Reputation information and teacher feedback: Their influences on children's perceptions of behavior problem peers

Karen J. White, Karen Jones, Michelle D. Sherman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations

Abstract

Children readily make use of reputation-like information about peers in processing socially relevant stimuli in their evaluations of peers. The purpose of the present study was to examine how teacher feedback influences children's evaluations of a hypothetical peer for whom they had one of three types of expectancies (liked, neutral, disliked). First and second grade children (n = 112) viewed a videotape of a teacher describing five child actors. Reputation information (liked, neutral, disliked) varied only for the target actor, while the four other actors were described in neutral terms. In a second videotape of a classroom scene, the target actor received one of three types of teacher feedback (audio portion of the tape): a) neutral; b) positive; or c) negative feedback. Measures of preference, moral judgment, and behavioral descriptions were collected. Results specific to the target actor revealed an interaction between feedback and reputation as well as main effects for both factors. Planned contrasts indicated that teacher praise caused the disliked target to be viewed as more deserving of reward and nominated for fewer negative descriptors. Negative teacher feedback caused the target of any reputational status to be rated as less likable, less deserving of reward, and more likely to engage in inappropriate behavior. Methodological improvements are discussed addressing unanticipated findings apparently due to salience effects and expectancy-incongruent information. Clinical implications include the need to assess multiple dimensions of peer perception and how they might be influenced.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)11-37
Number of pages27
JournalJournal of Social and Clinical Psychology
Volume17
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 1998

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