Europe's Journal of Psychology asks for an article

Professor Van Sloan
Stanford University, MBA

Dear Sir,

EJOP's editors warmly invite you to write an article on your favorite
research interest, social quotient or any other topic that could be
subsumed to the organisational psychology field, one of the fields of
great interest to you.

We are committed to promoting first class information to our peers.
We would also like to wish you good luck with your projects!

The Coordinating Editors

Europe's Journal of Psychology

Article provided:

Psychologists comment on Measuring Social Skills

by Van Sloan, MBA (bio at

Recently, a system has been developed which produces unbiased measures of both how well a person gets along with others (Social Quotient or SQ) and that person's social or interpersonal intelligence (one of Gardner's Multiple Intelligences). Numbers for each measure have been computed for over 2500 high school students in the United States. This new approach has generated favorable comment among leading psychologists:

Stephen Ceci, H.L. Carr Chaired Professor of Developmental Psychology, Cornell University "I think it [SQ] could prove very useful in predicting school and work success that is statistically independent of any variance due to IQ."

Philip Zimbardo, Professor of Psychology, Stanford University, and moderator of PBS TV programs on psychology " We are developing a new psychology content site, Real our content will be from leading experts in each of the domains we will feature...I would like to include this [SQ] scale and access to your social quotient material on our site, with appropriate citations."

Robert Sternberg, IBM Professor of Psychology and Education, Yale University "SQ type measures have the advantage of being quantifiable and reflecting colleagues' opinions...they certainly measure an important aspect of social intelligence....In any case I thought your article was thoughtful and interesting and appreciated your sending it to me. And I definitely agree the time has come for Gardner - not to mention Goleman [author of Emotional Intelligence] - to collect some data!"

Howard Gardner, Professor in the Graduate School of Education, Harvard University "I am not sure to what extent SQ is related to interpersonal intelligence...At least for now I have no interest in creating my own set of assessments for my multiple intelligence theory. Bob [Sternberg of Yale] is welcome to give me advice, but I am equally free to go my own way."

As Gardner predicted, the data show only a minor relationship between likability and interpersonal intelligence. Employers and college admissions personnel show much more interest in an applicant's sociability (SQ) than in his social intelligence. A person's ability to deal effectively with others is a more valuable trait that simply the understanding what is happening in group situations (social intelligence). The Social Quotient system provides a measure of both talents. It has found that teachers generally do well in social intelligence scores. On the other hand, likability is strongly affected by one's charisma.

In the SQ system, students in a classroom privately rank each other on a social preference question, such as "Whom would you want to spend a lunch break with?" Responses on this particular question show almost no correlation between a student's social and IQ skills, as predicted by psychology professor Ceci above. SQ seems to measure a fundamental human trait that is at least as important for success (of all types) as is IQ. Interestingly, non-whites tend to score slightly higher than whites in SQ, the opposite of their IQ scores.

The Social Quotient system also develops a measure of social intelligence by comparing the similarity of one student's social marks of others to the collected group assessment of each classmate. A large similarity indicates a student has a good understanding of the social dynamics in the class. While understanding interpersonal relationships could help an individual become more likable, the numbers show that it does not help much. Students have a better chance of becoming more likable by practicing the traits that correlation analysis shows are most important to social skills. In California high schools, these traits include: general happiness, an upbeat positive personality, smiling, and really liking most people. Surprisingly, physical attractiveness and going along with the crowd were negative factors in a student's social popularity in 25 classrooms measured. Desirable traits vary somewhat by gender. For example, the greatest negative factor for males is long hair, while for females it is excess body fat. Different communities show some differences in desirable traits, but the overall patterns are similar.

Just prior to taking the Social Quotient test, students normally read a newspaper article which describes the process. This article from the Times-Herald newspaper of Vallejo CA answers many of their questions about the survey's purpose and what to expect::

Are you social?

New test determines your 'SQ'...your 'Social Quotient'

It's a one-question test. But for teen-agers, it can cause more trepidation than a physics exam. That's because it reveals what their peers think of them. Unlike the familiar IQ test, which tests intelligence, some Vallejo High School students took the "SQ" test this month. SQ stands for social quotient, and the test reportedly assessed their social skills.

Students in the health/careers classes were asked to rank their classmates according to one question: If your classmates were all sales clerks at the same store, whom would you want to help you? Students ranked each other between 1 and 5 [since changed to A-E], from the most to the least favorably. Based on a curve, the results were handed back Friday.

Asked how he scored, one student didn't bother looking up. "Huh? Oh, Fine," he mumbled, never making eye contact. He scored the equivalent of a D-plus. Students' scores won't go in their records and they won't influence their grade. No one else may ever see them although they may choose to use them when applying for jobs or to colleges. The purpose was to give students an idea of how others perceive them - while they're still young enough to do something about it." My hope is that they can learn something while they're still in school said Van Sloan, who developed the test. "My fear is they won't find out the truth until they've been turned down after five job interviews."

Sloan, a retired school district business manager, administers the test to high school students around the Bay Area. He hopes colleges eventually weigh SQ scores as seriously as they do SAT scores. "Getting along with people is as important a skills as brains," he said. "Right now colleges don't have a number that measures individual non-academic skills. But employers know social skills are more important, in certain cases, than what grade you got in algebra.

Sloan has tried using different questions for the social quotient test. He used to ask students which of their peers they wanted to spend time with during lunch break, but it just turned into a popularity contest. He also asked whom they wanted to work with on a school project, but this only showed who students thought were the brightest, he said. Asking whom they'd liked to be waited on by is a better indicator of social intelligence, he said.

In addition to the one-question test, Sloan had students fill out a questionnaire ranking themselves on things like how courteous, athletic, opinionated and happy they are. Sloan said Vallejo students ranked highest by their peers were the ones who "had good interpersonal skills like smiling a lot, an upbeat, positive attitude, and a general happiness."

Teacher Lynn Epp challenged students who complained about their low SQ scores. "This is something you have total control over," she told them. "If you don't like your score, change it. Change it by smiling, listening to others, being courteous and paying attention to people and making them feel accepted. You have total control over whether you smile at someone or blow them off with a put down."

Results from SQ tests have inspired fresh thinking

- Howard Gardner of Harvard writes: "Hi and thanks for your 
communication.  I am quite interested in the fact that likeability does not correlate
 particularly with interpersonal intelligence.   This adds something to the current 
conversation about intelligence and its relation to other virtues"

- College admissions personnel are interested in getting a number to measure applicant skills besides IQ (now well represented by school grades and SAT tests):

Marlyn McGrath Lewis, Harvard Director of Admissions "One can appreciate the appeal of a numerical scoring system such as you describe for the 'Social Quotient'"

Sara Lindgren, Pepperdine University admissions office "[SQ] could be very useful. We are attempting to rank students like this internally...It is an interesting idea."

- The SQ method could be used to measure other traits. By varying the basic question asked in the survey form, a whole range of hard-to-measure traits might be assessed. As with SQ, members of a group taking the survey must know each other to some degree. Scores on trustworthiness or other traits would reflect the consensus of peers. Unlike most psychological assessments, the SQ method completely avoids self-bias in measuring traits. This method does not come up with an absolute measure of traits like integrity, but instead presents a community assessment.

Detailed findings on Social Quotient test results can be seen at\traits_2437.htm and related pages. The same website also has many pages on IQ (as national differences at and the interplay of Social Quotient and IQ in success (starting at Questions/ comments on this article or on SQ website pages should be addressed to


Dear Van Sloan,

We would like to thank you for your quick reply. We really appreciate

it. The article, as your entire work, is really interesting.

Best wishes,

Coordinating Editors. EJOP


Go to: Outline of all pages in this website

Go to: Home Page

Comments to:

Web (this website, 170+ pages on IQ and Success skills)

The ads below are placed by - they are not necessarily endorsed by this site