The excitation transfer paradigm and emotional intelligence: Predicting interpersonal attraction

Madeleine Fraser, Simon Boag*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


The Excitation Transfer paradigm proposes that externally-caused residual arousal may later intensify unrelated feelings of attraction, and thus emphasising the role of situational variables. On the other hand, Emotional Intelligence (EI) involves an individual's internal capacity to interpret and engage with emotionally-relevant information. This study proposed that EI-(as assessed by the Trait-Meta Mood Scale-TMMS)-may moderate the Excitation Transfer effect. A sample of 104 female undergraduates was randomly allocated to complete a cognitive task whilst either seated at a table (control) or riding an exercise bike (aroused condition). Participants then viewed a video recording of a male confederate and rated his attractiveness on a 19-item First Impression Scale. Results indicated no main effects for arousal or EI on any factor of attractiveness. However further analysis demonstrated significant higher-order interactions between EI and arousal upon attractiveness factors. Specifically, individuals with higher EI scores were less likely to be influenced by irrelevant arousal. Results suggest that evaluative judgements of attractiveness are influenced by the interaction of personality and situational variables.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationPersonality and Individual Differences: Theory, Assessment, and Application
EditorsNiko Tiliopoulos, Simon Boag
Place of PublicationHauppauge, NY
PublisherNova Science Publishers
Number of pages16
ISBN (Print)9781611220704
Publication statusPublished - 2011

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