Relationships among stress, emotional intelligence, cognitive intelligence, and cytokines

Ye Ha Jung, Na Young Shin, Joon Hwan Jang, Won Joon Lee, Dasom Lee, Yoobin Choi, Soo Hee Choi, Do Hyung Kang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

1 Scopus citations


The brain has multiple functions, and its structures are very closely related to one another. Thus, the brain areas associated with stress, emotion, and intelligence are closely connected. The purpose of this study was to investigate the multiple associations between stress and emotional intelligence (EI), between EI and intelligence quotient (IQ), between cytokines and stress, and between cytokines and IQ. We measured the stress, EI, cognitive intelligence using IQ, and cytokine levels of 70 healthy subjects. We also analyzed the association of cytokines with IQ according to hemispheric dominance using the brain preference indicator (BPI). We found significant negative correlations between stress and the components of EI, such as emotional awareness and expression, emotional thinking, and emotional regulation. High levels of anger, which is a component of stress, were significantly related to poor emotional regulation. Additionally, emotional application was positively correlated with full-scale IQ scores and scores on the vocabulary, picture arrangement, and block design subtests of the IQ test. High IL-10 levels were significantly associated with low stress levels only in the right-brain-dominant group. High IL-10 and IFN-gamma levels have been associated with high scores of arithmetic intelligence. TNF-alpha and IL-6 were negatively associated with vocabulary scores and full-scale IQ, but IL-10 and IFN-gamma were positively associated with scores on the arithmetic subtest in left-brain-dominant subjects. On the other hand, IL-10 showed positive correlations with scores for vocabulary and for vocabulary and arithmetic in right-brain-dominant subjects. Furthermore, we found significant linear regression models which can show integrative associations and contribution on emotional and cognitive intelligence. Thus, we demonstrated that cytokines, stress, and emotional and cognitive intelligence are closely connected one another related to brain structure and functions. Also, the pro-inflammatory cytokines TNF-alpha and IL-6 had negative effects, whereas the anti-inflammatory cytokines (e.g., IL-10 and IFN-gamma) showed beneficial effects, on stress levels, and multiple dimensions of emotional and cognitive intelligence. Additionally, these relationships among cytokines, stress, and emotional and cognitive intelligence differed depending on right and left hemispheric dominance.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere15345
JournalMedicine (United States)
Issue number18
StatePublished - 1 May 2019


  • cytokines
  • emotional intelligence
  • functional connection
  • hemispheric dominance
  • intelligence quotient
  • stress

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