Some implications of popularity at age fou

Sue Dockett, Sheila Degotardi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Recently, within the field of early childhood education, there has been an increasing emphasis on the role of social construction of knowledge and on the inter-relatedness of aspects of social and cognitive development. This study investigated a proposed relationship between young children's popularity status among peers and a representational theory of mind. Twenty-four 5-year-olds participated in a series of sociometric interviews in which they were asked to rate their peers according to whether they "liked to play with them a lot,""liked to play with them sometimes," or "didn't like to play with them." These ratings were used to generate an overall likability measure, which was then compared with a measure of performance on a series of theory of mind tasks. Comparison of these measures indicated a significant correlation between the ranking of individual children as popular, or unpopular, by their peers and a measure of theory of mind. These results indicated that social interactions among peers provide opportunities for understanding of self and others and for explaining and predicting the actions of others based on mental states. Teachers were also asked to rate the children in terms of perceived popularity. Comparisons of the ratings made by teachers and children indicated considerable differences.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)21-31
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Australian Research in Early Childhood Education
Publication statusPublished - 1997
Externally publishedYes


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