What is Social Thinking?

Social Thinking is a social skills program developed by Michelle Garcia Winner. The program is intended for students with social learning disabilities. Its main focus is on teaching people to think about how others perceive them.


Social thinking is what individuals do when interacting with other people: namely, they think about them. Most people take social thinking for granted, as it is generally an intuitive process that considers the points of view, emotions, and intentions of others.


The ability to think socially is required prior to the production of social skills. As children grow, successful social thinkers are able to consider the points of view, emotions, thoughts, beliefs, prior knowledge and intentions of others (this is often called perspective-taking). Social thinking occurs everywhere, when we talk, share space, walk down the street, even when we read a novel and relate to our pets. It is an intelligence that integrates information across home, work and community settings.


Because some people have trouble with social thinking, Michelle Garcia Winner created a systematized program to help people learn to think socially. Her workshop entitled “Social Thinking Across School and Home” helps develop strategies that bolster communication and friendships.