Previous neuroimaging studies have suggested that trait emotional intelligence (TEI) is associated with components of the neural network involved in social cognition (SCN) and somatic marker circuitry (SMC). Our study is the first to investigate the association of TEI with resting-state functional connectivity (RSFC) between the key nodes of SCN and SMC [medial prefromtal cortex (mPFC) and bilateral anterior insula (AI), respectively] and other brain regions. We found that (a) the intrapersonal factor of TEI was negatively correlated with RSFC between mPFC and the anterior part of the right dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC), (b) the TEI interpersonal factor score was positively correlated with RSFC between mPFC and the lingual gyrus, and (c) total TEI was positively correlated with RSFC between mPFC and the precuneus as well as (d) between the left AI and the middle part of the right DLPFC. Taken together with previous study findings, our findings can be comprehensively understood as neural mechanisms of SCN and SMC components are associated with TEI. In particular, the fluent interaction between SCN's two key nodes (mPFC and precuneus/PCC) [as well as between DMN's two key nodes] is suggested to be crucial for total TEI. Our study also indicated that (a) a clear functional separation between the two key nodes of the two major intrinsic networks, DMN and the task-positive network (mPFC and DLPFC), is important for higher intrapersonal TEI, (b) brain interactions involving vision-related areas (lingual gyrus) and the key node of SCN (mPFC) are important for interpersonal TEI, and (c) control of DLPFC over the key node of SMC (AI) is important for total TEI.
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