Social Thinking

Social thinking is a term for social cognition. Social Thinking is what we do when we share space with others- when sending an email, sitting in a classroom, lining up at the grocery store, reading a work of fiction, watching a funny video clip, participating in a business meeting, driving in traffic, and most of other daily activities that involve our social interpretation and related reactions.

social thinking
social thinking

We consider the context; take in the thoughts, emotions and intentions of the people with whom we are interacting and use that information to determine how we respond. How we think about people affects how we behave, which in turn affects how others respond to us, and our own emotional responses, both internal as well as external. It’s an incredibly complex process that most of us take for granted!!

Our social thinking develops naturally and becomes intuitive for most of us. This may not hold true for all, some of our extremely bright young children struggle as they face the nuanced demands of social interactions. Whether we are born with strong social thinking skills or our social thinking is relatively weak, compared to our many other strengths, it is beneficial when the complex unwritten social rules are deconstructed and taught in a linear,
more concrete and fun manner!

Social Thinking is a therapeutic framework and curriculum developed by Michelle Garcia Winner, S.L.P, that targets how to enhance and improve social thinking abilities. Teaching “Social Thinking” helps students to learn to be more mindful of the larger social learning process. This process starts in our minds and then transfers to how we behave in front of others. When people learn how to think socially and flexibly they can think anywhere. This is different from just teaching a social skill. Individuals who are taught only the “skill”, often only perform that skill in the environment in which they learned it. If a person learns to THINK, then they can carry the concept (some would say generalize) to any environment.

Social Thinking strategies teach individuals:
  • How their own social minds work – why they and others react and respond the way they do
  • How their behaviours affect those around them
  • How behaviours are affecting their own emotions, responses to and relationships with others across different social contexts.
social thinking

We consider the context; take in the thoughts, emotions and intentions of the people with whom we are interacting and use that information to determine how we respond. How we think about people affects how we behave, which in turn affects how others respond to us, and our own emotional responses, both internal as well as external. It’s an incredibly complex process that most of us take for granted!!

Our social thinking develops naturally and becomes intuitive for most of us. This may not hold true for all, some of our extremely bright young children struggle as they face the nuanced demands of social interactions. Whether we are born with strong social thinking skills or our social thinking is relatively weak, compared to our many other strengths, it is beneficial when the complex unwritten social rules are deconstructed and taught in a linear,
more concrete and fun manner!

social thinking

Social Thinking is a therapeutic framework and curriculum developed by Michelle Garcia Winner, S.L.P, that targets how to enhance and improve social thinking abilities. Teaching “Social Thinking” helps students to learn to be more mindful of the larger social learning process. This process starts in our minds and then transfers to how we behave in front of others. When people learn how to think socially and flexibly they can think anywhere. This is different from just teaching a social skill. Individuals who are taught only the “skill”, often only perform that skill in the environment in which they learned it. If a person learns to THINK, then they can carry the concept (some would say generalize) to any environment.

Social Thinking strategies teach individuals:
  • How their own social minds work – why they and others react and respond the way they do
  • How their behaviours affect those around them
  • How behaviours are affecting their own emotions, responses to and relationships with others across different social contexts.