An investigation of the content and context of social intelligence

Thumbnail Image
Mauthe, Keith Frederick
University of Lethbridge. Faculty of Education
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
Lethbridge, AB : University of Lethbridge, Faculty of Education, 1989
Subjects' views and conceptions of social intelligence were investigated by having 40 adults, male inmates in an Alberta correctional centre rate the importance of 20 behavioral characteristics representing the domain of social intelligence. Social intelligence was defined as a person's ability to understand others and to act wisely in social situations. The 20 characteristics, derived from an earlier study by Ford and Miura (1983), were rated for each of three common social contexts by having subjects think of the kind of person who would be a close personal friend, a teacher, or a person in a conflict. The following research questions were addressed in the study: a) How do adult, male inmates in an Alberta correctional centre view the construct of social intelligence? b) Do subjects' ratings of the 20 characteristics that describe social intelligence form factors that resemble the clusters identified by subjects rating the same 20 characteristics in a study by Ford and Miura (1983)? c) How do subjects' ratings of social intelligence differ among the three social contexts investigated? d) Is there a common core of social intelligence characteristics that subjects rate as important across all three social contexts? Descriptive statistics revealed that subjects generally rated the 20 characteristics as quite high in importance in all three social contexts. However, the characteristics were rated highest in importance in the context "A teacher", followed by "A close personal friend" and "A person in conflict". Factor analyses revealed that subjects' ratings in the present study shared some similarities in structure with the clusters or categories of characteristics identified by subjects in the earlier study by Ford and Miura (1983). Analyses of variance revealed several significant differences when sujects' ratings of importance of the 20 characteristics and four categories of social intelligence were compared across contexts. In the present study, a common core of four characteristics of social intelligence were ranked highly in importance across all three social contexts. Findings from the present study provide support for the existence of the categories "Prosocial skills" and "Social-instrumental skills" as identified in the study by Ford and Miura (1983). The importance of studying the construct of social intelligence in particular social contexts and particular populations was also demonstrated. Finally, the implications of the findings of the present study are discussed in relation to the planning and delivery of inmate education programs as well as the continuing study of the construct of social intelligence.
xii, 82 leaves : ill. ; 28 cm.
Social intelligence , Prisoners -- Alberta -- Lethbridge -- Psychology , Dissertations, Academic