Social cognition and bullying: Social inadequacy or skilled manipulation?
Article first published online: 23 DEC 2010
1999 The British Psychological Society
British Journal of Developmental Psychology
Volume 17, Issue 3, pages 435–450, September 1999
How to Cite
Sutton, J., Smith, P. K. and Swettenham, J. (1999), Social cognition and bullying: Social inadequacy or skilled manipulation?. British Journal of Developmental Psychology, 17: 435–450. doi: 10.1348/026151099165384
- Issue published online: 23 DEC 2010
- Article first published online: 23 DEC 2010
- Received 17 June 1998; revised version received 28 October 1998
- Cited By
In contrast to the popular stereotype and research tradition of the ‘oafish’ bully lacking in social skills and understanding, the bully may be a cold, manipulative expert in social situations, organizing gangs and using subtle, indirect methods. Performance on a set of stories designed to assess understanding of cognitions and emotions was investigated in 193 7-10-year-olds in relation to role in bullying. Ringleader bullies scored higher than ‘follower’ bullies (those who helped or supported the bully), victims and defenders of the victim. Results are discussed in terms of the need for further research into cognitive skills and emotion understanding in children who bully, the possible developmental pathway of social cognition in bullying and important implications for intervention strategies.