Association between Ability Emotional Intelligence and Left Insula during Social Judgment of Facial Emotions

Abstract

The human ability of identifying, processing and regulating emotions from social stimuli is generally referred as Emotional Intelligence (EI). Within EI, Ability EI identifies a performance measure assessing individual skills at perceiving, using, understanding and managing emotions. Previous models suggest that a brain "somatic marker circuitry" (SMC) sustains emotional sub-processes included in EI. Three primary brain regions are included: the amygdala, the insula and the ventromedial prefrontal cortex (vmPFC). Here, our aim was to investigate the relationship between Ability EI scores and SMC activity during social judgment of emotional faces. Sixty-three healthy subjects completed a test measuring Ability EI and underwent fMRI during a social decision task (i.e. approach or avoid) about emotional faces with different facial expressions. Imaging data revealed that EI scores are associated with left insula activity during social judgment of emotional faces as a function of facial expression. Specifically, higher EI scores are associated with greater left insula activity during social judgment of fearful faces but also with lower activity of this region during social judgment of angry faces. These findings indicate that the association between Ability EI and the SMC activity during social behavior is region- and emotion-specific.

DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0148621

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@inproceedings{Quarto2016AssociationBA, title={Association between Ability Emotional Intelligence and Left Insula during Social Judgment of Facial Emotions}, author={Tiziana Quarto and Giuseppe Blasi and Chiara Maddalena and Giovanna Viscanti and Tiziana Lanciano and Emanuela Soleti and Ivan Mangiulli and Paolo Taurisano and Leonardo Fazio and Alessandro Bertolino and Antonietta Curci and Alessio Avenanti}, booktitle={PloS one}, year={2016} }