Emotional Intelligence and Criminal Behavior

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Abstract

A large body of research links criminality to cognitive intelligence and personality traits. This study examined the link between emotional intelligence (EI) and criminal behavior. One hundred Egyptian adult male offenders who have been sentenced for theft, drug dealing or murder and 100 nonoffenders were administered the Bar-On Emotional Quotient Inventory (EQ-i). The offenders had lower levels of EI than the nonoffenders. In addition, EI varied as a function of the types of offenses. Namely, it decreased in magnitude with crime severity (lowest for murder, higher for drug dealing, and highest for theft). These results converged with the direct/ indirect aggression theory suggesting that indirect aggression requires more social intelligence than physical aggression. Forensic intervention programs should therefore include EI training, especially when violence is involved.

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