In a new study on the brains of injured Vietnam veterans, scientists have discovered regions vital for two types of emotional intelligence.
The veterans were found to be poor either at 'experiential' emotional intelligence, which is the capacity to judge emotions in other people, or 'strategic' emotional intelligence, the ability to plan socially appropriate responses to situations.
During the study, lead researcher Jordan Grafman at the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke in Bethesda, Maryland conducted standard tests for measuring emotional intelligence in 38 injured vets and 29 healthy controls.
The findings revealed that 17 vets, who sustained injuries in their dorsolateral prefrontal cortex performed worse on experiential tasks.
But, when it came to strategic tasks, they performed normally, reports New Scientist.
However among 21 vets, who had sustained injures in their ventromedial prefrontal cortex, the situation was reversed.
Although damage to these regions didn't affect cognitive intelligence.
This suggests that emotional and general problem-solving tasks are handled independently in the brain.
The study appears in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.