Elizabeth J Austin University of Edinburgh

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Elizabeth J Austin University of Edinburgh

Willingness to take Ph.D. students: Yes

I am particularly interested in recruiting PhD students to work on the following topics: Development of new tests of emotional intelligence (EI). Examining the dark side’ of EI. Individual differences in visual processing of emotional and social stimuli. Personality, EI and decision-making.

Research Interests

My research focuses on individual differences in personality, intelligence and emotional intelligence and uses a combination of experimental and questionnaire methods to examine both fundamental measurement issues and the ways in which these cognitive and dispositional differences relate to key aspects of behaviour and life experiences.  Within the measurement area, I have a particular focus on developing and validating new tests of emotional intelligence (EI), with an emphasis on establishing which (if any) facets of EI meet the criteria for inclusion within the intelligence domain, and on the examination of the currently under-researched “darker” aspects of EI, such as the self-serving use of emotional capabilities to manipulate the behaviour of others.   In the area of researching behaviour, I have studied individual differences in performance on emotion-processing tasks and am contributing to a collaborative programme which is employing techniques such as eye-tracking to investigate individual differences in emotional and social perception in greater depth.  In the area of questionnaire studies, my recent work on trait EI has examined the relationships between EI and coping (two constructs which are conceptually linked but not identical), with emotion-focussed coping and task-focussed coping being found to be respectively most closely linked with emotion regulation and adaptability EI subcomponents.  Another recent project has examined the associations between the Big Five personality traits and traits linked to the broader autism phenotype in the general population.

Research Groups


1970 – 1974 Somerville College, Oxford, B.A., Class 1

1974 – 1976 Wolfson College, Oxford, D. Phil.


Courses and other teaching activities 1998-present

MSc Psychometrics course
MSc lectures on Research Methods
MSc dissertation supervision
Honours-level Psychometrics, Differential Psychology, Methodology
Supervision of 3rd and 4th year research projects, 3rd year literature reviews.
4th year tutorials
3rd year seminars
2nd year Differential Psychology lectures
1st year tutorials

Administrative Roles

2009-2011 Psychology Undergraduate Teaching Director
2009-2010 Convenor, Psychology Undergraduate Board of Examiners
2007-2009 Member of Psychology Ethics Committee.
2007-2008 Psychology QAE Committee convenor.
2007-2008 Member of PPLS QAE Committee.
2005-2010 Course organiser for 3rd year Differential Psychology.
2004-2006 Convenor, Psychology Teaching Committee.
2004-2006     Course organiser for 3rd year honours. (Coordinated the teaching of all 3rd year modules; 3rd year co-chair of the Psychology Honours exam board.)
2004-2006 Member of Psychology Staff-Student Liaison Committee.
2004-2006 Member of Psychology Research Committee
2004-2005     Course organiser for four 3rd year modules: projects, literature reviews, Methodology 1, Methodology 2
2004-2005 Administered the Psychology Research Participant Fees Fund
2000-present.  Director of Studies.


Personal webpage