Emotionally intelligent people may influence the emotions of others based on their own goals

October 23, 2013, Public Library of Science

Emotionally intelligent people have the ability to manipulate others to satisfy their own interest, according to new research published October 23 in the open-access journal PLOS ONE, by Yuki Nozaki and colleagues at Kyoto University.

Emotional intelligence refers to the ability of a person to appropriately regulate self-related and other-related emotions, and is generally associated with and better . However, the exact social functions of emotional intelligence remain unclear. It is possible that emotionally intelligent people may manipulate others' behaviors to suit their own interest, rather than achieving general prosocial outcomes by managing the emotions of others.

To test these possibilities, the authors experimentally manipulated whether someone was ostracized, i.e., ignored or excluded, in a laboratory game. This "ostracized other" could then attempt retaliation against the other two players that ostracized him/her. The ostracized other could either act rationally and accept fair offers in the monetary game, or act irrationally and reject fair offers, which would reduce rewards for both him/her and their ostracizers.

They found that people with high emotional intelligence were more likely to recommend that the ostracized other inhibit retaliation and accept fair offers when they have a weaker intention to retaliate. However, they were more likely to recommend that the ostracized other reject fair offers when they had a strong intention to retaliate, in an attempt to manipulate their decision. This study helps refine our understanding of , and clarifies its social function. Nozaki elaborates, "Emotional intelligence itself is neither positive nor negative, but it can facilitate interpersonal behaviors for achieving goals."

Explore further: Researchers map emotional intelligence in the brain

More information: Nozaki Y, Koyasu M (2013) The Relationship between Trait Emotional Intelligence and Interaction with Ostracized Others' Retaliation. PLoS ONE 8(10): e77579. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0077579

Related Stories

Researchers map emotional intelligence in the brain

January 22, 2013
A new study of 152 Vietnam veterans with combat-related brain injuries offers the first detailed map of the brain regions that contribute to emotional intelligence – the ability to process emotional information and navigate ...

Professor: Pain of ostracism can be deep, long-lasting

May 10, 2011
Ostracism or exclusion may not leave external scars, but it can cause pain that often is deeper and lasts longer than a physical injury, according to a Purdue University expert.

Those briefly ostracized recover more quickly if they previously were given focused attention training, study finds

October 4, 2013
(Medical Xpress)—When people are briefly ostracized, they feel distress that may linger for some time, however, they recover more quickly from the experience if they are better prepared mentally to focus on something else, ...

Training teens to handle emotions improves mental health

April 20, 2012
Teens who received emotional intelligence training in school had improved scores on several measures of emotional well-being, including less anxiety, depression and social stress, according to a new study in the Journal of ...

Recommended for you

Babies' babbling betters brains, language

January 18, 2018
Babies are adept at getting what they need - including an education. New research shows that babies organize mothers' verbal responses, which promotes more effective language instruction, and infant babbling is the key.

Inherited IQ can increase in early childhood

January 18, 2018
When it comes to intelligence, environment and education matter – more than we think.

College branding makes beer more salient to underage students

January 18, 2018
In recent years, major beer companies have tried to capitalize on the salience of students' university affiliations, unveiling marketing campaigns and products—such as "fan cans," store displays, and billboard ads—that ...

Modulating molecules: Study shows oxytocin helps the brain to modulate social signals

January 17, 2018
Between sights, sounds, smells and other senses, the brain is flooded with stimuli on a moment-to-moment basis. How can it sort through the flood of information to decide what is important and what can be relegated to the ...

Baby brains help infants figure it out before they try it out

January 17, 2018
Babies often amaze their parents when they seemingly learn new skills overnight—how to walk, for example. But their brains were probably prepping for those tasks long before their first steps occurred, according to researchers.

Reducing sessions of trauma-focused psychotherapy does not affect effectiveness

January 17, 2018
Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) patients treated with as few as five sessions of trauma-focused psychotherapy find it equally effective as receiving 12 sessions.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.