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Psychol Health Med. 2017 Sep;22(8):1001-1010. doi: 10.1080/13548506.2016.1255766. Epub 2016 Nov 17.

Emotional Intelligence and cognitive abilities - associations and sex differences.

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a Division of Psychiatry I, Department of Psychiatry, Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics , Medical University Innsbruck , Innsbruck , Austria.


In order to expand on previous research, this cross-sectional study investigated the relationship between Emotional Intelligence (EI) and cognitive abilities in healthy adults with a special focus on potential sex differences. EI was assessed by means of the Mayer-Salovey-Caruso-Emotional-Intelligence Test (MSCEIT), whereas cognitive abilities were investigated using the Brief Assessment of Cognition in Schizophrenia (BACS), which measures key aspects of cognitive functioning, i.e. verbal memory, working memory, motor speed, verbal fluency, attention and processing speed, and reasoning and problem solving. 137 subjects (65% female) with a mean age of 38.7 ± 11.8 years were included into the study. While males and females were comparable with regard to EI, men achieved significantly higher BACS composite scores and outperformed women in the BACS subscales motor speed, attention and processing speed, and reasoning and problem solving. Verbal fluency significantly predicted EI, whereas the MSCEIT subscale understanding emotions significantly predicted the BACS composite score. Our findings support previous research and emphasize the relevance of considering cognitive abilities when assessing ability EI in healthy individuals.


Emotional Intelligence; cognitive abilities; sex differences

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