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Social intelligence describes the capacity to effectively navigate and negotiate complex social relationships and environments. Psychologist and professor at the London School of Economics Nicholas Humphrey believes it is social intelligence or the richness of our qualitative life, rather than our quantitative intelligence, that truly makes humans what they are – for example what it's like to be a human being living at the centre of the conscious present, surrounded by smells and tastes and feels and the sense of being an extraordinary metaphysical entity with properties which hardly seem to belong to the physical world. Social scientist Ross Honeywill believes social intelligence is an aggregated measure of self and social awareness, evolved social beliefs and attitudes, and a capacity and appetite to manage complex social change. A person with a high social intelligence quotient (SQ) is no better or worse than someone with a low SQ, they just have different attitudes, hopes, interests and desires.
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". 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.
Social intelligence quotient (SQ) 
The social intelligence quotient or SQ is a statistical abstraction similar to the ‘standard score’ approach used in IQ tests with a mean of 100. Unlike the standard IQ test however it is not a fixed model. It leans more to Piaget’s theory that intelligence is not a fixed attribute but a complex hierarchy of information-processing skills underlying an adaptive equilibrium between the individual and the environment. An individual can therefore change their SQ by altering their attitudes and behaviour in response to their complex social environment.
Social intelligence hypothesis 
The ‘Social Intelligence Hypothesis’ in science asserts that complex socialization – politics, romance, family relationships, quarrels, making-up, collaboration, reciprocity, altruism – in short, social intelligence (1) was the driving force in developing the size of human brains and (2) today provides our ability to use those large brains in complex social circumstances.
It was the demands of living together that drove our need for intelligence. This idea is called the ‘Social Intelligence Hypothesis’.
Professor of early history at Reading University, Steve Mithen, believes there are two key periods of brain expansion that contextualize the social intelligence hypothesis. The first was around two million years ago when brains expanded by about 50%. So humans went from brain size of around 450cc to a brain size of around 1,000cc by 1.8 million years ago. Archaeologists noting this change in primates asked; why are brains getting larger and what is it providing? Brains wouldn't get larger just for any reasons because brain tissue is metabolically very expensive, so has to be serving an important purpose. Mithen believes the social intelligence hypothesis suggests the expansion of brain size around two million years ago was because people were living in larger groups, more complex groups, having to keep track of different people, a larger number of social relationships that required a larger brain to do so. Social intelligence therefore gives us the answer to that first expansion of brain size two million years ago.
The second increase in brain size happened between 600,000 and 200,000 years ago, and during that period the brain reached its modern capacity. Trying to explain that second expansion in brain size is still a very challenging question. Mithen’s view is that it is directly related to the evolution of language. Language is probably the most complex cognitive task we undertake. Language is directly related to social intelligence because we mainly use language to mediate our social relationships.
So social intelligence was a critical factor in the expansions of brain size – there is a co-evolution between social and cognitive complexity. And today social intelligence is pivotal in managing the complexity of being social animals.
It’s not enough just to be clever according to Professor Nicholas Humphrey. Autistic children, for example, are sometimes extremely clever. They're very good at making observations and remembering it all. However, it is argued they have low social intelligence. Chimpanzees are very clever at the level of being able to make observations and remember things. They can remember better than humans can, but they, again, are inept at handling interpersonal relationships.[dubious ] So something else is needed. What is needed is a theory of mind, a theory of how other people work from the inside. For a long time the field was dominated by behaviorism. Scientists believed that one could understand human beings, rats, or pigeons (for example) only by observing their behavior and finding correlations. More recent theories indicate that this is not true; one must consider the inner structure behaviour.
Both Nicholas Humphrey and Ross Honeywill believe it is social intelligence or the richness of our qualitative life rather than our quantitative intelligence that truly makes humans what they are – for example what it's like to be a human being living at the centre of the conscious present, surrounded by smells and tastes and feels and the sense of being an extraordinary metaphysical entity with properties which hardly seem to belong to the physical world. This is social intelligence.
Additional views 
Social intelligence is closely related to cognition and emotional 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?”)
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). Goleman’s immense research indicates that our social relationships have a direct effect on our physical health and the deeper the relationship the deeper the impact. Goleman states that some physical effects of our relationships upon our health are the blood flow of one’s body, one's breathing, one's mood (such as fatigue and depression), and even decreased power of one's immune system.
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.
The issue here is psychology versus social intelligence—as a separate and distinct perspective, seldom if ever articulated. An appropriate introduction contains certain hypothetical assumptions about social structure and function, as it relates to intelligence defined and expressed by groups, constrained by cultural expectations that assert potential realities, but make no claims or assertions that there is an "exterior" social truth to be defined and mapped—this perspective pursues the view that social structures can be defined with the admonition that what is mapped into the structure and how that information is stored, retrieved, and decided upon are variable, but can be contained in an abstract and formal grammar—a sort of game of definitions and rules that permit and project an evolving intelligence.
Two halves of the coin: one half psychology; the other half social. Unfortunately, most references to social intelligence relate to an individual's social skills. Not mentioned, and more important, is how social intelligence (speaking of a group or assembly of groups) processes information about the world and shares it with participants in the group(s). Are there social structures or can they be designed to accumulate and reveal information to the individual or to other groups. Some social structures are obviously pathological: recently I came across a statement that describes a government as a pathocracy, run by sociopaths. The bigger question is how groups and societies map the environment (both ecological, social, and personal) into a social structure. How is that structure able to contain a worldview and to reveal that view to the participants? How are decisions made?
Social Intelligence or SQ is a statistical abstraction similar to the ‘standard score’ approach used in IQ tests with a mean of 100. Scores of 140 or above are considered to be very high. SQ 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. 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. This test can also be used when assessing people that might have some sort of a disorder such as schizophrenia or ADHD.
People with low SQ are more suited to low customer contact roles, since they may not have the required interpersonal communication and social skills for success on the frontline. These people may work better in an occupation that limits social interaction. People with SQs over 120 are considered socially skilled, and may work well with jobs that involve direct contact and communication with other people.
See also 
- Ross Honeywill, Research Director, Social Intelligence Lab - http://www.socialintelligencelab.com
- Professor Nicholas Humphrey, London School of Economics - http://www.lse.ac.uk
- Thorndike, E.L. (1920). Intelligence and its use. Harper's Magazine, 140, 227-235.,
- "Piaget's developmental theory". Learningandteaching.info. 2010-02-10. Retrieved 2012-09-29.
- Steven Mithen Professor in Archaeology School of Human and Environmental Sciences University of Reading - http://www.shes.rdg.ac.uk/staff/staffdetails.asp?pid=SJM
- Benoit Hardy-Vallée, The Philosophy of Social Cognition. 2008
- Goleman, Daniel (2006). Social Intelligence: The New Science of Human Relationships. Bantam Books. ISBN 0-553-80352-2.
- Hartjen H., Raymond. The Preeminent Intelligence - Social IQ. Retrieved March 5, 2010.
- Ross Honeywill - http://www.socialintelligencelab.com
- The Social Intelligence Lab
- The Preeminent Intelligence - Social IQ, Raymond H. Hartjen
- Socially superior, Times Online
- Social Intelligence: the New Science of Success, Dr. Karl Albrecht, Wiley 2005.
- Daniel Goleman's blog and current research
- Social Intelligence, John Kihlstrom and Nancy Cantor, in R.J. Sternberg (Ed.), Handbook of intelligence, 2nd ed. (pp. 359–379). Cambridge, U.K.: Cambridge University Press.
- "Is Social Intelligence More Useful than IQ?". Talk of the Nation, NPR. October 23 2006.
- A Treatise on Messaging and Society Today: The Genesis of the Social Intelligence Architect and the Advent of the Integrated Media Services Organization (IMSO).