Number of pages
SourceJournal of Experimental Child Psychology, 162, (2017), pp. 282-291
Article / Letter to editor
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SW OZ BSI ON
Journal of Experimental Child Psychology
Visual attention to high-status peers is well documented, but whether this attentional bias is due to high-status individuals' leadership and prosocial characteristics or due to their more agonistic behaviors has yet to be examined. To identify the affective associations that may underlie visual attention for high-status versus low-status peers, 122 early adolescents (67 girls; Mage = 11.0 years, SD = 0.7) completed a primed attention paradigm. Visual attention was measured using eye tracking as participants looked simultaneously at photographs of two classmates: one nominated by peers as popular and one nominated by peers as unpopular. Prior to each trial, the early adolescents were presented with a positive prime, the word "nice"; a negative prime, the word "stupid"; or no prime. Primary analyses focused on first-gaze preference and total gaze time The results showed a stronger first gaze preference for popular peers than for unpopular peers in the no-prime and negative prime trials than in the positive prime trials. The visual preference for a popular peer, thus, was attenuated by the positive prime. These findings are consistent with the notion that youths may visually attend to high-status peers due to their association with more negative characteristics and the threat they may pose to youths' own social standing and ability to gain interpersonal resources.
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