The Development of the Liking Gap: Children Older Than 5 Years Think That Partners Evaluate Them Less Positively Than They Evaluate Their Partners.
After two strangers have briefly interacted with one another, both believe that they like their partner more than their partner likes them. A plausible explanation for this liking gap
is that people are constantly worrying about how others are evaluating them. If so, one would expect the liking gap to emerge in young children as they become more concerned with their reputations and the impression they make on other people. The current study (N
= 241 U.S. children; age range = 4-11 years) supported this hypothesis, showing a liking gap beginning when children were 5 years old, the age at which they first become concerned with other people's evaluations of them. Moreover, the liking gap became more pronounced as children got older. These findings provide the first developmental description of the liking gap and support the hypothesis that this phenomenon is related to individuals' concerns for how others evaluate them.
Wolf, W; Nafe, A; Tomasello, M
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