Entries in Social Behavior (3)


Do Friends Influence Your Taste? Not Really, Study Says

Hemera/Thinkstock(CAMBRIDGE, Mass.) -- Have you always liked wearing oversized glasses and flannel shirts? Or do you like them just because your friends do? A group of Harvard researchers may have found the social logic behind these hipster trends.

The researchers kept tabs on the Facebook profiles of 200 college students for four years. They found that when friends liked the same kinds of music and movies, it wasn’t because they influenced one another’s tastes, but because their shared interests made them more likely to become friends in the first place.

“On Facebook, we found that peer influence plays virtually no role among students. Students do not tend to adopt preferences that their friends express,” said Kevin Lewis, a doctoral student at Harvard and the study’s lead author.

The researchers found that students who liked indie and alternative bands were more likely to drop those interests once their friends started liking them too.

“Part of these tastes is not just expressing them but being the only one in your social circle to express them,” Lewis said. “It’s not just about liking the band, but showing your peers that you’re hip, in the know, and socially distinct.”

Lewis and his colleagues did find one type of taste that tends to rub off among friends: the taste for jazz and classical music, perhaps because of its value as a, “high status cultural symbol,” the authors said.

The study was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Can Children's Behavioral Problems be Predicted?

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(BLOOMINGTON, Ind.) -- A new study suggests that certain early traits in children can be used to predict whether they will have more serious behavioral issues later on.

Researchers at Indiana University studied 10,000 children ages 4 to 12 who displayed what were called "callous-unemotional (CU) traits" as well as conduct problems and antisocial behavior.

The study, published in Abnormal Psychology, found that children who had been assessed by their teachers as having high CU traits between the ages of 7 and 12 were more likely to display behaviors such as hyperactivity and emotional problems after the age of 12.

Researchers suggest that this information could be used for early intervention in children who display both high CU traits and conduct problems to stop further issues from developing with age.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


'Popular' Students are Most Aggressive Toward Classmates

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(DAVIS, Calif.) -- A new study suggests that the more "popular" a high school student is, the more aggressive he or she is toward other students.

The study, published in the journal American Sociological Review, found that a majority of aggressive interactions in schools are not the result of "troubled" or socially marginal students, but rather are tied to social hierarchy.

Researchers at the University of California in Davis studied students in the 8th, 9th and 10th grades across the state of North Carolina. The study found that the more friends a student had, the more students they victimized.

However, those at the very top and bottom of the high school social hierarchy showed the least amount of aggression toward other students, according to the study. Authors say the bottom two percent of students did not victimize others because “aggression usually requires some degree of social support, power, or influence”.  Similarly, the top two percent in popularity were also the least aggressive because “such action could signal insecurity or weakness rather than cement the student’s position."

National estimates suggest that around six million students are affected by aggression in schools each year, although the study found that a majority, 67 percent, of students do not act aggressively toward their classmates.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio