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