#PLENK2010 Emotional and Social Intelligence and PLENK

The sociable brain (Daniel Goleman in his book Social Intelligence): Neuroscience has discovered that our brain’s very design makes it sociable, inexorably drawn into an intimate brain-to-brain linkup whenever we engage with another person. That neural bridge lets us affect the brain-and so the body-of everyone we interact with, just as they do us.
Even our most routine encounters act as regulators in the brain, priming our emotions, some desirable, others not.  The more strongly connected we are with someone emotionally, the greater the mutual force.
Does this explain why networkers are having strong or weak ties in social networks, where emotions could play a part in its formation, development and sustainability? What would be your basis of your weak ties/connections?  Ideas or information sharing? Emotional sharing? Socialising?

In search of answers to the above questions, I explored this Bar-on Model of Emotional Social Intelligence .  It provides some important insights into emotional and social intelligence.

emotional-social intelligence is a cross section of interrelated emotional and social competencies, skills and facilitators that determine how effectively we understand and express ourselves, understand others and relate with them, and cope with daily demands.

I would also rate this article as one of the best in emotional and social intelligence that I have read, as the research was extensive, and findings based on strong evidences.

Ref to p7 of 28:

More specifically, the Bar-On model reveals that women are more aware of emotions, demonstrate more empathy, relate better interpersonally and are more socially responsible than men. On the other hand, men appear to have better self-regard, are more self-reliant, cope better with stress, are more flexible, solve problems better, and are more optimistic than women. Similar gender patterns have been observed in almost every other population sample that has been examined with the EQ-i. Men’s deficiencies in interpersonal skills, when compared with women, could explain why psychopathy is diagnosed much more frequently in men than in women; and significantly lower stress tolerance amongst women may explain why women suffer more from anxiety-related disturbances than men (American Psychiatric Association, 1994).

The above findings sound well when I reflect on my observations in social networks, though I think more researches need to be done to substantiate the claims, in order to avoid any stereotyping.

Would gender difference affect the way how people use PLENK and connect with others? This could be important to understand, and if the findings of the research are right, then this may imply that more women are able to connect with others than men in social networks due to their superior skills in empathy and emotional awareness, whereas men may be able to cope better with stress, are more flexible, solve problems better, and are more optimistic than women.

This led me to explore further…..

In this Social intelligence, innovation, and enhanced brain size in primates by Simon M. Reader and Kevin N. Laland

Individuals capable of inventing new solutions to ecological challenges, or exploiting the discoveries and inventions of others, may have had a selective advantage over less able conspecifics, which generated selection for those brain regions that facilitate complex technical and social behavior. An alternative account is that primates are making opportunistic use of information processing capabilities afforded by a large executive brain that has evolved for some other reason to cope with challenges in new flexible ways. However, as these two hypotheses are not mutually exclusive (3), our findings support the view that social learning and innovation may have been important processes behind the evolution of large brains in primates.

To the extent that innovation is a measure of asocial learning, the correlation between social learning and innovation frequencies suggests that asocial and social learning have evolved together. This pattern suggests that social and asocial learning may be based on the same processes (50), which conflicts with the widely held view that social learning requires distinct psychological abilities from asocial learning (70). However, we cannot rule out the possibility that social and asocial learning are separate, domain-specific capacities (14, 15) that have undergone correlated evolution.

If the findings of the research are right, then innovation (as a measure of asocial learning) based on the use of PLENK and social learning might have evolved together, confirming that social learning and innovation is part of the evolution in past decade.  Could we separate the social and asocial learning?  That remains a myth.

This emotional and social intelligence is just so interesting for me to explore.

Photo: From Flickr


Postscript: Just read Heli’s Designing for commitment in online communities Great insights from Heli.

Will reflect and respond.

8 thoughts on “#PLENK2010 Emotional and Social Intelligence and PLENK

  1. Hi John,
    Psychologists have learned that children form their gender identities pretty early in life within families. Sociologists have learned that a variety of factors–roles, status, religion, ethnicity–influence the men and women interact. Today people generally talk about the social construction of masculinity and femininity as something that is negotiated in particular spaces and situations. Given that people in virtual environments tend to play with identity, it may be difficult to discern whether men or women are more sociable or more socially intelligent. Gender is an unstable construct.

  2. “Given that people in virtual environments tend to play with identity, it may be difficult to discern whether men or women are more sociable or more socially intelligent. Gender is an unstable construct.” Your comments reminded me of my visits to Second Life, where I found it very difficult to discern the gender hidden behind the avatars. Do we need to know whether a man or woman is behind a virtual learning environment? I realize the risks involved if one is to converse with a stranger camouflaged with hidden agendas, and this could endanger people disclosing private personal information which could jeopardise one’s private life. Would that explain why many of our learners are still hesitant in exchanging information with others. Imagine how embarrassing it could be if someone disguised himself as a she, interacting with another woman, sharing some emotions and feelings. What would be the reaction of the other woman finding this out after then? Mrs Doubt-fire is a typical example illustrating this. But what is more harmful could be that people are so immersed into the virtual interaction that they might think it is always real. Is it always the case? I could sense many spammers and predators are trying their every means to interact with “us” who are surfing the net, and so I have been thinking of the degree of openness that one (or we) would disclose. Would these affect how sociable and socially intelligent we are? How about the thinking of our fellow learners in regard to safety in the net? I don’t think we have included that as a major dimension in social intelligence yet, haven’t we?

  3. Hi John,
    “All the world is a stage…” People “play” in virtual environments like Second Life. An avatar is an object, not a person. We used to play monopoly when I was a child. We made pretend we were property owners and entrepreneurs. We played chutes and ladders. We loved riding the roller coaster of chance. The games were objects, and our identities were fakes. People love to play, but at the end of the day, most people seek out the original human being behind the act.

    Mediated identities are constructions, something like concepts, but better. The way a person constructs his or her identity is not as important as the value he or she places on the individual who is behind the screen.

    Interesting metaphors–
    Safety in the net; net safety, safety net.
    Reality, real interaction, virtual interaction
    Intelligence, social intelligence

  4. Hi Mary,
    Thanks for your wonderful insights. The way a person constructs his or her identity is not as important as the value he or she places on the individual who is behind the screen. So, do you mean this? Those who value others are more important than those one who just construct his/her identity.

    I am still thinking about how one could achieve a balance between ones authentic self and avatar in the virtual world of games, especially when you don’t even know who those other gamers are. Does it matter? I have tried with some games, solely out of fun, and I think I don’t need to know who they are. However, I am not sure if I have attached any emotions other than a sense of joy and fun to those games. May be I haven’t got time to play with SL, and those World of Warcraft, and so haven’t learnt enough out of them.

  5. Pingback: #Change11 Lets all who want to learn learn | Learner Weblog

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