both males and females, consistent with the proposal that somatic markers are needed to guide human behaviour. While frontal asymmetry was associated with low EI in females, the contribution of this finding to overall variance in EI was small (1%) and should be treated with caution. Overall, findings suggest that personality and brain activity factors are correlates of EI that may contribute to individual differences in EI manifest in males and females.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)111-115
Number of pages5
JournalPersonality and Individual Differences
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Depressive mood
  • EEG
  • Emotional intelligence
  • Extraversion
  • Heart rate variability
  • Neuroticism
  • Personality


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