Human beings are social animals! Humans typically want to be with other people. People in social isolation suffer terribly. Loneliness (which can be measured with Psytoolkit here) is a very unpleasant feeling.

Part of our social nature is that we need to be able to understand and interprete others, and this ability is known as social intelligence.

There are different definitions of social intelligence, for example:

  • The ability to understand others

  • The skill of successfully interacting with others

People clearly vary in their social intelligence; some people are better than others. The first video in the tip below explains this brilliantly.

On YouTube, there are good expert videos about social intelligence. Like this shorter one and this lecture by the famous Daniel Goleman, who has done much work on Social Intelligence.

The Tromsø Social Intelligence Scale has been developed at the University of Tromsø by Silvera, Martinussen, & Dahl (2001).

Did you know that the University of Tromsø is the northernmost University in the world?

There are other scales that measure aspects of this too, such as emotional intelligence (find a test of EQ here in the PsyToolkit survey library).

The table below is based on the paper’s table 4. Each subscale is based on 7 items on a 7-point scale; thus, they have possible scores between 7 and 49.

subscale men women

Social Information Processing



Social Skills



Social Awareness



According to the authors of the scale, The TSIS is unbiased in terms of gender and age.

Run the demo

It seems that this scale can be used for research, but you need to acknowledge the authors and their research paper when writing about it (Silvera et al., 2001).


This is a simple scale question with some reverse coded items. Note that the questions have been translated by the authors of the paper from the Norwegian language.

The survey code for PsyToolkit

Copy and paste this code to your PsyToolkit account if you want to use the scale in your own online research project
scale: agree
- Describes me extremely poorly
- .
- .
- .
- .
- .
- Describes me extremely well

l: tsis
t: scale agree
o: width 50%
q: For each item, indicate how well it describes you on a scale from 1 (describes me extremely poorly) to 7 (describes me extremely well):
- I can predict other peoples' behavior.
- {reverse} I often feel that it is difficult to understand others' choices.
- I know how my actions will make others feel.
- {reverse} I often feel uncertain around new people who I don't know.
- {reverse} People often surprise me with the things they do.
- I understand other peoples' feelings.
- I fit in easily in social situations.
- {reverse} Other people become angry with me without me being able to explain why.
- I understand others' wishes.
- I am good at entering new situations and meeting people for the first time.
- {reverse} It seems as though people are often angry or irritated with me when I say what I think.
- {reverse} I have a hard time getting along with other people.
- {reverse} I find people unpredictable.
- I can often understand what others are trying to accomplish without the need for them to say anything.
- {reverse} It takes a long time for me to get to know others well.
- {reverse} I have often hurt others without realizing it.
- I can predict how others will react to my behavior.
- I am good at getting on good terms with new people.
- I can often understand what others really mean through their expression, body language, etc.
- {reverse} I frequently have problems finding good conversation topics.
- {reverse} I am often surprised by others' reactions to what I do.

l: score_sp
t: set
- sum $tsis.1 $tsis.3 $tsis.6 $tsis.9 $tsis.14 $tsis.17 $tsis.19

l: score_sk
t: set
- sum $tsis.4 $tsis.7 $tsis.10 $tsis.12 $tsis.15 $tsis.18 $tsis.20

l: score_sa
t: set
- sum $tsis.2 $tsis.5 $tsis.8 $tsis.11 $tsis.13 $tsis.16 $tsis.21

l: feedback
t: info
q: Your scores:<br>
<li>Social information processing (possible range 7-49): {$score_sp}
<li>Social skills (possible range: 7-49): {$score_sk}
<li>Social awareness (possible range: 7-49): {$score_sa}


  • D.H. Silvera, M. Martinussen, & T. I. Dahl. (2001). The Tromsø Social Intelligence Scale, a self-report measure of social intelligence. Scandinavian Journal of Psychology, 42, 313-319.