Social information processing and sociometric status: sex, age, and situational effects.
Theoretically based measures of social information-processing patterns in specific situations were developed and administered to popular, average, socially rejected, and socially neglected girls and boys in the first, third, and fifth grades (total n = 95). Measures included interpretations of peers' intentions, quantity and quality of responses generated to problematic stimuli, evaluations of responses, and enactments of particular responses. Three kinds of situations were generated empirically as stimuli: being teased, being provoked ambiguously, and initiating entry into a peer group. Deviant children (rejected and neglected) were found to respond deficiently compared to average and popular children, but only in the situation in which they were teased. Older children performed more competently than younger children in all three situations. Interactions among gender, sociometric status, and age also were found. Findings were interpreted as evidence of the elusiveness and complexity of social information-processing defects among low sociometric status children.
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