Children's interactions in triads: behavioral profiles and effects of gender and patterns of friendships among members.
In all, 56 triads of same-sex 3rd-, 4th-, and 5th-grade children were observed during an intimate discussion, a cooperative puzzle task, a competitive game, and free play. Observers coded triadic interaction using a Q sort and individual process ratings. Of particular interest was how gender and the pattern of friendship ties among group members related to children's behavior. Triads of girls were more intimate, exchanged more information, and were less aggressive than were triads of boys. Analyses of within-gender variability revealed 2 prototypical types of triads among boys but only 1 among girls. Girls and boys expressed similar attitudes toward triadic interaction in postsession interviews. However, girls', but not boys', attitudes were closely linked to the quality of interactions during the session. For both sexes, interaction was not strongly influenced by the initial configuration of friendship ties among triad members.
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