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  • Social Cue

    By on December 27, 2008

    Quick Definition: Signals that are given, usually consciously during a social interaction, that communicate a person’s thoughts or expected actions at certain intervals of a group’s activity.

    Full Definition:

    Social cues help us understand other people better and facilitate non-verbal communication. A well known social cue, for example, is to introduce new members to existing group members. Thus, Mystery’s “Introduce me. It is the polite thing to do” leverages the expectations of this social cue. Examples of an event with many social cues is at a dinner party,  where the host makes a toast, guests sit down and wait to start eating when the host does, etc. These are all part of the commonly known and accepted social cues that govern how an event or group of people should behave in certain situations.

    Understanding social cues shows social intelligence, but a complete adherence to them can also express conformity. Thus, the most important thing for a PUA is to be aware of social cues and make his own decisions of whether or not to follow them. Social cues can also differ greatly from country to country. In Indonesia, for example, it is extremely disrespectful to touch someone else with your left hand because it is commonly believed that the left hand is also the hand that uses toilet paper to clean the person’s behind.


    Do you notice the social cues we got to politely leave from that cliquish group of people?

    Related Terms: Social Programming, Male Pattern Blindness, Subcommunication, Social Hierarchy

    Source: Behavioral Psychology

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    • Joseph

      Odd…my parents say that I’ve got Asperger’s Syndrom, and they’ve told me that “Asperger’s syndrom is when you can’t read social cues”, but I know how to read social cues just fine…

    • John Schutte

      With Asperger’s the inability to process social cues comes from sensory deficits related to cognitive processing. It does not imply that you can not read social cues, so much as you may likely lack the ability to recognize them as they happen in real time – in effect, you see them retrospectively.

      Think of it like this:

      Sarcasm is often a topic which those with Autism (in general) have a hard time recognizing. Children with Autism often take the sarcastic statements literally “in the moment” only reflecting afterwards that the statements “don’t make sense.” This failure to recognize the social cues leads to literal interpretations of the statement, thus “failing to see the humor,” or “not getting the joke.”

      Another key area is the inability to recognize “turn taking,” in the sense that you likely don’t recognize that others are patiently waiting, or signaling that it is “their turn.” Again, in retrospect you will likely re-process the event, and then react accordingly after cognitively processing the event after it has occurred.

      Adults, and teenagers with Autism will learn these skills later in life through various experiences, but only if they have had the social training to do so. Others may never learn them, as the brain may lack the physical mechanisms to process these neuronal events (i.e. smaller prefrontal cortex, overactive amygdala).

      Ask yourself this:

      Have friends/family ever been frustrated with you over “not sharing?”

      Do your peers seem to laugh at statements you don’t see as being funny (though not offensive)?

      Have people ever said, you take things too literally?

      If so, then you may be missing the social cues that you’re parents are referring to.

      Hope that helps!

    • Shucks..

      Dammit… I think I have Aspergers >_< …. Dammit

      • That usually means you are VERY good with at least one thing

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