Skip to main content

Research Repository

Advanced Search

Emotionally Intelligent People Use More High-Engagement and Less Low-Engagement Processes to Regulate Others’ Emotions

Xiao, Hester; Double, Kit Spencer; Walker, Sarah Ann; Kunst, Hannah; MacCann, Carolyn


Hester Xiao

Kit Spencer Double

Hannah Kunst

Carolyn MacCann


Existing research has linked emotional intelligence (EI) with intrinsic emotion regulation (processes people use to regulate their own emotions). However, there has not yet been an empirical examination of whether EI abilities relate to extrinsic emotion regulation (processes people use to regulate other people’s emotions). This study (N = 178 undergraduates) examines whether ability EI (as measured by the Mayer–Salovey–Caruso Emotional Intelligence Test) correlates with eight extrinsic regulation processes (as measured by the Regulation of Others’ Emotions Scale, including downward comparison, expressive suppression, humour, distraction, direct action, reappraisal, receptive listening and valuing). Total ability EI score is significantly positively correlated with three high-engagement processes (r = .24, .40, and .16 for reappraisal, receptive listening, and valuing) and negatively correlated with two low-engagement processes (r = −.30 and −.38 for downward comparison and expressive suppression). When all four EI branches predicted each regulation process in multiple regression, only emotion management significantly predicted downward comparison, receptive listening and valuing, and only emotion management and understanding predicted expressive suppression (no significant regression coefficients for reappraisal). We conclude that the drivers of EI/extrinsic regulation associations are engagement with the target’s emotion and the emotion management branch of EI.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Sep 26, 2022
Online Publication Date Sep 29, 2022
Publication Date 2022-12
Deposit Date Feb 13, 2024
Journal Journal of Intelligence
Publisher MDPI
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 10
Issue 4
Article Number 76
Keywords Cognitive Neuroscience; Developmental and Educational Psychology; Education; Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
Public URL