Convergent Thinking and Socially Effective Responding 

Pearson, S. (University of Queensland) 

Whether it is closing a deal or finding love, saying the right thing at the right time is a crucial component of successful social functioning. Yet why do some excel at this whilst others flounder? My research suggests part of interpersonal magnetism emerges from five key cognitive abilities that are distinct from general intelligence and personality. In this presentation, I’ll present the results of two laboratory studies which focus on two of these abilities—divergent and convergent thinking. Study 1 found these two abilities predicted performance on written tasks of humour and persuasiveness amongst a sample of 245 students. Study 2 replicated this relationship amongst 211 students who were recruited in friendship groups. It also found divergent and convergent thinking partially predicted peer evaluations of humour and persuasiveness. To conclude, I will discuss preliminary results from a cross-cultural field study that investigated the relationship between divergent and convergent thinking and social network position amongst a population of Ni-Vanuatu horticulturalists. 

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Emotion, Norms, and Pro-social behaviour