Frontal electroencephalogram activation asymmetry, emotional intelligence, and externalizing behaviors in 10-year-old children

  • Santesso D
  • Reker D
  • Schmidt L
 et al. 
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The purpose of the present study was to examine the relations among resting frontal brain electrical activity (EEG) (hypothesized to reflect a predisposition to positive versusnegative affect and ability to regulate emotions), emotional intelligence, and externalizing behaviors in a sample of non-clinical 10-year-old children. We found that boys had significantly lower emotional intelligence than girls, and low emotional intelligence was associated with significantly more externalizing behaviors (i.e., aggression and delinquency), replicating previous work. We also found that children with higher reported externalizing behaviors exhibited significantly greater relative right frontal EEG activity at rest compared with children with little to no externalizing behavioral problems. There was, however, no relation between emotional intelligence and the pattern of resting frontal EEG activity. Thus, emotional intelligence and the pattern of frontal EEG activation at rest are independent predictors of externalizing behaviors in children. Findings also suggest that individual differences in emotional intelligence may not be based on differences in levels of emotional regulation or the generation of positive affect as reflected in frontal EEG asymmetries, but rather other social and cognitive competencies required for adaptive behavior.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Aggression
  • Delinquency
  • Emotional intelligence
  • Externalizing behaviors
  • Frontal EEG asymmetry

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