Social-Emotional Expertise (SEE) and Third-party Evaluations of Social Interaction Quality
Wild, Marcus Gustav
Social-emotional Expertise (SEE) is a construct theorized to incorporate both the cognitive understanding of social situations and the use of that understanding in the timing and qualities of behavior involved in individual differences in the quality of social interactions. Many constructs of social cognition and emotion, such as emotional and social intelligence and interpersonal sensitivity, are reliably assessed with self-report measures. However, these measures do not predict the quality of social interactions as measured by either expert or naïve third-party observers. We hypothesized that a self-report measure of SEE would significantly correspond with both expert and naïve third-party observers’ ratings of actual social-interaction quality. Results of Experiment 1, in which trained “expert” judges rated the interaction quality of undergraduate students participating in a mock interview, indicated that participants’ SEE scores were positively correlated with expert ratings of social-interaction quality, as well as the quality of gestures and facial expressions. The results of Experiment 2, in which naïve raters evaluated clips taken from the same video recordings used in Experiment 1, indicated that these raters perceived interactions as being of higher quality when the target individual in the interaction self-reported having higher social-emotional ability via SEE. Taken together, these results suggest that SEE scores successfully capture the behaviors that are perceived by others as contributing to individual differences in the quality of social interactions.