‘Social Intelligence’ in Research

Social Intelligence,‘Social Intelligence’ in Research Articles as a concept, was propounded by psychologist Edward Thorndike in 1920. In his own words, Social Intelligence is “the ability to understand and manage men and women, boys and girls, and to act wisely in human relations”. So, by the very definition, the concept relates to both the cognitive aspects (the ability to understand people) and practical aspects (ability to deal with and respond towards them).

In years to come, Moss and Hunt defined it on similar lines as “the ability to get along with others” and P. E. Vernon in 1930s carried it forward by describing it as “Social intelligence is reflected in the general ability to get along with people in general, social technique or ease in society, knowledge of social matters and susceptibility to stimuli from other members of a group, as well as insight into the temporary moods or underlying personality traits of strangers”.

What followed was a lull in terms of specific research on the concept, until Gardner in 1980s proposed a novel model of multiple-intelligences with interpersonal and intrapersonal as two of them. They, together, are seen in terms of social intelligence. In his words, “social intelligence allows people to take advantage of the resources of others. We are finding that much of people’s effective intelligence is, in a sense, outside the brain. This means, you can use intelligence for other people, if you know how to reach it and how to use it. Therefore, the best strategy is to mobilize other people around you.”

So, according to him, interpersonal intelligence covers the ability to read other people’s moods, motives and other mental states; and intrapersonal includes the ability to access and assess one’s own feelings and to draw on them to guide behavior. He also believed it to be the basis of EI with a greater focus on cognition and understanding than feeling.

Researchers Ford and Tisak found both convergent and divergent validity for social intelligence. They also found that social intelligence was a better predictor of a behavioral measure of social effectiveness than was academic intelligence. In fact, overall in that decade, researchers agreed that social intelligence is distinct from general intelligence and may serve as a better predictor of behavior.

In early 1990s, Researcher Zaccaro and his associate saw social intelligence in terms of two aspects:

(a) Social understanding and

(b) Situational-appropriate behavior.

According to them, socially-intelligent individuals are aware of the social situation, including the problems and needs of others (social perceptiveness). They are also able to behave appropriately for different social situations (behavioral flexibility). health and safety awareness course

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