Alone, we go faster. But with many, we especially learn to know each other better. And it can be useful. Here’re some points on how our social interactions impact our behavior.
Look to better perceive
Whether we are introverted or extroverted, contact with other people has an extremely positive effect on us. They improve the memorization of a situation. They generate more altruistic behaviors as well as a more positive perception of the people with whom we interact. And they even allow you to have better self-awareness. The best part is that these benefits take place without us realizing it.
If you’re not the talkative type, know that even in the absence of verbal exchange, social contact brings benefits. Exchanging eye contact also activates these positive effects in our brains. That’s why when you’re told it’s important to look a recruiter in the eye during an interview. It really matters – avoid too-long stares though.
Also read: Qualities to stand out in an interview
The origin of these effects
Why do our social interactions affect us so much and in such a positive way? The answer lies in our evolutionary history: we are fundamentally social animals. Our self is formed in contact with others . This is true for the evolution of our species as much as it is for our personal life history.
At the individual level, social experiences have a facilitating role in the development of our sense of identity. By realizing our differences and similarities with those around us, we gradually define and redefine the essential parameters of our identity. That is to say what characterizes us as unique individuals. And that’s why social interactions are essential in building a sense of self both in childhood and in our adult lives.
We reach ourselves in front of the other, man realizes that he can be nothing (in the sense that we say you’re witty, or mean, or jealous) unless others recognize it as such. The other is indispensable to the knowledge that I have of myself. Thus we immediately discover a world that we will call intersubjectivity, and it is in this world that man decides what he is and what others are. In other words, the self is defined by interactions with others.
Sartre was a philosopher, but he had already understood what would later be demonstrated by neuroscientists. The self is, in a way, the neural trace of past experiences of our organism in interaction with its environment – an essentially social environment for humans. It helps to understand how we construct our sense of identity over the course of our lives . First comes a sense of embodiment or a sense of one’s own body as differentiated from the rest of the world. Second, a sense of self built in interactions with others. And finally, the consciousness of an integrated self in society.
Well-honed (and useful) Evolution mechanisms
The cerebral mechanisms which allow us to have a social life would have been selected in a privileged way during the evolution of the human being. For what ? Because a reflective self able to anticipate the actions of others is a real advantage in a complex social society.
Theory of Mind
Our societies are organized around collectivist behavior on a large scale. Our survival depends on the existence of others and our ability to interact with them. In this regard, the role of our brain would be above all to be able to build mental models capable of anticipating the reaction of our fellow human beings and reacting appropriately. This is called the theory of mind .
Our brain machinery would have evolved to allow us to quickly detect non-verbal cues that indicate the direction of others’ attention. Like the look. We can know where his intention is directed, if we know the direction in which someone is looking. So that’s going to help us gauge what he’s thinking and what his next action is going to be. For example, if someone keeps looking at their watch while you’re talking to them, you might suspect that they’re probably pressed for time – or that you’re bored to death… will soon interrupt you to leave.
The detection of these non-verbal social signals such as facial expressions, gazes & biological movements is essential to react appropriately in our social environment.
Also, when we sense that another person’s attention is focused on us, it naturally leads us to focus our attention on ourselves. To use a quote from the poet Arthur Rimbaud: “I am someone else”. And to be self-aware is to be able to become the object of one’s own attention. It is for this reason that social interactions also help us to know ourselves better and to have better self-awareness . Knowing yourself well is a crucial step in finding your way and succeeding in landing the job you are aiming for. Think about it before your next interview.