The Social Intelligence Quiz
Toxic vs. Nourishing Scale
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Dr. Karl Albrecht
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In his landmark book Social Intelligence: the New Science of Success (Wiley, 2005), Dr. Karl Albrecht offers the following definitions:

  • Social Intelligence: the ability to get along well with others, and to get them to cooperate with you.

  • "Toxic" behavior: A consistent pattern of behavior that makes others feel devalued, inadquate, angry, frustrated, or guilty.

  • "Nourishing" behavior: A consistent pattern of behavior that makes others feel valued, capable, loved, respected, and appreciated.


"The deepest craving in every human being
is the desire to be appreciated."
~ William James, pioneer of
modern psychology


For each of the pairs of opposite behaviors on the list below, think carefully — and honestly — about how they might describe you (or the person you're rating, if not yourself). Click one of the numbered columns from 0 through 4, to show how consistently you believe you behave one way vs. the other.

Click 0 if you often engage in the most toxic behavior, 1 for less often, 2 for an equal mixture of both toxic and nourishing behaviors, 3 for mostly nourishing behavior, and 4 for the most nourishing behavior.

Your net "T-N" score will be the sum of all the item scores. The highest possible score – all nourishing behaviors – would be 100 points. The lowest possible score – all toxic behaviors – would be zero. Items left unanswered will default to zero.

When you've selected all your ratings, click the "Get Score" button and scroll to the bottom of the page to see your net "T-N" score.

Note: the comparison questions (gender, age, etc.) are necessary for anonymous statistical analysis. We do not set cookies, or identify you or your computer in any way. The name field is just for your convenience in studying the report.

Questions? Send Us an Email
About the Person You're Rating? Name:  You're Rating?  Yourself   Another Person
Gender?  Male   Female   Other/Un-ID Age (if known, or approximate)? 
Education?  Less than HS Diploma   HS Diploma   Some College   College Degree   Adv. Degree(s)   Unknown/Un-ID
Click One:
Toxic Behavior 0 1 2 3 4 Nourishing Behavior
Unfriendly demeanor, keep-away signals Wearing a friendly, inviting expression
Being moody, snapping at others Showing tolerance, being cheerful
Ignoring or snubbing others Acknowledging and affirming others
Condescending, patronizing, parenting others Communicating straight, adult to adult
Laughing loudly; annoying machine-gun laugh Laughing politely
Joking inappropriately, or in bad taste Using humor constructively
Overusing profanity or coarse language Suiting your language to the situation
Racial, ethnic, or gender-based slurs Referring to other communities respectfully
Monopolizing the conversation Inviting others to share the air time
Disagreeing rudely or aggressively Disagreeing politely, exchanging views
Expressing dogmatic or intolerant opinions Acknowledging the value of others’ views
Interrupting others, talking over them Hearing others out
Ridiculing, humiliating, putting others down Affirming others; empathizing
Shooting down others' ideas Listening appreciatively, without judging
Bragging, scoring status points Praising others, giving them credit
Pessimistic, negative, defeatist language Optimistic, positive, upbeat language
Bitching, complaining, "dumping your bucket" Expressing tolerance, seeing the positive
Sarcasm, verbal barbs, zingers Kidding / joking affectionately
Playing head games, manipulating others Communicating openly and honestly
Playing the victim, martyr, or injured party Handling setbacks maturely and positively
Gossiping, violating confidences Keeping confidences
Breaking promises, not keeping your word Making only promises you will keep
Insisting on getting your way Compromising, cooperating, sharing
Criticizing, pushing unwanted advice Offering information, ideas, options
Passing blame, accusing others Accepting / sharing responsibility