Use of trait information in the attribution of intentions by popular, average and rejected children



This study aimed to examine the extent to which children's sociometric status is related to the use of trait information. Therefore, 99 children (aged 4–6) were asked to make inferences about protagonists' future actions when positive or negative trait information was given. Results showed that rejected children were less affected by the protagonist's trait information than their more popular peers (average and popular) in both conditions. As well as their frequently reported hostile bias, rejected children also showed a positive bias. This suggests a general delay in social reasoning among rejected children, but can also be explained by a difference in their development of social cognition based on their atypical daily interactions. Copyright © 2004 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.