Developmental Psych – Lecture 11 (Nov 25)
How Do Peers Exert Their Influence?
• Mechanism by which peers influence behaviour is the same way parents influence
• Peer reinforcement and peer modelling
• Pple like parents & teachers who are in a position to reward or punish the child can function
as people who can reinforce behaviour
• But how can a peer punish or reward another peer
• Anumber of ways peers can act to reinforce.
• Gender appropriateness of behaviour
• what was found that children were very quick to judge or punish kids who were acting
in a gender appropriate or inappropriate way. Kids can ostracize boys who plays with
dolls instead of trucks.
• If the victim wants to fight back, then this might punish the bully, because bully isn't
getting the kind of reaction that he/she wants
• Modelling Influences
• Peers act as models of each other's behaviours all the time.
• If one child watches another kid resisting temptation, they might do the same. So the
child has learned this ability through his/her peer.
• You see modelling affects in sex type attitudes (gender typical attitudes are learned from
• Objects of social comparison
• You determine your ability or capability (whether you're a fast runner or not) by
comparing yourself to your peers, or other kids in the class.
• The normative function of peer groups
• One of the strongest impacts that peers have
• Peer groups set explicit standards and norms for how to behave, dress, how to look, act and
talk. Children are responsive to these types of peer influences.
• So how strongly do they conform to their peer groups?
• Do they blindly conform?
• Study was done to test how likely kids would conform (Grades 3-12)
• Studied for pro-social and antisocial behaviours
• What was found was that there is conformity to peer behaviour
• For pro-social behaviour there isn't much change.
• If everyone's going out to volunteer, they're likely to do it too. These are the pro-
• What about anti-social behaviour?
• Conformity for anti-social acts increase over childhood. By the time they hit
grade 12, they show a strong drop in the likelihood that they'll give in to peer
• However, the increase in this peer conformity during childhood is necessary
because this gives them a sense of stability; to differentiate themselves from
family. When they have this stability, they can differentiate themselves from the
group. • Peer versus adult influences
• What happens when we have peer and adult influences?
• Peers are pressuring them to act in 1 way whereas parents are encouraging them to act in
another way. Conflicting views
• Belief that peers and adults have wide differences in the proper way to behave but really,
there are alot of similarities.
• Parents and peers exert influences in different domains of the child's life. Ex: If you
want to know how to dress, what music to listen to, you would ask your friends about
this. If you have questions about your future career, you would ask your parents.
• So parents and peers have different domains of influence.
• Parents have a good deal of influence over the nature of the friends that the child has.
• Kids who are securely attached have internalized their parents' standards so when they
look for friends, they tend to find friends who have the same general standards that they
have. So moreover, they all tend to share the same values.
• So they don't butt heads like people think because they actually have a lot in common.
• So far we've talked about 2 agents of socialization; family and peer groups. Both of
thrde are informal institutions; no rules by which peers and families operate.
• 3 agent is an institution which has a formal guideline; no other formal institution which
has much of an influence on children as much as a school
• The goal of the school is for children to develop cognitive abilities that they will need
throughout the rest of their lives.
• Schools are also important in terms of their social curriculum (which is not really
• This help students realize how they fit into their social world. Children are expected to
respect authority, co-operate with their peers.
• Schools provide moral info on a variety of activities (racism, drug use) which can
happen within the school context & school also provides the context for peer
Characteristics of effective schools
• What makes a school effective?
• Some schools are better than others
• According to Rutter, effective schools are those that promote academic achievement.
But along with this they emphasize positive attitudes toward learning, low absenteeism,
acquisition of job-related info, and social skills. Some schools are successful in
accomplishing these goals.
• Study (Rutter)
• Lower middle-class income area (So same economic background for each school)
• Assessed relative effectiveness of each of the schools
• He looked at the performance of students at 4 diff periods (Grade 9 until Grade 12)
• From the tests, he assessed 3 “bands”
• Band 1 are students who did extremely well
• Band 2 are intermediate • Band 3 are students who are low-achieving
• So it was longitudinal study and the data showed interesting effects.
• Students who were in effective schools ended up doing better on the tests.
• If you take high performing kids and you put them in ineffective schools, then their
outcomes were really bad (Band 1). Band 1s will be outperformed by intermediate
group, and are probably at the same level as the low achieving who are in effective
• So you can take a child who does initially well and stick them in a bad school, their
performance will suck even if they had initial ability.
• Rutter and others have pointed to characteristics which are misconceptions about school
• Monetary support
• often argued that putting more money into school will make the school better. But
there is no simple relationship between this and the quality of education
• The school has to have enough money to provide good basin programs and
textbooks. One you hit that level, putting extra money doesn't have an impact on
child's performance. Increasing teacher's salary doesn't make a difference provided
that they have an appropriate level of pay
• So throwing more money doesn't necessarily have an affect on performance
• Class Size
• often argued that smaller classes are better however, this doesn't predict better
• Typical elementary size is 20-40
• What they found was that really small classes (15-20 for early kindergarten years to
grade 3) then this has a beneficial impact on kids.
• So when does class size have an impact?
• When it comes to extracurricular activities
• There's a variation as a function of school size
• Smaller schools have alot more students enrolled in activities, because there are
fewer activities, but they each are involved in more activities.
• But in terms of academic notions, there isn't much of an impact.
• Ability Tracking
• Belief that ability tracking of students is effectiveness. Procedure by which you
take students of similar academic performance & put them all together
• You get the braniac class, slow class
• Notion is that if you put all the slow kids together, they can get the remedial help
you need; so grouping kids according to ability.
• The impact of abi