A comparison of emotional and cognitive intelligences in people with and without temporal lobe epilepsy


Address correspondence to Claire Isaac, Clinical Lecturer, Clinical Psychology Unit, Department of Psychology, University of Sheffield, Western Bank, Sheffield, S10 2TN, U.K. E-mail: C.L.Isaac@sheffield.ac.uk


Medial temporal lobe structures have been hypothesized to be important in emotional intelligence (EI) and social cognition. There is some evidence associating temporal lobe epilepsy (TLE) with impairments in social cognition. This study aimed to establish whether TLE is also associated with deficits in EI. Sixteen patients with TLE and 14 controls without epilepsy matched for age and current intelligence quotient were compared on measures of EI, recognition of facial expressions of emotion, and distress. Results indicated that patients with TLE showed both impaired EI and impaired recognition of facial expressions. They also reported greater psychological distress, which correlated negatively with EI. It is suggested that some of the psychosocial problems experienced by patients with TLE can be conceptualized as the consequences of deficits in EI, possibly resulting from epilepsy-related disruption to medial temporal lobe functioning.