Research

Popularity, Likeability, and Peer Conformity: Four Field Experiments

Gommans, R., & Cillessen, A. H. N., & Sandstrom, M. J. (2013)
Manuscript in preparation for submission. Radboud University Nijmegen. 

Adolescents tend to alter their attitudes and behaviors to match those of others; a peer influence process named peer conformity. This study investigated to what extent peer conformity depended on the status (popularity and likeability) of the influencer and the influencee. The study consisted of two phases. In Phase 1, 810 12- to 15-year-old adolescents participated in an experiment to measure peer conformity to one of four reference groups varying in status. In Phase 2, a subsample of 269 12- to 13-year-old adolescents participated in three additional experiments in which peer conformity to actual classmates was measured. Results showed that participants conformed more to high status peers than to low status peers, and that peer status as a mechanism of peer influence did not operate in the same way for boys and girls. Further, the influencer’s level of popularity or likeability was related to the degree of peer conformity in some cases. Differences between the experiments in degree and direction of peer conformity were discussed.

Parts of this paper were presented in an oral presentation at the Society for Research in Child Development Biennial Meeting, Seattle, WA (USA), April 2013. Please contact me if you have any questions or comments related to this study.

The Role of Perceived Popularity on Collaborative Learning: A Dyadic Perspective

Gommans, R., & Segers, E., Burk, W. J., & Scholte, R. H. J. (2013)
Manuscript revised and resubmitted. Radboud University Nijmegen. 

The current study investigated how perceived popularity and collaboration quality were associated with knowledge gain of adolescents during a collaborative learning task. Participants included 264 children aged 10-12 years (52.3% boys), who collaborated three times in same-sex dyads on a computer assignment. Results indicated that the knowledge of the more popular member at T1 predicted knowledge gain of the less popular member’s. Furthermore, mutual listening, reported by either member of the dyad, had a positive effect on the knowledge gain of the less popular member, whereas dominance of the more popular member negatively affected the knowledge gain of the less popular member. These findings imply that prior knowledge of the more popular dyad member directly affects the learning of the less popular dyad member, and that the quality of the collaboration between both dyad members affects the outcome for the less popular dyad member; more mutual listening and less dominance ensures equal participation and increases the chances of the less popular dyad member to participate sufficiently in the collaboration process.

Parts of this paper were presented at the Society for Research in Child Development Biennial Meeting, Seattle, WA (USA), April 2013. For those of you who would like to view my poster, click on the link below to download it.
 

 

Nominating under constraints: Systematic comparison of unlimited and limited peer nomination methodologies

Gommans, R., & Cillessen, A. H. N. (2012)
Manuscript revised and resubmitted. Radboud University Nijmegen. 

Peer nominations are a commonly used method to assess aspects of peer relationships in groups. An important but unsettled methodological issue is whether to collect unlimited or limited nominations. Some researchers have argued that the psychometric differences between both methods are negligible, while others claim that one is superior to the other. The current study compared both methods directly in a counterbalanced design among 112 8- to 12-year-old elementary school children. Significant differences were found between both methods. Unlimited nominations outperformed limited nominations in reliability, validity, and distributional properties, especially for positive sociometric questions (e.g., friendship), peer status measures (preference and popularity), and behavioral reputation questions (e.g., leader, clown). The limited method offered better results for “bully” and “victim” questions. In some cases, the differences between both methods were moderated by age, sex, or reference group. Implications for future peer relations research and the use of peer nominations were discussed.

Parts of this paper were presented at the Society for Research in Child Development Themed Meeting on Developmental Methodology, Tampa, FL, February, 2012. For those of you who would like to view my poster, click on the link below to download it.
 

 

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