The Nature of Children's Stereotypes of Popularity

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The present study investigated what types of attributions and expectations children have about peers who they believe are popular or unpopular with other children. Fourth and fifth grade children (N = 135) were presented with pictures of several unacquainted peers who were described as popular or unpopular (or neither). Children were then told about several hypothetical encounters between themselves and each of the peers and were asked to explain or rate what each peer's response would be to that situation. As hypothesized, children had negative stereotypes about children who they believed were unpopular, while stereotypes about children believed to be popular were a mixture of positive and negative elements. Results confirmed past research in suggesting that a distinction must be made between sociometric and perceived popularity. Gender differences were also discussed, because the stereotypes held by boys and girls differed in several respects.


Published: LaFontana, Kathryn and Antonius H. N. Cillessen. "The Nature of Children's Stereotypes of Popularity." Social Development 7.3 (1998): 301-320.