What is Social Sensitivity?

The social sensitivity is the ability of an individual to identify, perceive and understand the signs and contexts in social interactions. It means to what extent he understands the feelings and thoughts of others and to what extent he is familiar with the general knowledge of social norms.

Social Sensitivity

Through the application of the concept of social sensitivity, people are able to know the feelings of the other. The fundamental principle of social sensitivity lies in the broad knowledge of social norms.

Social sensitivity is usually represented with hands as a symbol of union and colors as a symbol of plurality

For example, a person with social sensitivity understands the signs of conversation and stops talking in order to listen to the other. The opposite would be an individual who only speaks of himself, interrupts or talks about others, ignoring the social signals to stop talking.

Social sensitivity has become a part of social intelligence and shares some similar characteristics. It is considered an important social skill, because it plays a prominent role in group performance.

Research shows that social sensitivity in a group correlates closely with the level of collective intelligence, which is defined as a general ability of the group (not just a group member) to perform a wide range of tasks. In other words, if people are socially sensitive in a group, they perform well collectively at work.

Characteristics of people with social sensitivity

  1. They have a great imagination (they are creative).
  2. They are perceptive of the feelings of others.
  3. They are good listeners and tend to be warm and careful in their relationships.
  4. They are good at dealing with social relationships and adapting well in social situations.
  5. They accept people for what they are, with their differences.
  6. They have an extensive knowledge of social rules and norms.
  7. They express deep concern about the adequacy of their behavior and the behavior of others.
  8. They work with a lot of passion.
  9. They are aware and compassionate.
  10. They are intuitive, careful and spiritual.
  11. Have deep and intense sensations.
  12. They respect and enjoy nature, art and music.
  13. They are goals and can see beyond what others see.
  14. They take responsibility for social problems.
  15. They are interested in world affairs.
  16. They seek to improve the mood of others.

On the other hand, as a characteristic in work groups, socially sensitive people tend to open up new ideas, perceive correctly and respond to the needs of team members, creating a positive environment to produce new ideas, question work and share responsibilities.


Ways to handle socially sensitive skills

According to Survival Guide for the highly sensitive person (The Highly Sensitive Person’s Survival Guide) by Elaine Aaron, people with social sensitivity must develop the ability to manage their skills. Here are the reasons.

  • Emotionally, highly sensitive individuals are easily stimulated to a point where they can experience great pain or great joy. They may have the combination of an introvert and an extrovert, because in their personality traits they need themselves to focus, but they also like to connect with other people and their environment.
  • Highly sensitive people need time and space to be alone to process what they absorb. When it comes to feelings, they may have low tolerance for noise or anything too strong, so it is convenient for them to connect with nature and to do regular exercise, relaxation, meditation and other activities that go with their nature to calm down after the on stimulation.
  • In addition, they have to learn to find a balance to give and receive love. It is important to realize that self-sacrifice that leads to emotional deprivation is not healthy.
  • And last but not least, these individuals have to find meaning in their life. All humanity desires, but these people this is a real need. Their deepest desire is to help others to be happy, and they can use their skills to draw their creative side and make this world a better place for everyone, even from a small step.

Social sensitivity studies

  • According to Baldwin M. Camino (2010), genes that affect brain function can influence the adoption and formation of cultural norms and, in turn, culture can also shape expression and gene selection.
  • According to studies by Casper (2002) and Kim-Cohen (2006), in the interaction between genes and the environment, it was observed that exposure to abuse or other ill-treatment during childhood significantly increases the probability of engaging in antisocial behaviors in adulthood.
  • According to Fiske (1998), in collectivist cultures, relationships are enduring because of the social bonds that are materialized by mutual obligations between family members, clan, or religion. These relationships are so outstanding that the self is defined by them.
  • Adams and Plait (2003) assert in their study that in individualistic cultures, where there is a high degree of focus on personal autonomy, individual needs often replace the needs of the group. Therefore, relationships are more transient, which may lead to the perception that the individual is not a part of a social network.
  • According to Yamaguchi’s (1994) research, a greater sensitivity to rejection signals and a greater concern about the consequences of rejection could lead to the subjection of interest to the internal group, a hallmark of collectivism. This can encourage the reification of social relationships in order to reduce the risk of losing their own social network.

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