In real-world applications such as emotion recognition from recorded brain activity, data are captured from electrodes over time. These signals constitute a multidimensional time series. In this paper, Echo State Network (ESN), a recurrent neural network with a great success in time series prediction and classification, is optimized with different neural plasticity rules for classification of emotions based on electroencephalogram (EEG) time series. Actually, the neural plasticity rules are a kind of unsupervised learning adapted for the reservoir, i.e. the hidden layer of ESN. More specifically, an investigation of Oja's rule, BCM rule and gaussian intrinsic plasticity rule was carried out in the context of EEG-based emotion recognition. The study, also, includes a comparison of the offline and online training of the ESN. When testing on the well-known affective benchmark "DEAP dataset" which contains EEG signals from 32 subjects, we find that pretraining ESN with gaussian intrinsic plasticity enhanced the classification accuracy and outperformed the results achieved with an ESN pretrained with synaptic plasticity. Four classification problems were conducted in which the system complexity is increased and the discrimination is more challenging, i.e. inter-subject emotion discrimination. Our proposed method achieves higher performance over the state of the art methods.