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Social intelligence according to the original definition of Edward Thorndike, is "the ability to understand and manage men and women, boys and girls, to act wisely in human relations" [1]. It is equivalent to interpersonal intelligence, one of the types of intelligences identified in Howard Gardner's Theory of multiple intelligences, and closely related to theory of mind.

Some authors have restricted the definition to deal only with knowledge of social situations, perhaps more properly called social cognition or social marketing intelligence, as it pertains to trending socio-psychological advertising and marketing strategies and tactics.

According to Sean Foleno, Social intelligence is a person’s competence to comprehend his or her environment optimally and react appropriately for socially successful conduct.

Scientific studies[edit | edit source]

There are various types of intelligence. As society became more complex, intellectual competences became more sophisticated. This competence is social intelligence and can be defined as the intelligence that lies behind group interactions and behaviours.

This type of intelligence is closely related to cognition and emotional intelligence, and can also be seen as a first level in developing systems intelligence.

Research psychologists studying social cognition and social neuroscience have discovered many principles which human social intelligence operates. In early work on this topic, psychologists Nancy Cantor and John Kihlstrom outlined the kinds of concepts people use to make sense of their social relations (e.g., “What situation am I in and what kind of person is this who is talking to me?”), and the rules they use to draw inferences (“What did he mean by that?”) and plan actions (“What am I going to do about it?”)

In 2005, business writer Karl Albrecht proposed a five-part model of social intelligence in his book Social Intelligence: the New Science of Success, presented with the acronym "S.P.A.C.E." - 1) Situational awareness, 2) Presence, 3) Authenticity, 4) Clarity, and 5) Empathy.

More recently, popular science writer Daniel Goleman has drawn on social neuroscience research to propose that social intelligence is made up of social awareness (including empathy, attunement, empathic accuracy, and social cognition) and social facility (including synchrony, self-presentation, influence, and concern).[2]

Psychotherapy often involves helping people to modify their patterns of social intelligence, particularly those that cause them problems in their interpersonal relations. Some efforts are also underway to use computer-based interventions to help people develop their own social intelligence. Paul Ekman, for example, has created the MicroExpression Training Tool, to allow people to practice identifying the brief emotional expressions that flit across people’s faces. The website offers a research-based software program with which people learn to modify their mind habits, focusing attention on positive social feedback and inhibiting attention to the social threats and rejections that can cause stress. Other interventions, for example to help autistic individuals develop social perception and interaction skills, are also in development.

Educational researcher Raymond H. Hartjen asserts that expanded opportunities for social interaction enhances intelligence. Traditional classrooms do not permit the interaction of complex social behavior. Instead children in traditional settings are treated as learners who must be infused with more and more complex forms of information. Few educational leaders he adduces have taken this position as a starting point to develop a school environment where social interaction could flourish. If we follow this line of thinking then children must have an opportunity for continuous every day interpersonal experiences in order to develop a keen well developed 'inter-personal psychology'. As schools are structured today very few of these skills, critical for survival in the real world, are allowed to develop. Because we so limit the development of the skills of "natural psychologist" in traditional schools our students as graduates, enter the job market handicapped to the point of being incapable of surviving on their own. In contrast those students that have had an ability to develop their skills as a "natural psychologist" in multiage classrooms and at democratic settings rise head and shoulders over their less socially skilled peers. They have a good sense of self, know what they want out of life and have the skills necessary to begin their quest.[3]

Measuring social intelligence[edit | edit source]

Social IQ is a measure of social intelligence compared to other people of their age. Like IQ, Social IQ is based on the "100 point" scale, in which 100 is the average score. Scores of 140 or above are considered to be very high.

Social IQ has until recently been measured by techniques such as question and answer sessions. These sessions assess the person's pragmatic abilities to test eligibility in certain special education courses, however some tests have been developed to measure social intelligence. One of these is the EQ (Emotional Intelligence) test. This test can be used when diagnosing autism spectrum disorders, including autism and Asperger syndrome. Other, non-autistic or semi-autistic conditions such as semantic pragmatic disorder or SPD, schizophrenia, dyssemia and ADHD, are also of relevance. People with low social IQ will be considered "child like" and immature, even at the adult age group. This test can also be used when assessing people that might have some sort of a disorder such as schizophrenia or ADHD.

A good way to measure Social IQ is to use the basic IQ system, adapted for social skills. Most people have social IQs from 85-115, but many exceed these limits. People with social IQs below 80 may have an autism spectrum disorder, such as Asperger syndrome or a severe case of some other disorder such as schizophrenia or maybe just generally low in general intelligence. These people may have trouble with making friends, and with communication, and might need some social skill training or extra support from specialists.

These people may not be hired as quickly as other people for employment, since they may not have the require interpersonal communication and social skills for success in the workforce. These people may work well in an office desk job, stay at home job or jobs that don't require a lot of interaction, such as construction. People with social IQs over 120 are considered very socially skilled and well adjusted, and could work well with jobs that involve direct contact and communication with people.

The following example chart shows (assuming a person aged 17 is being tested, with an average social IQ of 100 for that age) how a person's social age can be higher or lower based on scores in the social IQ test.:

Social IQ Social Age
120 (above average - socially mature for age) 20.4
110 18.7
100 (average) 17
90 15.3
80 13.6
70 (below this level, help is recommended) 11.9
60 10.2
50 8.5
40 6.8
30 5.1
20 3.4

See also[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Thorndike, E. L. (1920). Intelligence and its use. Harper's Magazine 140: 227–235.
  2. Goleman, Daniel (2006). Social Intelligence: The New Science of Human Relationships, Bantam Books.
  3. Hartjen H., Raymond. The Preeminent Intelligence - Social IQ. Retrieved March 5, 2010.

External links[edit | edit source]

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