ERIC Number: ED343717
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1991-Apr
Reference Count: 0
Friends Versus Nonfriends: Perceptions of Similarity across Self, Teachers, and Peers.
Hymel, Shelley; Woody, Erik
This study examined bias in children's perceptions of the similarities between themselves and others. Participants included 346 fourth and fifth graders, and their teachers, from 5 schools. Students rated same-sex classmates on a 4-point scale that assessed how similar or different the subjects felt their classmates were. Several days later, students rated themselves and same-sex classmates on a variety of social and nonsocial dimensions. Teachers rated all participants on the same dimensions. Results revealed that children perceived their friends to be similar to themselves and their nonfriends to be different. These findings serve to replicate previous research supporting the similarity-attraction hypothesis, which holds that individuals are attracted to others who are similar to themselves. Students rated friends more positively and nonfriends more negatively than themselves. It is argued that these results reflect differences in perceptions, or biases, rather than actual differences in the children's characteristics. Although these biases serve an adaptive function in the maintenance of interpersonal relationships, they may also work against the development of other relationships. Appended are nine references and related materials. (GLR)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, Ottawa (Ontario).
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Canada; Ontario; Same Sex Peers; Similarities; Similarity Attraction Hypothesis
Note: Paper presented at the Biennial Meeting of the Society for Research in Child Development (Seattle, WA, April 18-20, 1991).