Emotional intelligence refers to the ability of a person to appropriately regulate self-related and other-related emotions, and is generally associated with prosocial behaviour and better interpersonal relationships.
To test these possibilities, Yuki Nozaki and colleagues at Kyoto University experimentally manipulated whether someone was ostracized, i.e., ignored or excluded, in a laboratory game. This "ostracized other" could then attempt retaliation against the other two players that ostracized him or her.
The ostracized other could either act rationally and accept fair offers in the monetary game, or act irrationally and reject fair offers, which would reduce rewards for both him or her and their ostracizers.
They found that people with high emotional intelligence were more likely to recommend that the ostracized other inhibit retaliation and accept fair offers when they have a weaker intention to retaliate.
However, they were more likely to recommend that the ostracized other reject fair offers when they had a strong intention to retaliate, in an attempt to manipulate their decision.
This study helps refine our understanding of emotional intelligence, and clarifies its social function
The study is published in journal PLOS ONE.