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Lecture 9

PSY302 Lecture Notes - Lecture 9: Sociometric Status, Contingency Management, Cooties

Course Code
Dana Williams

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Week 11 Peer Relationships
- Individual differences
- Sociocultural context
- Nature and nurture
- Active child
- Continuity/discontinuity
- Children’s welfare
- Peers contribute to child’s moral development
- More open towards peers than adults
- Children learn by themselves more
- Children learn best when cooperating and working together with others
- Kinds of friendships you develop are more important in developing good relationships in
the future
1. Characteristics of peer contacts
oWho is a peer?
Someone who has equal standing with you
Operating at similar levels of behavioural complexity
Could be someone older or younger as long as one peer adjust their
behaviour to suit the other peer’s behaviour
oWhat functions do peers serve?
Equal-status interactions
Interactions with someone your own age
Can teach you what other people’s views and perspectives are
and what they would put up with
Teaches you social skills
Mixed-age interactions
Older peer learns compassion, caregiving skills, prosocial
behaviour, assertiveness, leadership skills; especially useful for
younger siblings to learn this
Younger peer learns older peer’s skills, to seek assistance, to defer
gracefully to more powerful peers, social skills, intellectual skills;
especially useful for older siblings to learn this
Frequency of peer contacts
You spend more time with peers, less time with parents
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You tend to spend less time with people your own age and more
time with older peers
Gender segregation
oPreschools are more likely to play together
oElementary “cooties”
oBoys in squads, girls in pairs
oHow important are peer influences?
Harlow’s work with monkeys
Mother-only monkeys
oFailed to develop normal patterns of social behaviour;
aggressive towards other monkeys their own age
Raised monkeys together with the same peer group, and never
with their mother
oNot aggressive towards monkeys in their peer group,
aggressive towards other peers
Need secure base with caretakers and other peers to develop
social skills
Nazi concentration camp children
6 3 year olds who were living by themselves in the camp
Parents had been sentenced to death
Other adults in the camp tried to take care of them but then died
after too
Children only had themselves
They broke everything
Indifferent and unhostile towards others
They cared about their peer group more than they cared about
Rehabilitated: more positive towards others, developed social
skills, learned to get better
Children rejected by their peers
During elementary: more likely to drop out of school, more likely
to be involved in criminal activities, more serious psychological
difficulties in adolescence and adulthood
Important to be accepted by peers and develop a good
relationship with other peers
2. Functions of friendships among peers
oSupport and validation
More friends = less lonely
Chronic friendlessness predicts internalizing problems (keep everything
bottled up inside, depression, loneliness, anxiety, social withdrawal)
Helps to have friends during transitions in life
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E.g. going into grade 9: less stressful for you if you knew friends
going into the same class
Friends help you if bullies are picking on you
At 16, girls report that friends are more helpful in providing confidence
and support than parents
oDevelopment of social and cognitive skills
Preschoolers are supposed to keep playing to develop their cognitive
Helps with social skills, cooperation, and negotiation when you’re with
Leads to better perspective taking
More likely to notice your friend’s perspective
Work that you do is at a higher level cognitively and creatively when you
work with friends
oGender differences in the functions of friendships
Girls more than boys rely on friends for advice, help with homework, etc.
Girls get more support and validation from friends
Girls friendships are more intimate
Girls get more negative things
Rumination: talk over things repeatedly
Can reinforce anxiety and depression because they continue to
talk about everything all the time
Girls co-ruminate even on their own, boys actually do something
about it instead of just talking about it
Girls and boys fight equally, spend time together equally, have similar
amounts of conflict (but girls are more affected by it because they keep
3. Effects of friendships of psychological functioning and behaviour over time
oThe possible long-term benefits of having friends
Study looked at grade 5 children and followed them until age 23
Those who had reciprocated best friendships in 5th grade reported
higher levels of doing well in college, family, social life, higher self-
Did you already have those characteristics or did friendships cause you to
have those?
oThe possible costs of friendships
Aggression and disruptiveness
People who are very quick to anger and aggressive choose friends
who are like that which will reinforce their aggression
You aren’t aggressive and you get involved with aggressive people
which causes you to be aggressive
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