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For Group Leaders: Action Sociometric on Interpersonal Attraction
by Alton Barbour, Ph.D., TEP Denver, Colorado



Page: 1/2


                                                                        FOR GROUP LEADERS

ACTION SOCIOMETRIC ON INTERPERSONAL ATTRACTION


To read or hear about sociometry is one thing, but to see it in action is something entirely different. The purpose of this exercise is to move the study of sociometry from the purely cognitive to the experiential. If people are able to put sociometry into action and participate in a sociometric group experience, it begins to make more sense to them, and it is more likely to stay with them as enduring knowledge. All of the following criteria are grounded in the academic research on attraction.

The exercise begins with a class or with group members all standing. You explain that you are going to provide them with a number of criteria which are significant determiners of who is attracted to whom and for what reasons. What you are going to ask them to do is to make a number of choices of the other people in the room based on these criteria.


INSTRUCTIONS: Once the criterion is announced, they will look around the room and pick the person who most fits that criterion, not just pick the closest person. They will move to that person and place a hand on that person’s shoulder. While this is in action, it is quite likely that the person they are choosing will also be choosing someone based on the same criterion. However, they can expect that some of the choices will be mutual because of the “tele effect.” If no one fits the criterion, then they should choose no one, but someone might still choose them. Because choices can be expected to be unequally distributed, each choice might lead to the formation of a small group, or to a chain of choices. But their discussion should be mostly with the person they have chosen or with the person who has chosen them. Once the choice has been made, they will be asked to talk with that person about why that person fits that particular criterion of attraction. With different criteria, naturally, there will be different persons chosen. Each discussion should last from five to ten minutes, or until the pairs or groups seem to begin to run out of things to say to each other.


IT IS EXTREMELY IMPORTANT AT THE BEGINNING FOR EVERYONE TO UNDERSTAND THAT BY CHOOSING ONE PERSON THEY ARE NOT REJECTING OTHERS. PEOPLE WHO BELIEVE THIS BECOME IMMOBILIZED AND UNABLE TO CHOOSE. A CHOICE IS A CHOICE AND NOT A REJECTION. EQUALLY, IF YOU ARE NOT CHOSEN, YOU ARE NOT BEING REJECTED. IT IS LIKELY THAT IF PERSONS WERE ALLOWED SECOND AND THIRD CHOICES, YOU WOULD BE CHOSEN. INSTEAD, IT SHOULD BE NOTED THAT PEOPLE ARE OFTEN ATTRACTED TO OTHERS, BUT RARELY HAVE THE LICENSE OR THE OPPORTUNITY TO TELL THEM ABOUT IT. THIS IS THAT RARE OPPORTUNITY. AND IN THAT SENSE, EACH CHOICE IS AN INTERPERSONAL GIFT TO THAT OTHER PERSON. Ready for the criteria? Turn the page over.








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