Neurobiological correlates of emotional intelligence in voice and face perception networks

Faculty/Professorship: Personality Psychology and Psychological Assessment  
Author(s): Karle, Kathrin N.; Ethofer, Thomas; Jacob, Heike; Brück, Carolin; Erb, Michael; Lotze, Martin; Nizielski, Sophia; Schütz, Astrid  
Title of the Journal: Social cognitive and affective neuroscience
ISSN: 1749-5016
Publisher Information: Oxford : Oxford Univ. Press
Year of publication: 2018
Volume: 13
Issue: 2
Pages: 233-244
Language(s): English
DOI: 10.1093/scan/nsy001
Facial expressions and voice modulations are among the most important communicational signals to convey emotional information. The ability to correctly interpret this information is highly relevant for successful social interaction and represents an integral component of emotional competencies that have been conceptualized under the term emotional intelligence. Here, we investigated the relationship of emotional intelligence as measured with the Salovey-Caruso-Emotional-Intelligence-Test (MSCEIT) with cerebral voice and face processing using functional and structural magnetic resonance imaging. MSCEIT scores were positively correlated with increased voice-sensitivity and gray matter volume of the insula accompanied by voice-sensitivity enhanced connectivity between the insula and the temporal voice area, indicating generally increased salience of voices. Conversely, in the face processing system, higher MSCEIT scores were associated with decreased face-sensitivity and gray matter volume of the fusiform face area. Taken together, these findings point to an alteration in the balance of cerebral voice and face processing systems in the form of an attenuated face-vs-voice bias as one potential factor underpinning emotional intelligence.
Keywords: Emotional Intelligence, functional magnet resonance imaging, fusiform face area
Peer Reviewed: Ja
International Distribution: Ja
Type: Article
Year of publication: 17. August 2018