Currently, socialization among college students on campus is an area of interest for many researchers. The interest is related to the transition to college life and independent living as well as developing new social skills. Because social skills require individuals to use attention and processing speed, this study aimed to examine this relationship using the Useful Field of View (UFoV) test. A total of 48 undergraduate college students participated in a cross-sectional study over a period of two months. This exploratory study revealed some interesting and new ways to evaluate social competence and to link it to the sub tests of the UFoV (processing speed, selective attention, and divided attention). Gender and racial differences were found in relation to social competence. Differences were also found in the levels of selective attention between genders and between sexual orientation groups. The study also revealed correlations between depression and some of the subscales of social competence as well as the total score for social competence. Due to the exploratory nature of the study and the lack of previous research in the area of UFoV and social competence, and because the study had a small sample with a homogenous attribute, a larger study with a diverse sample is needed to better understand the relationship between these concepts.
College Students; Attention; Processing Speed; Socialization; Social Competence
The socialization of college students has been studied in multiple contexts, including its relation to online social media use, parental attachment, adjustment to college life, and life satisfaction [1,2]. College students face increasingly more challenges related to social skills and social competence, which have been linked to internet communication and online identities while adjusting to colligate life . Some of these challenges have been associated with deficits in attention and processing ability among individuals diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and other neuropsychiatric disorders . Useful Field of View (UFoV) is a tool designed to assess processing speed for fast visual detection as well as selective and divided attention. Initially, the tool was created to measure the potential for car crashes among older adults. When considering the usefulness of this tool for measuring other aspects of life, in the present study, we suggest that, people can use it to safely and appropriately engage in social interactions. Each person in the interaction will need to be mindful of the verbal and nonverbal information presented to them, process that information, and respond based on the content and what was processed . In essence, social competence is a skill that contains social, emotional, cognitive, and behavioral aspects needed for successful adaption in social settings. To the best of our knowledge, this study is the first to explore the potential relationship between UFoV and social competence. In previous research, UFoV has most often been studied in relation to the driving performance and crash rates of older adults because visual attention and information processing impact many aspects of daily life . However, to date, no studies have shed light on the impact these aspects of UFoV have on socialization and social competence. Attentional differences underly the antisocial behavior of some individuals, including psychopaths and low-socialization college students [7,8], but it has not been determined whether the different attentional concepts included in UFoV (selective attention, divided attention, processing speed) are directly correlated with levels of socialization, including social skills and social competence.