In what could be claimed a major breakthrough, scientists claim to have discovered the seats of emotional intelligence in human brain.

An international team has carried out a study on a group of Vietnam war veterans with head injuries and found that certain parts of the human brain are vital for two types of emotional intelligence, the ‘New Scientist’ reported.

Depending on the site of their injuries, the veterans studied were poor either at “experiential” emotional intelligence (the capacity to judge emotions in other people) or “strategic” emotional intelligence (the ability to plan socially appropriate responses to situations“.

Led by Jordan Grafman at the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke in Maryland, the scientists gave standard tests for measuring emotional intelligence to 38 injured vets and 29 healthy controls.

The 17 veterans with injuries to their dorsolateral prefrontal cortex performed worse on experiential tasks but performed normally on strategic tasks. In the other 21 vets, who had damage to their ventromedial prefrontal cortex, the situation was reversed.

Damage to these regions didn’t affect cognitive intelligence, suggesting that emotional and general problem-solving tasks are handled independently in the brain, the findings revealed.

The study has been published in the ‘Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences’ journal.

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