Nozaki Y, Koyasu M
PLoS ONE 2013;8(10):e77579
BACKGROUND: Regulation of emotions in others is distinct from other activities related to trait emotional intelligence in that only such behavior can directly change other people's psychological states. Although emotional intelligence has generally been associated with prosociality, emotionally intelligent people may manipulate others' behaviors to suit their own interests using high-level capabilities to read and manage the emotions of others. This study investigated how trait emotional intelligence was related to interacting with ostracized others who attempt retaliation.
METHOD: We experimentally manipulated whether two people were simultaneously ostracized or not by using an online ball-tossing game called Cyberball. Eighty university students participated in Cyberball for manipulating ostracism and a "recommendation game," a variation of the ultimatum game for assessing how to interact with others who attempt retaliation, with four participants. After the recommendation game, participants rated their intention to retaliate during the game.
RESULTS: People with higher interpersonal emotional intelligence were more likely to recommend that the ostracized other should inhibit retaliation and maximize additional rewards when they have a weaker intention to retaliate. However, they were more likely to recommend that the ostracized other should retaliate against the ostracizers when they have a stronger intention to retaliate.
CONCLUSION: This is the first laboratory study that empirically reveals that people with high interpersonal emotional intelligence influence others' emotions based on their own goals contrary to the general view. Trait emotional intelligence itself is neither positive nor negative, but it can facilitate interpersonal behaviors for achieving goals. Our study offers valuable contributions for the refinement of the trait emotional intelligence concept in the respect of its social function.