Can we learn to treat one another better? A test of a social intelligence curriculum

Eva K. Zautra, Alex J. Zautra, Carmen Ecija Gallardo, Lilian Velasco

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

6 Scopus citations

Abstract

This paper reports on the first test of the value of an online curriculum in social intelligence (SI). Built from current social and cognitive neuroscience research findings, the 50 session SI program was administered, with facilitation in Spanish by classroom instructors, to 207 students from Universidad Rey Juan Carlos in Madrid as part of their undergraduate classes. All materials were translated into Castilian Spanish, including outcome measures of SI that have been used in prior studies to provide valid estimates of two key components of social intelligence: 1) Sensitivity to others and 2) confidence in one's capacity to manage social situations. Pre- and Posttest were administered to participants in the SI training, and also to 87 students in similar classes who did not receive the program who served as the control group. Gender and emotional intelligence levels at pretest also were examined as potential individual differences that might affect the impact of the program on study outcomes. Repeated measures ANOVAs on study outcomes revealed significant increases, from pre to post, in most measures of social intelligence for program participants in comparison to controls, with no effects of gender or age on program effectiveness. Prior scores on emotional intelligence were not a prerequisite for learning from the program. Some findings suggest ways the program may be improved to have stronger effects. Nonetheless, the findings indicate that the SI program tested here shows considerable promise as a means to increase the willingness of young adults to take the perspective of others and enhance their efficacy for initiating and sustaining positive social connections.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere0128638
JournalPLoS One
Volume10
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 15 2015

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ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Medicine(all)

Cite this

Zautra, E. K., Zautra, A. J., Gallardo, C. E., & Velasco, L. (2015). Can we learn to treat one another better? A test of a social intelligence curriculum. PLoS One, 10(6), [e0128638]. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0128638