The correlation between emotional intelligence and gray matter volume in university students

Brain Cogn. 2014 Nov;91:100-7. doi: 10.1016/j.bandc.2014.08.007. Epub 2014 Oct 6.


A number of recent studies have investigated the neurological substrates of emotional intelligence (EI), but none of them have considered the neural correlates of EI that are measured using the Schutte Self-Report Emotional Intelligence Scale (SSREIS). This scale was developed based on the EI model of Salovey and Mayer (1990). In the present study, SSREIS was adopted to estimate EI. Meanwhile, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and voxel-based morphometry (VBM) were used to evaluate the gray matter volume (GMV) of 328 university students. Results found positive correlations between Monitor of Emotions and VBM measurements in the insula and orbitofrontal cortex. In addition, Utilization of Emotions was positively correlated with the GMV in the parahippocampal gyrus, but was negatively correlated with the VBM measurements in the fusiform gyrus and middle temporal gyrus. Furthermore, Social Ability had volume correlates in the vermis. These findings indicate that the neural correlates of the EI model, which primarily focuses on the abilities of individuals to appraise and express emotions, can also regulate and utilize emotions to solve problems.

Keywords: Emotional Intelligence; Emotional Intelligence model; Gray matter volume; Somatic marker.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Cerebral Cortex / physiology*
  • Emotional Intelligence / physiology*
  • Emotions / physiology*
  • Female
  • Gray Matter / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods
  • Male
  • Students
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Universities
  • Young Adult